Practical Use of Sensitivity in Econometrics with an Illustration to Forecast Combinations
22 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 6, 2013
Sensitivity analysis is important for its own sake and also in combination with diagnostic testing. We consider the question how to use sensitivity statistics in practice, in particular how to judge whether sensitivity is large or small. For this purpose we distinguish between absolute and relative sensitivity and highlight the context-dependent nature of any sensitivity analysis. Relative sensitivity is then applied in the context of forecast combination and sensitivity-based weights are introduced. All concepts are illustrated through the European yield curve. In this context it is natural to look at sensitivity to autocorrelation and normality assumptions. Different forecasting models are combined with equal, fit-based and sensitivity-based weights, and compared with the multivariate and random walk benchmarks. We show that the fit-based weights and the sensitivity-based weights are complementary. For long-term maturities the sensitivity-based weights perform better than other weights.
Keywords: Sensitivity analysis, Forecast combination, Yield curve prediction
JEL Classification: C10, C53
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