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Jel Classification:C53 

Working Paper
Indeterminacy and forecastability

Recent studies document the deteriorating performance of forecasting models during the Great Moderation. This conversely implies that forecastability is higher in the preceding era, when the economy was unexpectedly volatile. We offer an explanation for this phenomenon in the context of equilibrium indeterminacy in dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models. First, we analytically show that a model under indeterminacy exhibits richer dynamics that can improve forecastability. Then, using a prototypical New Keynesian model, we numerically demonstrate that indeterminacy due to passive ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 91

Working Paper
Variable Selection and Forecasting in High Dimensional Linear Regressions with Structural Breaks

This paper is concerned with the problem of variable selection and forecasting in the presence of parameter instability. There are a number of approaches proposed for forecasting in the presence of breaks, including the use of rolling windows and exponential down-weighting. However, these studies start with a given model specification and do not consider the problem of variable selection, which is complicated by time variations in the effects of signal variables. In this study we investigate whether or not we should use weighted observations at the variable selection stage in the presence of ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 394

Working Paper
Binary Conditional Forecasts

While conditional forecasting has become prevalent both in the academic literature and in practice (e.g., bank stress testing, scenario forecasting), its applications typically focus on continuous variables. In this paper, we merge elements from the literature on the construction and implementation of conditional forecasts with the literature on forecasting binary variables. We use the Qual-VAR [Dueker (2005)], whose joint VAR-probit structure allows us to form conditional forecasts of the latent variable which can then be used to form probabilistic forecasts of the binary variable. We apply ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-29

Journal Article
A Macroeconomic News Index for Constructing Nowcasts of U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product Growth

Analyzing the performance of the economy in real time is a challenge for those who must forecast macroeconomic variables such as inflation or employment. A key aspect of this challenge is evaluating the incoming flow of information contained in economic announcements. In this article, the authors develop a simple-to-read index of these announcements that they then use to construct nowcasts. The index tracks whether key economic data have come in stronger, weaker, or as expected during the current quarter relative to a baseline consensus forecast. Specifically, the data releases are weighted ...
Review , Volume 98 , Issue 4 , Pages 277-296

Working Paper
Tracking U.S. Consumers in Real Time with a New Weekly Index of Retail Trade

We create a new weekly index of retail trade that accurately predicts the U.S. Census Bureau's Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS). The index's weekly frequency provides an early snapshot of the MRTS and allows for a more granular analysis of the aggregate consumer response to fast-moving events such as the Covid-19 pandemic. To construct the index, we extract the co-movement in weekly data series capturing credit and debit card transactions, mobility, gasoline sales, and consumer sentiment. To ensure that the index is representative of aggregate retail spending, we implement a novel ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2021-05

Working Paper
The Power of Narratives in Economic Forecasts

We apply textual analysis tools to the narratives that accompany Federal Reserve Board economic forecasts to measure the degree of optimism versus pessimism expressed in those narratives. Text sentiment is strongly correlated with the accompanying economic point forecasts, positively for GDP forecasts and negatively for unemployment and inflation forecasts. Moreover, our sentiment measure predicts errors in FRB and private forecasts for GDP growth and unemployment up to four quarters out. Furthermore, stronger sentiment predicts tighter than expected monetary policy and higher future stock ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-001

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
Probability Assessments of an Ice-Free Arctic: Comparing Statistical and Climate Model Projections

The downward trend in the amount of Arctic sea ice has a wide range of environmental and economic consequences including important effects on the pace and intensity of global climate change. Based on several decades of satellite data, we provide statistical forecasts of Arctic sea ice extent during the rest of this century. The best fitting statistical model indicates that overall sea ice coverage is declining at an increasing rate. By contrast, average projections from the CMIP5 global climate models foresee a gradual slowing of Arctic sea ice loss even in scenarios with high carbon ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2020-02

Working Paper
Forecasting US Inflation in Real Time

We perform a real-time forecasting exercise for US inflation, investigating whether and how additional information--additional macroeconomic variables, expert judgment, or forecast combination--can improve forecast accuracy and robustness. In our analysis we consider the pre-pandemic period including the Global Financial Crisis and the following expansion--the longest on record--featuring unemployment that fell to a rate not seen for nearly sixty years. Distinguishing features of our study include the use of published Federal Reserve Board staff forecasts contained in Tealbooks and a focus on ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-014

Working Paper
Variable Selection and Forecasting in High Dimensional Linear Regressions with Structural Breaks

This paper is concerned with the problem of variable selection and forecasting in the presence of parameter instability. There are a number of approaches proposed for forecasting in the presence of breaks, including the use of rolling windows or exponential down-weighting. However, these studies start with a given model specification and do not consider the problem of variable selection. It is clear that, in the absence of breaks, researchers should weigh the observations equally at both the variable selection and forecasting stages. In this study, we investigate whether or not we should use ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 394

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