NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Diffusion Indexes

James H. Stock, Mark W. Watson

NBER Working Paper No. 6702
Issued in August 1998
NBER Program(s):   EFG

This paper considers forecasting a single time series using more predictors than there are time series observations. The approach is to construct a relatively few indexes, akin to diffusion indexes, which are weighted averages of the predictors, using an approximate dynamic factor model. Estimation is discussed for balanced and unbalanced panels. The estimated dynamic factors are (uniformly) consistent, even in the presence of time varying parameters and/or data contamination, and forecasts based on the estimated factors are efficient. In an application to forecasting U.S. inflation and industrial production using 224 monthly time series, these forecasts outperform various state-of-the-art benchmark models.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6702

Published: Stock, James H. and Mark W. Watson. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 2002, v20(2,Apr), 147-162.

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