Optimizing Policymakers’ Loss Functions in Crisis Prediction: Before, Within or After?
Recurring financial instabilities have led policymakers to rely on early-warning models to signal financial vulnerabilities. These models rely on ex-post optimization of signaling thresholds on crisis probabilities accounting for preferences between forecast errors, but come with the crucial drawback of unstable thresholds in recursive estimations. We propose two alternatives for threshold setting with similar or better out-of-sample performance: (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 real-world and simulation evidence that this simplification results in stable thresholds, while keeping or improving on 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.
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An Evaluation of Early Warning Models for Systemic Banking Crises: Does Machine Learning Improve Predictions?
This paper compares the out-of-sample predictive performance of different early warning models for systemic banking crises using a sample of advanced economies covering the past 45 years. We compare a benchmark logit approach to several machine learning approaches recently proposed in the literature. We find that while machine learning methods often attain a very high in-sample fit, they are outperformed by the logit approach in recursive out-of-sample evaluations. This result is robust to the choice of performance measure, crisis definition, preference parameter, and sample length, as well as to using different sets of variables and data transformations. Thus, our paper suggests that further enhancements to machine learning early warning models are needed before they are able to offer a substantial value-added for predicting systemic banking crises. Conventional logit models appear to use the available information already fairly effciently, and would for instance have been able to predict the 2007/2008 financial crisis out-of-sample for many countries. In line with economic intuition, these models identify credit expansions, asset price booms and external imbalances as key predictors of systemic banking crises.
Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD ...
Does Machine Learning Help us Predict Banking Crises? ...
Predicting Earnings and Cash Flows: The Information Content of Losses and Tax Loss Carryforwards
We analyse the relevance of losses, accounting information on tax loss carryforwards, and deferred taxes for the prediction of earnings and cash flows up to four years ahead. We use a unique hand-collected panel of German listed firms encompassing detailed information on tax loss carryforwards and deferred taxes from the tax footnote. Our out-of-sample predictions show that considering accounting information on tax loss carryforwards and deferred taxes does not enhance the accuracy of performance forecasts and can even worsen performance predictions. We find that common forecasting approaches that treat positive and negative performances equally or that use a dummy variable for negative performance can lead to biased performance forecasts, and we provide a simple empirical specification to account for that issue.