The Principal Component Regression is often used to forecast macroeconomic variables when there are many predictors. In this letter, we argue that it makes sense to pre-whiten the predictors before including these in a PCR. With simulation experiments, we show that without such pre-whitening, spurious principal components can appear, and that these can become spuriously significant in a PCR. With an illustration to annual inflation rates for five African countries, we show that non-spurious principal components can be genuinely relevant in empirical forecasting models.

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Econometric Institute Research Papers
Econometric Institute

Franses, P. H., & Janssens, E. (2017). Spurious Principal Components (No. EI2017-31). Econometric Institute Research Papers. Retrieved from