Artificial Neural Networks and Aggregate Consumption Patterns in New Zealand
This study engineers a household sector where individuals process macroeconomic information to reproduce consumption spending patterns in New Zealand. To do this, heterogeneous artificial neural networks (ANNs) are trained to forecast changes in consumption. In contrast to existing literature, results suggest that there exists a trained ANN that significantly outperforms a linear econometric model at out-of-sample forecasting. To improve the accuracy of ANNs using only in-sample information, methods for combining private knowledge into social knowledge are explored. For one type of ANN, relying on an expert is beneficial. For most ANN structures, weighting an individual’s forecast according to how frequently that individual’s ANN is a top performer during in-sample training produces more accurate social forecasts. By focusing only on recent periods, considering the severity of an individual’s errors in weighting their forecast is also beneficial. Possible avenues for incorporating ANN structures into artificial social simulation models of consumption are discussed.
Publisher: University of Otago
Series number: 1404
ISSN: ISSN 1178-2293 (Online)
Keywords: Artificial neural networks; forecasting; aggregate consumption; social simulation
Research Type: Discussion Paper
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