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Jel Classification:C53 

Working Paper
The Anatomy of Out-of-Sample Forecasting Accuracy

We develop metrics based on Shapley values for interpreting time-series forecasting models, including“black-box” models from machine learning. Our metrics are model agnostic, so that they are applicable to any model (linear or nonlinear, parametric or nonparametric). Two of the metrics, iShapley-VI and oShapley-VI, measure the importance of individual predictors in fitted models for explaining the in-sample and out-of-sample predicted target values, respectively. The third metric is the performance-based Shapley value (PBSV), our main methodological contribution. PBSV measures the ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2022-16

Working Paper
Evaluating Conditional Forecasts from Vector Autoregressions

Many forecasts are conditional in nature. For example, a number of central banks routinely report forecasts conditional on particular paths of policy instruments. Even though conditional forecasting is common, there has been little work on methods for evaluating conditional forecasts. This paper provides analytical, Monte Carlo, and empirical evidence on tests of predictive ability for conditional forecasts from estimated models. In the empirical analysis, we consider forecasts of growth, unemployment, and inflation from a VAR, based on conditions on the short-term interest rate. Throughout ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-25

Working Paper
Identifying Financial Crises Using Machine Learning on Textual Data

We use machine learning techniques on textual data to identify financial crises. The onset of a crisis and its duration have implications for real economic activity, and as such can be valuable inputs into macroprudential, monetary, and fiscal policy. The academic literature and the policy realm rely mostly on expert judgment to determine crises, often with a lag. Consequently, crisis durations and the buildup phases of vulnerabilities are usually determined only with the benefit of hindsight. Although we can identify and forecast a portion of crises worldwide to various degrees with ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1374

Working Paper
Predicting Benchmarked US State Employment Data in Realtime

US payroll employment data come from a survey of nonfarm business establishments and are therefore subject to revisions. While the revisions are generally small at the national level, they can be large enough at the state level to substantially alter assessments of current economic conditions. Researchers and policymakers must therefore exercise caution in interpreting state employment data until they are "benchmarked" against administrative data on the universe of workers some 5 to 16 months after the reference period. This paper develops and tests a state space model that predicts ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2019-11

Exploiting the monthly data flow in structural forecasting

This paper develops a framework that allows us to combine the tools provided by structural models for economic interpretation and policy analysis with those of reduced-form models designed for nowcasting. We show how to map a quarterly dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model into a higher frequency (monthly) version that maintains the same economic restrictions. Moreover, we show how to augment the monthly DSGE with auxiliary data that can enhance the analysis and the predictive accuracy in now-casting and forecasting. Our empirical results show that both the monthly version of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 751

Working Paper
Modeling Time-Varying Uncertainty of Multiple-Horizon Forecast Errors

We develop uncertainty measures for point forecasts from surveys such as the Survey of Professional Forecasters, Blue Chip, or the Federal Open Market Committee?s Summary of Economic Projections. At a given point of time, these surveys provide forecasts for macroeconomic variables at multiple horizons. To track time-varying uncertainty in the associated forecast errors, we derive a multiple-horizon specification of stochastic volatility. Compared to constant-variance approaches, our stochastic-volatility model improves the accuracy of uncertainty measures for survey forecasts.
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1715

Working Paper
Gauging the Uncertainty of the Economic Outlook Using Historical Forecasting Errors : The Federal Reserve's Approach

Since November 2007, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the U.S. Federal Reserve has regularly published participants? qualitative assessments of the uncertainty attending their individual forecasts of real activity and inflation, expressed relative to that seen on average in the past. The benchmarks used for these historical comparisons are the average root mean squared forecast errors (RMSEs) made by various private and government forecasters over the past twenty years. This paper documents how these benchmarks are constructed and discusses some of their properties. We draw several ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-020

Working Paper
The Role of Observed and Unobserved Heterogeneity in the Duration of Unemployment Spells

This paper studies the degree to which observable and unobservable worker characteristics account for the variation in the aggregate duration of unemployment. I model the distribution of unobserved worker heterogeneity as time varying to capture the interaction of latent attributes with changes in labor-market conditions. Unobserved heterogeneity is the main explanation for the duration dependence of unemployment hazards. Both cyclical and low-frequency variations in the mean duration of unemployment are mainly driven by one subgroup: workers who, for unobserved reasons, stay unemployed for a ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-063r1

Working Paper
Real-Time Density Nowcasts of US Inflation: A Model-Combination Approach

We develop a flexible modeling framework to produce density nowcasts for US inflation at a trading-day frequency. Our framework: (1) combines individual density nowcasts from three classes of parsimonious mixed-frequency models; (2) adopts a novel flexible treatment in the use of the aggregation function; and (3) permits dynamic model averaging via the use of weights that are updated based on learning from past performance. Together these features provide density nowcasts that can accommodate non-Gaussian properties. We document the competitive properties of the nowcasts generated from our ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-31

Revisiting useful approaches to data-rich macroeconomic forecasting

This paper analyzes the properties of a number of data-rich methods that are widely used in macroeconomic forecasting, in particular principal components (PC) and Bayesian regressions, as well as a lesser-known alternative, partial least squares (PLS) regression. In the latter method, linear, orthogonal combinations of a large number of predictor variables are constructed such that the covariance between a target variable and these common components is maximized. Existing studies have focused on modelling the target variable as a function of a finite set of unobserved common factors that ...
Staff Reports , Paper 327


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