Working Paper

Forecasting Euro Area Recessions in Real-Time


  • Pirschel
  • I.
Publication Date

I present evidence that the linear mixed-frequency Bayesian VAR provides very sharp and well-calibrated monthly real-time recession probabilities for the euro area for the period from 2004

until 2013. The model outperforms not only the univariate regime-switching models for a

number of hard and soft economic indicators and their optimal linear combinations, but also a

real-time recession index obtained with Google Trends data. This result holds irrespective of

whether the joint predictive distribution of several economic indicators or the marginal

distribution of real GDP growth is evaluated to extract the real-time recession probabilities of

the mixed-frequency Bayesian VAR. The inclusion of the confidence index in industry proves to be crucial for the performance of the model.


JEL Classification
C53, E32, E37

Key Words

  • Bayesian VAR
  • Density nowcasting
  • Google Trends
  • Linear opinion pool
  • Mixed-frequency data
  • Real-time recession forecasting
  • Regime-switching models