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.
Does Machine Learning Help us Predict Banking Crises? ...
19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
Read press release
The Appropriateness of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure for Central and Eastern European Countries
IWH Discussion Papers,
The experience of Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) during the global financial crisis and in the resulting European debt crises has been largely different from that of other European countries. This paper looks at the specifics of the CEEC in recent history and focuses in particular on the appropriateness of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure for this group of countries. In doing so, the macroeconomic situation in the CEEC is highlighted and macroeconomic problems faced by these countries are extracted. The findings are compared to the results of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure of the European Commission. It is shown that while the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure correctly identifies some of the problems, it understates or overstates other problems. This is due to the specific construction of the broadened surveillance procedure, which largely disregarded the specifics of catching-up economies.
The Quantity Theory Revisited: A New Structural Approach
We propose a unified identification scheme to identify monetary shocks and track their propagation through the economy. We combine three approaches dealing with the consequences of monetary shocks. First, we adjust a state space version of the P-star type model employing money overhang as the driving force of inflation. Second, we identify the contemporaneous impact of monetary policy shocks by applying a sign restriction identification scheme to the reduced form given by the state space signal equations. Third, to ensure that our results are not distorted by the measurement error exhibited by the official monetary data, we employ the Divisia M4 monetary aggregate provided by the Center for Financial Stability. Our approach overcomes one of the major difficulties of previous models by using a data-driven identification of equilibrium velocity. Thus, we are able to show that a P-star model can fit U.S. data and money did indeed matter in the United States.
The Impact of Preferences on Early Warning Systems - The Case of the European Commission's Scoreboard
European Journal of Political Economy,
The European Commission’s Scoreboard of Macroeconomic Imbalances is a rare case of a publicly released early warning system. It allows the preferences of the politicians involved to be analysed with regard to the two potential errors of an early warning system – missing a crisis and issuing a false alarm. These preferences might differ with the institutional setting. Such an analysis is done for the first time in this article for early warning systems in general by using a standard signals approach, including a preference-based optimisation approach, to set thresholds. It is shown that, in general, the thresholds of the Commission’s Scoreboard are set low (resulting in more alarm signals), as compared to a neutral stand. Based on political economy considerations the result could have been expected.
Modelling Macroeconomic Risk: The Genesis of the European Debt Crisis
Diverging European sovereign bond yields after 2008 are the most visible sign of the European debt crisis. This dissertation examines in a first step, to which extent the development of yields is driven by credit and liquidity risk, and how it is influenced by general uncertainty on financial markets. It can be shown that yields are driven to a significant degree by a flight towards bonds of high liquidity in times of high market uncertainty. In a second step, high yields are interpreted as a sign of an existing crisis in the respective country. Using the signals approach, the early-warning capabilities of four different proposals for the design of the scoreboard as part of the “Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure” (introduced in December 2011 by the European Commission) are tested, advocating a scoreboard including a variety of many different indicators. In a third step, the methodology of the signals approach is extended to include also results on significance.