Optimizing Policymakers’ Loss Functions in Crisis Prediction: Before, Within or After?
Early-warning models most commonly optimize signaling thresholds on crisis probabilities. The expost threshold optimization is based upon a loss function accounting for preferences between forecast errors, but comes with two crucial drawbacks: unstable thresholds in recursive estimations and an in-sample overfit at the expense of out-of-sample performance. We propose two alternatives for threshold setting: (i) including preferences in the estimation itself and (ii) setting thresholds ex-ante according to preferences only. Given probabilistic model output, it is intuitive that a decision rule is independent of the data or model specification, as thresholds on probabilities represent a willingness to issue a false alarm vis-à-vis missing a crisis. We provide simulated and real-world evidence that this simplification results in stable thresholds and improves out-of-sample performance. Our solution is not restricted to binary-choice models, but directly transferable to the signaling approach and all probabilistic early-warning models.
Should Forecasters Use Real‐time Data to Evaluate Leading Indicator Models for GDP Prediction? German Evidence
German Economic Review,
In this paper, we investigate whether differences exist among forecasts using real‐time or latest‐available data to predict gross domestic product (GDP). We employ mixed‐frequency models and real‐time data to reassess the role of surveys and financial data relative to industrial production and orders in Germany. Although we find evidence that forecast characteristics based on real‐time and final data releases differ, we also observe minimal impacts on the relative forecasting performance of indicator models. However, when obtaining the optimal combination of soft and hard data, the use of final release data may understate the role of survey information.
02.10.2019 • 20/2019
Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2019: Economy Cools Further – Industry in Recession
Berlin, October 2, 2019 – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have revised their economic forecast for Germany significantly downward. Whereas in the spring they still expected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 0.8% in 2019, they now expect GDP growth to be only 0.5%. Reasons for the poor performance are the falling worldwide demand for capital goods – in the exporting of which the Germany economy is specialised – as well as political uncertainty and structural changes in the automotive industry. By contrast, monetary policy is shoring up macroeconomic expansion. For the coming year, the economic researchers have also reduced their forecast of GDP growth to 1.1%, having predicted 1.8% in the spring.
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Expectation Formation, Financial Frictions, and Forecasting Performance of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models
Historical Social Research,
Special Issue: Governing by Numbers
In this paper, we document the forecasting performance of estimated basic dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models and compare this to extended versions which consider alternative expectation formation assumptions and financial frictions. We also show how standard model features, such as price and wage rigidities, contribute to forecasting performance. It turns out that neither alternative expectation formation behaviour nor financial frictions can systematically increase the forecasting performance of basic DSGE models. Financial frictions improve forecasts only during periods of financial crises. However, traditional price and wage rigidities systematically help to increase the forecasting performance.
For How Long Do IMF Forecasts of World Economic Growth Stay Up-to-date?
Applied Economics Letters,
This study analyses the performance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook output forecasts for the world and for both the advanced economies and the emerging and developing economies. With a focus on the forecast for the current year and the next year, we examine the durability of IMF forecasts, looking at how much time has to pass so that IMF forecasts can be improved by using leading indicators with monthly updates. Using a real-time data set for GDP and for indicators, we find that some simple single-indicator forecasts on the basis of data that are available at higher frequency can significantly outperform the IMF forecasts as soon as the publication of the IMF’s Outlook is only a few months old. In particular, there is an obvious gain using leading indicators from January to March for the forecast of the current year.
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