Conference forecasts future of macroeconomics and big data

L to R: Professors Anthony Garratt and Heather Anderson

Professors Anthony Garratt and Heather Anderson

Researchers joined economists to discuss the future of economic forecasting at a Monash Warwick Alliance funded conference, the Economic Value of Macroeconomic Forecasts with Big Data.

The two-day conference at the Warwick Business School brought together researchers from Monash University, the University of Warwick and other leading UK universities to share the latest research, forecasting techniques and technology with practitioners and policy makers from the central banks of Australia, Belgium, England, Europe, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

Professor Heather Anderson of Monash University and Professor Anthony Garratt of the University of Warwick facilitated the conference, which addressed topics including how to manage big data, forecasting in changeable economies, and the use of big data to monitor developments in macroeconomic and financial markets.

Professor Anderson said it had helped build networks and improve the flow of information between the institutions.

“Researchers at the Monash Business School now know more about the forecasting being undertaken at the central banks and the associated development of tools and techniques occurring at Warwick Business School.

“Conversely, they now know more about the potential synergies between our new data analytics program and the forecast methodology that is being developed both here and abroad,” Professor Anderson said.

Professor Garratt said the conference brought together researchers and practitioners with complementary skills, interests and goals.

“Researchers in different but overlapping areas presented and discussed their work. The highlight for me was discovering more on big data and in particular how other more data science-orientated individuals think about very similar problems,” he said.

Both agreed that the Monash Warwick Alliance provided a platform for collaboration and seeking joint research opportunities.

“We plan to collaborate in a series of future grant applications to support research on forecasting techniques that have applicability in macroeconomic contexts,” Professor Anderson said.

“We hope the Alliance will be fruitful in terms of collaboration. The conference enabled us to meet face-to-face, and discuss common areas and complementary skills,” Professor Garratt said.

The Economic Value of Macroeconomic Forecasts with Big Data conference was supported by the Monash Warwick Alliance and the Money Macro and Finance Research Group.

Formed in early 2012, the Monash Warwick Alliance represents an innovation in higher education and research and aims to accelerate the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash University and the University of Warwick.