Approximate Bayesian forecasting

David T. Frazier, Worapree Maneesoonthorn, Gael M. Martin, Brendan P.M. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) has become increasingly prominent as a method for conducting parameter inference in a range of challenging statistical problems, most notably those characterized by an intractable likelihood function. In this paper, we focus on the use of ABC not as a tool for parametric inference, but as a means of generating probabilistic forecasts; or for conducting what we refer to as ‘approximate Bayesian forecasting’. The four key issues explored are: (i) the link between the theoretical behavior of the ABC posterior and that of the ABC-based predictive; (ii) the use of proper scoring rules to measure the (potential) loss of forecast accuracy when using an approximate rather than an exact predictive; (iii) the performance of approximate Bayesian forecasting in state space models; and (iv) the use of forecasting criteria to inform the selection of ABC summaries in empirical settings. The primary finding of the paper is that ABC can provide a computationally efficient means of generating probabilistic forecasts that are nearly identical to those produced by the exact predictive, and in a fraction of the time required to produce predictions via an exact method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-539
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Forecasting
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Bayesian prediction
  • Jump-diffusion models
  • Likelihood-free methods
  • Particle filtering
  • Predictive merging
  • Proper scoring rules

Cite this