Evaluating point and density forecasts of DSGE models : [Version 23 Januar 2012]
Maik Hendrik Wolters
- This paper investigates the accuracy of point and density forecasts of four DSGE models for inflation, output growth and the federal funds rate. Model parameters are estimated and forecasts are derived successively from historical U.S. data vintages synchronized with the Fed’s Greenbook projections. Point forecasts of some models are of similar accuracy as the forecasts of nonstructural large dataset methods. Despite their common underlying New Keynesian modeling philosophy, forecasts of different DSGE models turn out to be quite distinct. Weighted forecasts are more precise than forecasts from individual models. The accuracy of a simple average of DSGE model forecasts is comparable to Greenbook projections for medium term horizons. Comparing density forecasts of DSGE models with the actual distribution of observations shows that the models overestimate uncertainty around point forecasts.
Evaluating point and density forecasts of DSGE models : [Version 4 September 2012]
Maik Hendrik Wolters
- This paper investigates the accuracy of forecasts from four DSGE models for inflation, output growth and the federal funds rate using a real-time dataset synchronized with the Fed’s Greenbook projections. Conditioning the model forecasts on the Greenbook nowcasts leads to forecasts that are as accurate as the Greenbook projections for output growth and the federal funds rate. Only for inflation the model forecasts are dominated by the Greenbook projections. A comparison with forecasts from Bayesian VARs shows that the economic structure of the DSGE models which is useful for the interpretation of forecasts does not lower the accuracy of forecasts. Combining forecasts of several DSGE models increases precision in comparison to individual model forecasts. Comparing density forecasts with the actual distribution of observations shows that DSGE models overestimate uncertainty around point forecasts.
Stabilitätstests an einer Vieldrahtproportionalkammer nach ALICE-Geometrie bei den Gasmischungen Ne-CO2 und Ne-CO2-N2
- In der vorliegenden Arbeit werden Stabilitätstests an einer Vieldrahtproportionalkammer nach ALICE-Geometrie vorgestellt. Wegen elektrischer Instabilitäten, das heißt dem Abschalten der Hochspannungsversorgung einzelner Kammern aufgrund von Entladungen an der Ausleseebene, wurde die ALICE-TPC bisher mit zwei unterschiedlichen Gasmischungen betrieben. Es wurden die Gasmischungen Ne-CO2 (90-10) und Ne-CO2-N2 (90-10-5) verwendet.
In dieser Arbeit soll nun mit systematischen Stabilitätstests mit einer α- und einer γ-Quelle am Testaufbau am IKF untersucht werden, ob eine Beimischung von Stickstoff zur Gasmischung Ne-CO2 wirklich positive Auswirkungen auf die elektrische Stabilität der Vieldrahtproportionalkammern der ALICE-TPC hat. Messungen mit der Gasmischung Ar-CO2 (90-10) dienen dabei als Referenzmessungen.
Zunächst wurden vorbereitende Messungen zum bessseren Verständnis des Einflusses der Ausleseelektronik auf die Padsignale am Testaufbau durchgeführt. Die Untersuchung der von einem Pulser induzierten Signale zeigt, dass keine Korrektur der Nullverschiebung nötig ist. Auÿerdem konnten durch diese Messung die Verstärkungsfaktoren des verwendeten Hauptverstärkers ermittelt werden. Ein weiterer wichtiger Faktor für Stabilitätstests ist die Genauigkeit des Mischungsverhältnisses des Gases. Um eine hohe Genauigkeit zu gewährleisten, wurde der Gasfliss der verschiedenen Kanäle des zur Herstellung der Gasmischung genutzten Gasmischers überprüft und so die Bereiche für den Gasfluss gefunden, in denen sich das Mischungsverhältnis nicht ändert.
Eine gute Auflösung kann mit Vieldrahtproportionalkammern erreicht werden, wenn die Kammern auch bei einem möglichst groÿen Gain noch stabil betrieben werden können. Um den Gain aus Anodestrommessungen bestimmen zu können, wurden die Primärströme für die α- und die γ-Quelle ermittelt.
