Paper # Author Title
Despite the clear success of forecast combination in many economic environments, several important issues remain incompletely resolved. The issues relate to selection of the set of forecasts to combine, and whether some form of additional regularization (e.g., shrinkage) is desirable. Against this background, and also considering the frequently-found superiority of simple-average combinations, we propose LASSO-based procedures that select and shrink toward equal combining weights. We then provide an empirical assessment of the performance of our "egalitarian LASSO" procedures. The results indicate that simple averages are highly competitive, and that although out-of-sample RMSE improvements on simple averages are possible in principle using our methods, they are hard to achieve in real time, due to the intrinsic difficulty of small-sample real-time cross validation of the LASSO tuning parameter. We therefore propose alternative direct combination procedures, most notably \best average" combination, motivated by the structure of egalitarian LASSO and the lessons learned, which do not require choice of a tuning parameter yet outperform simple averages. Download Paper
Recent work has analyzed the forecasting performance of standard dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models, but little attention has been given to DSGE models that incorporate nonlinearities in exogenous driving processes. Against that background, we explore whether incorporating stochastic volatility improves DSGE forecasts (point, interval, and density). We examine real-time forecast accuracy for key macroeconomic variables including output growth, inflation, and the policy rate. We find that incorporating stochastic volatility in DSGE models of macroeconomic fundamentals markedly improves their density forecasts, just as incorporating stochastic volatility in models of financial asset returns improves their density forecasts. Download Paper
We propose point forecast accuracy measures based directly on distance of the forecast-error c.d.f. from the unit step function at 0 (\stochastic error distance," or SED). We provide a precise characterization of the relationship between SED and standard predictive loss functions, showing that all such loss functions can be written as weighted SED's. The leading case is absolute-error loss, in which the SED weights are unity, establishing its primacy. Among other things, this suggests shifting attention away from conditional-mean forecasts and toward conditional-median forecasts. Download Paper
This paper examines the importance of realized volatility in bond yield density prediction. We incorporate realized volatility into a Dynamic Nelson-Siegel (DNS) model with stochastic volatility and evaluate its predictive performance on US bond yield data. When compared to popular specifications in the DNS literature without realized volatility, we find that having this information improves density forecasting performance. Download Paper