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Random Walk Forecasts of Stationary Processes Have Low Bias
We study the use of a zero mean first difference model to forecast the level of a scalar time series that is stationary in levels. Let bias be the average value of a series of forecast errors. Then the bias of forecasts from a misspecified ARMA model for the first difference of the series will tend to be smaller in magnitude than the bias of forecasts from a correctly specified model for the level of the series. Formally, let P be the number of forecasts. Then the bias from the first difference model has expectation zero and a variance that is O(1/P-squared), while the variance of the bias ...