Frühere Messungen mit einer γ-Quelle, aufgrund derer Stickstoff als Beimischung in den Fokus rückte, ließen vermuten, dass sich durch die Beimischung von Stickstoff die Stabilität der Auslesekammern verbessern lassen würde. Die durchgeführten Messungen mit der γ-Quellen sollten diese Aussage nun überprüfen. Sie können die früheren Ergebnisse jedoch nicht bestätigen, sondern zeigen, dass die Gasmischung Ne-CO2-N2 (90-10-5) im Gegensatz zur Gasmischung Ne-CO2 (90-10) bei Bestrahlung mit der γ-Quelle zu instabileren Bedingungen für die Auslesekammer führt.
Zum Erzeugen der Anodensignale bei Stabilitätstests wurden erstmals geladene Teilchen aus einer α-Quelle verwendet. Im Gegensatz zur Messung mit der γ-Quelle kann die Auslesekammer bei der Beimischung von Stickstoff zu Ne-CO2 bis zu einem um 25% höheren Gain stabil betrieben werden als bei der Gasmischung Ne-CO2.
Aufgrund des je nach verwendeter Quelle unterschiedlichen Effekts auf die Stabilität der Auslesekammer lässt sich nicht mit absoluter Sicherheit sagen, ob eine Beimischung von Stickstoff die gewünschten Auswirkungen hat. Allerdings werden die Spuren in der ALICE-TPC durch geladene Teilchen hervorgerufen, sodass die Messungen mit der α-Quelle den experimentellen Bedingungen bei ALICE näher kommen als die Messungen mit der γ-Quelle und deshalb die Gasmischung Ne-CO2-N2 (90-10-5) zu bevorzugen ist.
Organizational choices of banks and the effective supervision of transnational financial institutions : [Version 21 März 2013]
- This paper outlines relatively easy to implement reforms for the supervision of transnational banking-groups in the E.U. that should not be primarily based on legal form but on the actual risk structures of the pertinent financial institutions. The proposal also aims at paying close attention to the economics of public administration and international relations in allocating competences among national and supranational supervisory bodies.
Before detailing the own proposition, this paper looks into the relationship between sovereign debt and banking crises that drive regulatory reactions to the financial turmoil in the Euro area. These initiatives inter alia affirm effective prudential supervision as a pivotal element of crisis prevention.
In order to arrive at a more informed idea, which determinants apart from a per-ceived appetite for regulatory arbitrage drive banks’ organizational choices, this paper scrutinizes the merits of either a branch or subsidiary structure for the cross-border business of financial institutions. In doing so, it also considers the policy-makers perspective. The analysis shows that no one size fits all organizational structure is available and concludes that banks’ choices should generally not be second-guessed, particularly because they are subject to (some) market discipline.
The analysis proceeds with describing and evaluating how competences in prudential supervision are currently allocated among national and supranational supervisory authorities. In order to assess the findings the appraisal adopts insights form the economics of public administration and international relations. It argues that the supervisory architecture has to be more aligned with bureaucrats’ incentives and that inefficient requirements to cooperate and share information should be reduced. The evolving Single Supervisory Mechanism for euro area banks with its rather complicated allocation of responsibilities between the ECB and the national supervisors in participating and non-participating Member States will not solve all the problems identified as it is partly in disaccord with bureaucrats’ incentives.
The last part of this paper finally sketches an alternative solution that dwells on far-reaching mutual recognition of national supervisory regimes and allocates competences in line with supervisors’ incentives and the risk inherent in cross-border banking groups.
Immunization of Mice with Lentiviral Vectors Targeted to MHC Class II+ Cells Is Due to Preferential Transduction of Dendritic Cells In Vivo
Sylvie Da Rocha
Christian J. Buchholz
Mary K. Collins
- Gene transfer vectors such as lentiviral vectors offer versatile possibilities to express transgenic antigens for vaccination purposes. However, viral vaccines leading to broad transduction and transgene expression in vivo, are undesirable. Therefore, strategies capable of directing gene transfer only to professional antigen-presenting cells would increase the specific activity and safety of genetic vaccines. A lentiviral vector pseudotype specific for murine major histocompatibilty complex class II (LV-MHCII) was recently developed and the present study aims to characterize the in vivo biodistribution profile and immunization potential of this vector in mice. Whereas the systemic administration of a vector pseudotyped with a ubiquitously-interacting envelope led to prominent detection of vector copies in the liver of animals, the injection of an equivalent amount of LV-MHCII resulted in a more specific biodistribution of vector and transgene. Copies of LV-MHCII were found only in secondary lymphoid organs, essentially in CD11c+ dendritic cells expressing the transgene whereas B cells were not efficiently targeted in vivo, contrary to expectations based on in vitro testing. Upon a single injection of LV-MHCII, naive mice mounted specific effector CD4 and CD8 T cell responses against the intracelllular transgene product with the generation of Th1 cytokines, development of in vivo cytotoxic activity and establishment of T cell immune memory. The targeting of dendritic cells by recombinant viral vaccines must therefore be assessed in vivo but this strategy is feasible, effective for immunization and cross-presentation and constitutes a potentially safe alternative to limit off-target gene expression in gene-based vaccination strategies with integrative vectors.
