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The COVID-19 shock and challenges for inflation modelling

Elena Bobeica and Benny Hartwig

International Journal of Forecasting, 2023, vol. 39, issue 1, 519-539

Abstract: We document the impact of COVID-19 on inflation modelling within a vector autoregression (VAR) model and provide guidance for forecasting euro area inflation during the pandemic. We show that estimated parameters are strongly affected, leading to different and sometimes implausible projections. As a solution, we propose to augment the VAR by allowing the residuals to have a fat-tailed distribution instead of a Gaussian one. This also outperforms with respect to unconditional forecasts. Yet, what brings sizeable forecast gains during the pandemic is adding meaningful off-model information, such as that entailed in the Survey of Professional Forecasters. The fat-tailed VAR loses part, but not all of its relative advantage compared to the Gaussian version when producing conditional inflation forecasts in a real-time setup. It is the joint fat-tailed errors and multi-equation modelling that manage to robustify models against extreme observations; in a single-equation model the same solution is less effective.

Keywords: COVID-19; Forecasting; Student’s t errors; Tilting; Inflation; VAR (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6)

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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijforecast.2022.01.002

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