VARs and ECMs in forecasting – a comparative study of the accuracy in forecasting Swedish exports
In this paper, the forecast performance of an unrestricted Vector Autoregressive (VAR) model was compared against the forecast accuracy of a Vector error correction (VECM) model when computing out-of-sample forecasts for Swedish exports. The co-integrating relation used to estimate the error correction specification was based upon an economic theory for international trade suggesting that a long run equilibrium relation among the variables included in an export demand equation should exist. The results obtained provide evidence of a long run equilibrium relationship between the Swedish export volume and its main determinants. The models were estimated for manufactured goods using quarterly data for the period 1975-1999 and once estimated, the models were used to compute out-of-sample forecasts up to four-, eight- and twelve-quarters ahead for the Swedish export volume using both multi-step and one-step ahead forecast techniques. The main results suggest that the differences in forecasting ability between the two models are small, however according to the relevant evaluation criteria the unrestricted VAR model in general yields somewhat better forecast than the VECM model when forecasting Swedish exports over the chosen forecast horizons.
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