Serum Autotaxin Is a Parameter for the Severity of Liver Cirrhosis and Overall Survival in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis – A Prospective Cohort Study
- Background: Autotaxin (ATX) and its product lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) are considered to be involved in the development of liver fibrosis and elevated levels of serum ATX have been found in patients with hepatitis C virus associated liver fibrosis. However, the clinical role of systemic ATX in the stages of liver cirrhosis was unknown. Here we investigated the relation of ATX serum levels and severity of cirrhosis as well as prognosis of cirrhotic patients.
Methods: Patients with liver cirrhosis were prospectively enrolled and followed until death, liver transplantation or last contact. Blood samples drawn at the day of inclusion in the study were assessed for ATX content by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. ATX levels were correlated with the stage as well as complications of cirrhosis. The prognostic value of ATX was investigated by uni- and multivariate Cox regression analyses. LPA concentration was determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.
Results: 270 patients were enrolled. Subjects with liver cirrhosis showed elevated serum levels of ATX as compared to healthy subjects (0.814±0.42 mg/l vs. 0.258±0.40 mg/l, P<0.001). Serum ATX levels correlated with the Child-Pugh stage and the MELD (model of end stage liver disease) score and LPA levels (r = 0.493, P = 0.027). Patients with hepatic encephalopathy (P = 0.006), esophageal varices (P = 0.002) and portal hypertensive gastropathy (P = 0.008) had higher ATX levels than patients without these complications. Low ATX levels were a parameter independently associated with longer overall survival (hazard ratio 0.575, 95% confidence interval 0.365–0.905, P = 0.017).
Conclusion: Serum ATX is an indicator for the severity of liver disease and the prognosis of cirrhotic patients.
Sensitivity of simulated global-scale freshwater fluxes and storages to input data, hydrological model structure, human water use and calibration
Hannes Müller Schmied
Felix Theodor Portmann
- Global-scale assessments of freshwater fluxes and storages by hydrological models under historic climate conditions are subject to a variety of uncertainties. Using the global hydrological model WaterGAP 2.2, we investigated the sensitivity of simulated freshwater fluxes and water storage variations to five major sources of uncertainty: climate forcing, land cover input, model structure, consideration of human water use and calibration (or no calibration). In a modelling experiment, five variants of the standard version of WaterGAP 2.2 were generated that differed from the standard version only regarding the investigated source of uncertainty. Sensitivity was analyzed by comparing water fluxes and water storage variations computed by the variants to those of the standard version, considering both global averages and grid cell values for the time period 1971–2000. The basin-specific calibration approach for WaterGAP, which forces simulated mean annual river discharge to be equal to observed values at 1319 gauging stations (representing 54% of global land area except Antarctica and Greenland), has the highest effect on modelled water fluxes and leads to the best fit of modelled to observed monthly and seasonal river discharge. Alternative state-of-the-art climate forcings rank second regarding the impact on grid cell specific fluxes and water storage variations, and their impact is ubiquitous and stronger than that of alternative land cover inputs. The diverse model refinements during the last decade lead to an improved fit to observed discharge, and affect globally averaged fluxes and storage values (the latter mainly due to modelling of groundwater depletion) but only affect a relatively small number of grid cells. Considering human water use is important for the global water storage trend (in particular in the groundwater compartment) but impacts on water fluxes are rather local and only important where water use is high. The best fit to observed time series of monthly river discharge (Nash–Sutcliffe criterion) or discharge seasonality is obtained with the standard WaterGAP 2.2 model version which is calibrated and driven by a sequence of two time series of daily observation-based climate forcings, WFD/WFDEI. Discharge computed by a calibrated model version using monthly CRU 3.2 and GPCC v6 climate input reduced the fit to observed discharge for most stations. Taking into account the investigated uncertainties of climate and land cover data, we estimate that the global 1971–2000 discharge into oceans and inland sinks is between 40 000 and 42 000 km3 yr−1. The range is mainly due differences in precipitation data that affect discharge in uncalibrated river basins. Actual evapotranspiration, with approximately 70 000 km3 yr−1, is rather unaffected by climate and land cover in global sum but differs spatially. Human water use is calculated to reduce river discharge by approximately 1000 km3 yr−1. Thus, global renewable water resources are estimated to range between 41 000 and 43 000 km3 yr−1. The climate data sets WFD (available until 2001) and WFDEI (starting in 1979) were found to be inconsistent with respect to short wave radiation data, resulting in strongly different potential evapotranspiration. Global assessments of freshwater fluxes and storages would therefore benefit from the development of a global data set of consistent daily climate forcing from 1900 to current.
