Conditional Macroeconomic Forecasts: Disagreement, Revisions and Forecast Errors
IWH Discussion Papers,
Using data from the European Central Bank‘s Survey of Professional Forecasters, we analyse the role of ex-ante conditioning variables for macroeconomic forecasts. In particular, we test to which extent the heterogeneity, updating and ex-post performance of predictions for inflation, real GDP growth and the unemployment rate are related to assumptions about future oil prices, exchange rates, interest rates and wage growth. Our findings indicate that inflation forecasts are closely associated with oil price expectations, whereas expected interest rates are used primarily to predict output growth and unemployment. Expectations about exchange rates and wage growth also matter for macroeconomic forecasts, albeit less so than oil prices and interest rates. We show that survey participants can considerably improve forecast accuracy for macroeconomic outcomes by reducing prediction errors for external conditions. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the expectation formation process of experts.
Wirtschaft im Wandel
Wirtschaft im Wandel Die Zeitschrift „Wirtschaft im Wandel“ will eine breite...
Nowcasting East German GDP Growth: a MIDAS Approach
Economic forecasts are an important element of rational economic policy both on the federal and on the local or regional level. Solid budgetary plans for government expenditures and revenues rely on efficient macroeconomic projections. However, official data on quarterly regional GDP in Germany are not available, and hence, regional GDP forecasts do not play an important role in public budget planning. We provide a new quarterly time series for East German GDP and develop a forecasting approach for East German GDP that takes data availability in real time and regional economic indicators into account. Overall, we find that mixed-data sampling model forecasts for East German GDP in combination with model averaging outperform regional forecast models that only rely on aggregate national information.
Does Machine Learning Help us Predict Banking Crises? ...
Regional, Individual and Political Determinants of FOMC Members' Key Macroeconomic Forecasts
Journal of Forecasting,
We study Federal Open Market Committee members' individual forecasts of inflation and unemployment in the period 1992–2004. Our results imply that Governors and Bank presidents forecast differently, with Governors submitting lower inflation and higher unemployment rate forecasts than bank presidents. For Bank presidents we find a regional bias, with higher district unemployment rates being associated with lower inflation and higher unemployment rate forecasts. Bank presidents' regional bias is more pronounced during the year prior to their elections or for nonvoting bank presidents. Career backgrounds or political affiliations also affect individual forecast behavior.
Much Ado About Nothing: Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields in the OECD
IWH Discussion Papers,
In this paper, we propose a new method to assess the impact of sovereign ratings on sovereign bond yields. We estimate the impulse response of the interest rate, following a change in the rating. Since ratings are ordinal and moreover extremely persistent, it proves difficult to estimate those impulse response functions using a VAR modeling ratings, yields and other macroeconomic indicators. However, given the highly stochastic nature of the precise timing of ratings, we can treat most rating adjustments as shocks. We thus no longer rely on a VAR for shock identification, making the estimation of the corresponding IRFs well suited for so called local projections – that is estimating impulse response functions through a series of separate direct forecasts over different horizons. Yet, the rare occurrence of ratings makes impulse response functions estimated through that procedure highly sensitive to individual observations, resulting in implausibly volatile impulse responses. We propose an augmentation to restrict jointly estimated local projections in a way that produces economically plausible impulse response functions.
Financial Factors in Macroeconometric Models
Volkswirtschaft, Ökonomie, Shaker Verlag GmbH, Aachen,
The important role of credit has long been identified as a key factor for economic development (see e.g. Wicksell (1898), Keynes (1931), Fisher (1933) and Minsky (1957, 1964)). Even before the financial crisis most researchers and policy makers agreed that financial frictions play an important role for business cycles and that financial turmoils can result in severe economic downturns (see e.g. Mishkin (1978), Bernanke (1981, 1983), Diamond (1984), Calomiris (1993) and Bernanke and Gertler (1995)). However, in practice researchers and policy makers mostly used simplified models for forecasting and simulation purposes. They often neglected the impact of financial frictions and emphasized other non financial market frictions when analyzing business cycle fluctuations (prominent exceptions include Kiyotaki and Moore (1997), Bernanke, Gertler, and Gilchrist (1999) and Christiano, Motto, and Rostagno (2010)). This has been due to the fact that most economic downturns did not seem to be closely related to financial market failures (see Eichenbaum (2011)). The outbreak of the subprime crises ― which caused panic in financial markets and led to the default of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 ― then led to a reconsideration of such macroeconomic frameworks (see Caballero (2010) and Trichet (2011)). To address the economic debate from a new perspective, it is therefore necessary to integrate the relevant frictions which help to explain what we have experienced during recent years.
In this thesis, I analyze different ways to incorporate relevant frictions and financial variables in macroeconometric models. I discuss the potential consequences for standard statistical inference and macroeconomic policy. I cover three different aspects in this work. Each aspect presents an idea in a self-contained unit. The following paragraphs present more detail on the main topics covered.