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

Michael M. Bechtel

Washington University in St. Louis

Dirk Leuffen

University of Konstanz

Date Written: March 10, 2010

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Michael M. and Leuffen, Dirk, Forecasting European Union Politics: Out-of-Sample Forecasts in Political Time Series Analysis (March 10, 2010). European Union Politics, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 309-327, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1568257

Michael M. Bechtel (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

Campus Box 1063
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Dirk Leuffen

University of Konstanz ( email )

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