Phenotypic Characterization of miR-92a−/− Mice Reveals an Important Function of miR-92a in Skeletal Development
Ralf P. Brandes
Andreas M. Zeiher
- MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs) emerged as key regulators of gene expression. Germline hemizygous deletion of the gene that encodes the miR-17~92 miRNA cluster was associated with microcephaly, short stature and digital abnormalities in humans. Mice deficient for the miR-17~92 cluster phenocopy several features such as growth and skeletal development defects and exhibit impaired B cell development. However, the individual contribution of miR-17~92 cluster members to this phenotype is unknown. Here we show that germline deletion of miR-92a in mice is not affecting heart development and does not reduce circulating or bone marrow-derived hematopoietic cells, but induces skeletal defects. MiR-92a−/− mice are born at a reduced Mendelian ratio, but surviving mice are viable and fertile. However, body weight of miR-92a−/− mice was reduced during embryonic and postnatal development and adulthood. A significantly reduced body and skull length was observed in miR-92a−/− mice compared to wild type littermates. µCT analysis revealed that the length of the 5th mesophalanx to 5th metacarpal bone of the forelimbs was significantly reduced, but bones of the hindlimbs were not altered. Bone density was not affected. These findings demonstrate that deletion of miR-92a is sufficient to induce a developmental skeletal defect.
Factors affecting date of implantation, parturition, and den entry estimated from activity and body temperature in free-ranging brown bears
Alina L. Evans
Jon M. Arnemo
Jon E. Swenson
- Knowledge of factors influencing the timing of reproduction is important for animal conservation and management. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are able to vary the birth date of their cubs in response to their fat stores, but little information is available about the timing of implantation and parturition in free-ranging brown bears. Body temperature and activity of pregnant brown bears is higher during the gestation period than during the rest of hibernation and drops at parturition. We compared mean daily body temperature and activity levels of pregnant and nonpregnant females during preimplantation, gestation, and lactation. Additionally we tested whether age, litter size, primiparity, environmental conditions, and the start of hibernation influence the timing of parturition. The mean date of implantation was 1 December (SD = 12), the mean date of parturition was 26 January (SD = 12), and the mean duration of the gestation period was 56 days (SD = 2). The body temperature of pregnant females was higher during the gestation and lactation periods than that of nonpregnant bears. The body temperature of pregnant females decreased during the gestation period. Activity recordings were also used to determine the date of parturition. The parturition dates calculated with activity and body temperature data did not differ significantly and were the same in 50% of the females. Older females started hibernation earlier. The start of hibernation was earlier during years with favorable environmental conditions. Dates of parturition were later during years with good environmental conditions which was unexpected. We suggest that free-ranging pregnant brown bears in areas with high levels of human activities at the beginning of the denning period, as in our study area, might prioritize investing energy in early denning than in early parturition during years with favorable environmental conditions, as a strategy to prevent disturbances caused by human.
Examining hidden coercion at state borders: why carrier sanctions cannot be justified
- Sanctions placed upon airlines and other operators transporting persons without the required paperwork are called ‘carrier sanctions’. They constitute a key example of how border control mechanisms are currently being outsourced, privatized, delegated, and moved from the border itself to new physical locations. These practices can lead to a phenomenon referred to in this paper as ‘hidden coercion’. This paper argues that, while hidden coercion is commonplace in the reality of migration policy in most states, it is so far neglected in theoretical discussions of state coercion. Moreover, the discussion of carrier sanctions demonstrates that this neglect is problematic, since hidden coercion is not justifiable even within a framework that legitimizes state border coercion.