Forecasting European Union Politics: Out-of-Sample Forecasts in Political Time Series Analysis
European Union Politics, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 309-327, 2010
28 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2010 Last revised: 1 May 2011
Date Written: March 10, 2010
Forecasting plays an increasingly important role in the scientiﬁc study of European Union politics and in political science more generally. This is because forecasts are not only indispensable for (political) actors who need to form expectations about future events, but can also be used to judge the validity of (competing) theoretical models. While the debate about whether political science should engage in forecasting is largely over, many questions about how this should be done in everyday research are still open. One of these is how forecasts of political time series can be derived from theoretical models. Using a practical example from European Union research, we start to address this question. We ﬁrst show how forecasts of political time series can be derived from both theoretical and atheoretical models. Subsequently, we use an atheoretical time series (ARMA) imputation approach to demonstrate how they can be fruitfully integrated in order to overcome some of the limitations to making out-of-sample forecasts of political time series which are based on theoretical models.
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