Dynamic factor models with clustered loadings: Forecasting education flows using unemployment data

Francisco Blasques, Meindert Heres Hoogerkamp, Siem Jan Koopman*, Ilka van de Werve

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We propose a dynamic factor model which we use to analyze the relationship between education participation and national unemployment, as well as to forecast the number of students across the many different types of education. By clustering the factor loadings associated with the dynamic macroeconomic factor, we can measure to what extent the different types of education exhibit similarities in their relationship with macroeconomic cycles. To utilize the feature that unemployment data is available for a longer time period than our detailed education panel data, we propose a two-step procedure. First, we consider a score-driven model which filters the conditional expectation of the unemployment rate. Second, we consider a multivariate model in which we regress the number of students on the dynamic macroeconomic factor, and we further apply the k-means method to estimate the clustered loading matrix. In a Monte Carlo study, we analyze the performance of the proposed procedure in its ability to accurately capture clusters and preserve or enhance forecasting accuracy. For a high-dimensional, nation-wide data set from the Netherlands, we empirically investigate the impact of the rate of unemployment on choices in education over time. Our analysis confirms that the number of students in part-time education covaries more strongly with unemployment than those in full-time education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1426-1441
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Forecasting
Issue number4
Early online date23 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
F. Blasques is thankful to the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for financial support (VI.Vidi.195.099). We would like to thank the handling Editors, the Associate Editor and the two referees for their careful reading of earlier versions of our paper and their many insightful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cluster analysis
  • Dynamic factor models
  • Education
  • Forecasting
  • Unemployment


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic factor models with clustered loadings: Forecasting education flows using unemployment data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this