This work presents a new technique for temporally benchmarking a time series according to the growth rates preservation principle (GRP) by Causey and Trager (1981). A procedure is developed which (i) transforms the original constrained problem into an unconstrained one, and (ii) applies a Newton's method exploiting the analytic Hessian of the GRP objective function. We show that the proposed technique is easy to implement, computationally robust and efficient, all features which make it a plausible competitor of other benchmarking procedures (Denton, 1971; Dagum and Cholette, 2006) also in a data-production process involving a considerable amount of series.
Jin-Kyu Jung, Manasa Patnam, Anna Ter-Martirosyan, and Mr. Vikram Haksar
Forecasting macroeconomic variables is key to developing a view on a country's economic outlook.
Most traditional forecasting models rely on fitting data to a pre-specified relationship between input
and output variables, thereby assuming a specific functional and stochastic process underlying that
process. We pursue a new approach to forecasting by employing a number of machine learning
algorithms, a method that is data driven, and imposing limited restrictions on the nature of the true
relationship between input and output variables. We apply the Elastic Net, SuperLearner, and
Recurring Neural Network algorithms on macro data of seven, broadly representative, advanced and
emerging economies and find that these algorithms can outperform traditional statistical models,
thereby offering a relevant addition to the field of economic forecasting.
Ms. Ghada Fayad, Chengyu Huang, Yoko Shibuya, and Peng Zhao
This paper applies state-of-the-art deep learning techniques to develop the first sentiment index measuring member countries’ reception of IMF policy advice at the time of Article IV Consultations. This paper finds that while authorities of member countries largely agree with Fund advice, there is variation across country size, external openness, policy sectors and their assessed riskiness, political systems, and commodity export intensity. The paper also looks at how sentiment changes during and after a financial arrangement or program with the Fund, as well as when a country receives IMF technical assistance. The results shed light on key aspects on Fund surveillance while redefining how the IMF can view its relevance, value added, and traction with its member countries.
We compared the predictive performance of a series of machine learning and traditional methods for monthly CDS spreads, using firms’ accounting-based, market-based and macroeconomics variables for a time period of 2006 to 2016. We find that ensemble machine learning methods (Bagging, Gradient Boosting and Random Forest) strongly outperform other estimators, and Bagging particularly stands out in terms of accuracy. Traditional credit risk models using OLS techniques have the lowest out-of-sample prediction accuracy. The results suggest that the non-linear machine learning methods, especially the ensemble methods, add considerable value to existent credit risk prediction accuracy and enable CDS shadow pricing for companies missing those securities.
We leverage insights from machine learning to optimize the tradeoff between bias and
variance when estimating economic models using pooled datasets. Specifically, we develop a
simple algorithm that estimates the similarity of economic structures across countries and
selects the optimal pool of countries to maximize out-of-sample prediction accuracy of a
model. We apply the new alogrithm by nowcasting output growth with a panel of 102
countries and are able to significantly improve forecast accuracy relative to alternative pools.
The algortihm improves nowcast performance for advanced economies, as well as emerging
market and developing economies, suggesting that machine learning techniques using pooled
data could be an important macro tool for many countries.
Knightian uncertainty (ambiguity) implies presence of uninsurable risks. Institutional quality may be a good indicator of Knightian uncertainty. This paper correlates non-life insurance penetration in 70 countries with income level, financial sector depth, country risk, a measure of cost of insurance, and the World Bank governance indexes. We find that institutional quality-transparency-uncertainty nexus is the dominant determinant of insurability across countries, surpassing the explanatory power of income level. Institutional quality, as it reflects on the level of uncertainty, is the deeper determinant of insurability. Insurability is lower when governance is weaker.