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What makes a country good at football?

From a new article from the The Economist:

The Economist has built a statistical model to identify what makes a country good at football. Our aim is not to predict the winner in Russia, which can be done best by looking at a team’s recent results or the calibre of its squad. Instead we want to discover the underlying sporting and economic factors that determine a country’s footballing potential—and to work out why some countries exceed expectations or improve rapidly. We take the results of all international games since 1990 and see which variables are correlated with the goal difference between teams.” “Our model explains 40% of the variance in average goal difference for these teams.”

From a new article from the The Economist:

The Economist has built a statistical model to identify what makes a country good at football. Our aim is not to predict the winner in Russia, which can be done best by looking at a team’s recent results or the calibre of its squad. Instead we want to discover the underlying sporting and economic factors that determine a country’s footballing potential—and to work out why some countries exceed expectations or improve rapidly.

Read the full article…

Posted by at 10:37 AM

Labels: Forecasting Follies

Why A Recession In 2019 Is Possible When Unemployment Is At 50-Year Lows

From a new Forbes article by Raul Elizalde:

“Forecasting the economy is just as difficult as forecasting the stock market. Economists are very good at explaining what already happened and why, but not so at predicting what will happen next.

They know this. Prakash Loungani, an economist at the IMF, showed in a study that professional forecasters missed 148 out of 153 world recessions. This is not surprising: Economic indicators very rarely flash any warnings before a recession actually arrives. Economic downturns seem to come unexpectedly.”

My paper is available here.

From a new Forbes article by Raul Elizalde:

“Forecasting the economy is just as difficult as forecasting the stock market. Economists are very good at explaining what already happened and why, but not so at predicting what will happen next.

They know this. Prakash Loungani, an economist at the IMF, showed in a study that professional forecasters missed 148 out of 153 world recessions. This is not surprising: Economic indicators very rarely flash any warnings before a recession actually arrives.

Read the full article…

Posted by at 8:36 AM

Labels: Forecasting Follies

On the Macroeconomic Consequences of Over-Optimism

A new IMF working paper finds that “recessions, fiscal problems, as well as Balance of Payment-difficulties are more likely to arise in countries where past growth expectations have been overly optimistic.”

“The mechanism which transforms over-optimism into future crises seems to run through higher debt accumulation: both the public and private sector seem to “celebrate” positive news about the future by borrowing more. If the expected rise in income subsequently fails to materialize, the amount of debt accumulated turns out to be excessive and negative dynamics set in.”

“Our results illustrate the potency of (non-materializing) optimism shocks and underline the importance of basing policy upon realistic (or even cautious) medium-term macroeconomic forecasts. Speci cally, our nding regarding the impact of over-optimism on the incidence of future recessions provides support for existing models in the news/noisetradition, but we are not aware of contributions which model the particular transmission channel that our results point at. Developing such a theoretical model could be an important avenue for future research.”

A new IMF working paper finds that “recessions, fiscal problems, as well as Balance of Payment-difficulties are more likely to arise in countries where past growth expectations have been overly optimistic.”

“The mechanism which transforms over-optimism into future crises seems to run through higher debt accumulation: both the public and private sector seem to “celebrate” positive news about the future by borrowing more. If the expected rise in income subsequently fails to materialize,

Read the full article…

Posted by at 7:05 PM

Labels: Forecasting Follies

Forecasting Forum – May 2018

Posted by at 10:42 AM

Labels: Forecasting Follies

Exchange rate forecasting on a napkin

From a new ECB working paper:

“The international finance literature has documented two important regularities in foreign exchange markets. First, there is ample evidence that, for developed countries, real exchange rates are reverting to the level implied by the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) theory. Second, for flexible currency regimes the adjustment process is mainly driven by the nominal exchange rate. At the same time most of the recent articles remain skeptical that one can outperform the random walk (RW) in nominal exchange rate forecasting.

In this paper we claim that the two above in-sample regularities of foreign exchange markets can be exploited to infer out-of-sample movements of major currency pairs. To prove this thesis we proceed as follows:

  1. We begin by presenting robust (in-sample) evidence that, for major currency pairs, long-run PPP holds and that the nominal exchange rate is the main driver of this adjustment process.
  2. We then evaluate a battery of models that aim to exploit these in-sample regularities for forecasting purposes. The winner of the forecasting race is a calibrated PPP model, which just assumes that the real exchange rate gradually returns to its sample mean, completing half of the adjustment in 3 years, and that the adjustment is only driven by the nominal exchange rate. This approach is so simple that it can be implemented even on the back of a napkin in two steps. Step 1 consists in calculating the initial real exchange rate misalignment with an eyeball estimate of what is the distance from the sample mean. Step 2 consists in recalling that, according to this model, one tenth of the required adjustment is achieved by the nominal exchange rate in the first 6 months, one fifth in one year, just over a third in two years and exactly half after 3 years.
  3. We highlight that severe problems arise when attempting to carry out more sophisticated approaches, such as estimating the pace of mean reversion of the real exchange rate or forecasting relative inflation. Among the estimated approaches, we find that it is strongly preferable to rely on direct rather than multi-step iterative forecasting methods. We also find that models estimated with panel data techniques perform only marginally better than those based on individual currency pairs. This finding has bittersweet implications. On the negative side, estimated models encounter a second formidable competitor that, like the RW, bypasses the estimation error problem. On the positive side, the HL model is more acceptable than the RW from the perspective of economic theory.
  4. This analysis highlights also that equilibrium exchange rate analysis matters. Simple measures of exchange rate disequilibria, not only signal economic imbalances, but also provide hints in which direction the exchange rate will go.

Our paper has an important message for policymakers. For advanced countries, it is better to rely on the concept of long-run PPP rather than on the RW.”

From a new ECB working paper:

“The international finance literature has documented two important regularities in foreign exchange markets. First, there is ample evidence that, for developed countries, real exchange rates are reverting to the level implied by the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) theory. Second, for flexible currency regimes the adjustment process is mainly driven by the nominal exchange rate. At the same time most of the recent articles remain skeptical that one can outperform the random walk (RW) in nominal exchange rate forecasting.

Read the full article…

Posted by at 9:32 AM

Labels: Forecasting Follies, Macro Demystified

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