Baris Soybilgen

Baris Soybilgen

Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Information Systems

Istanbul Bilgi University


I am an assistant professor in the Department of Management Information Systems under the Faculty of Business and the assistant director of Center for Financial Studies at Istanbul Bilgi University. I am also a freelance data scientist.

I have a PhD in Economics. My main interests are applied econometrics and data science. My research agenda is mostly focus on developing linear and machine learning models to predict macroeconomic and financial variables. I am also interested in evaluating Turkish economy using panel and time series analysis.

I also assist NGOs and businesses in developing predictive models, deriving useful insights from their collected data, and conducting economic impact analysis. I am always open to new challenges and business opportunities. Please free to contact me.

My Interests: Time-Series/Panel Data Analysis, Macroeconomic/Financial Forecasting, Machine Learning, and Data Visualization.

Selected Publications

Nowcasting US GDP Using Tree-Based Ensemble Models and Dynamic Factors

In this study, we nowcast quarter-over-quarter US GDP growth rates between 2000Q2 and 2018Q4 using tree-based ensemble machine learning models, namely, bagged decision trees, random forests, and stochastic gradient tree boosting. For obtaining variables from our large-scale data set, we adopt a dynamic factor model. Our results show that tree-based ensemble models usually outperform linear dynamic factor models. Factors obtained from real variables appear to be more influential in machine learning models.

Identifying US business cycle regimes using dynamic factors and neural network models

We use dynamic factors and neural network models to identify current and past states (instead of future) of the US business cycle. In the first step, we reduce noise in data by using a moving average filter. Then, dynamic factors are extracted from a large-scale data set consisted of more than 100 variables. In the last step, these dynamic factors are fed into the neural network model for predicting business cycle regimes. We show that our proposed method follows US business cycle regimes quite accurately in sample and out of sample.

Time-Varying Taylor Rule Estimation for Turkey with Flexible Least Square Method

In this study, we propose a flexible two-stage least square regression to deal with both instability and endogeneity problems in the policy reaction function of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT). By analyzing the period between 2006 and 2019, we clearly show that the monetary policy function of the CBRT changes over time, and using a time-invariant monetary policy rule model would yield misleading results.

Evaluating nowcasts of bridge equations with advanced combination schemes for the Turkish unemployment rate

The paper analyzes the point and density predictive performance of alternative nowcast combination schemes in the context of bridge equations for the Turkish unemployment rate. Furthermore, we also nowcast the unemployment rate by using dynamic factor models (DFMs). Our results indicate that most of the sophisticated forecast combination methods have better predictive accuracy than the simple forecast combinations, especially in higher forecast horizons, which constitutes a case for the nowcast combination puzzle.

Nowcasting Turkish GDP and news decomposition

Real gross domestic product (GDP) data in Turkey are released with a very long delay. This means that policy makers, the media, and market practitioners have to infer the current state of the economy by examining data that are more timely and are released at higher frequencies than the GDP. This paper proposes an econometric model that allows us to read through these more current and higher-frequency data automatically, and translate them into nowcasts for the Turkish real GDP. Our model outperforms the nowcasts produced by the Central Bank of Turkey, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.