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The Informational Content of the Term Spread in Forecasting the US Inflation Rate: A Nonlinear Approach

Vasilios Plakandaras (), Periklis Gogas (), Theophilos Papadimitriou () and Rangan Gupta ()

Journal of Forecasting, 2017, vol. 36, issue 2, 109-121

Abstract: The difficulty in modelling inflation and the significance in discovering the underlying data‐generating process of inflation is expressed in an extensive literature regarding inflation forecasting. In this paper we evaluate nonlinear machine learning and econometric methodologies in forecasting US inflation based on autoregressive and structural models of the term structure. We employ two nonlinear methodologies: the econometric least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) and the machine‐learning support vector regression (SVR) method. The SVR has never been used before in inflation forecasting considering the term spread as a regressor. In doing so, we use a long monthly dataset spanning the period 1871:1–2015:3 that covers the entire history of inflation in the US economy. For comparison purposes we also use ordinary least squares regression models as a benchmark. In order to evaluate the contribution of the term spread in inflation forecasting in different time periods, we measure the out‐of‐sample forecasting performance of all models using rolling window regressions. Considering various forecasting horizons, the empirical evidence suggests that the structural models do not outperform the autoregressive ones, regardless of the model's method. Thus we conclude that the term spread models are not more accurate than autoregressive models in inflation forecasting. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Date: 2017
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Related works:
Working Paper: The Informational Content of the Term-Spread in Forecasting the U.S. Inflation Rate: A Nonlinear Approach (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: The Informational Content of the Term-Spread in Forecasting the U.S. Inflation Rate: A Nonlinear Approach (2015)
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