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Information or Institution? On the Determinants of Forecast Accuracy

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  • Roland Doehrn

    ()
    (Universitaet Duisburg Essen)

  • Christoph M. Schmidt

    ()
    (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Abstract

The accuracy of macroeconomic forecast depends on various factors, most importantly the mix of analytical methods used by the individual forecasters, the way that their personal experience is shaping their identification strategies, but also their efficiency in translating new information into revised forecasts. In this paper we use a broad sample of forecasts of German GDP and its components to analyze the impact of institutions and information on forecast accuracy. We find that forecast errors are a linear function of the forecast horizon, which serves as an indicator of the information available at the time a forecast is produced. This result is robust over a variety of different specifications. As better information seems to be the key to achieving better forecasts, approaches for acquiring reliable information early seem to be a good investment. By contrast, the institutional factors tend to be small and statistically insignificant. It has to remain open, whether this is the consequence of the efficiency-enhancing competition among German research institutions or rather the reflection of an abundance of forecast suppliers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 231 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 9-27

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Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:231:y:2011:i:1:p:9-27

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Keywords: Forecast accuracy; forecast revisions; forecast horizon; economic activity;

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References

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  1. Simeon Vosen & Torsten Schmidt, 2011. "Forecasting private consumption: survey‐based indicators vs. Google trends," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(6), pages 565-578, September.
  2. Kajal Lahiri & Gultekin Isiklar, 2006. "How Far Ahead Can We Forecast? Evidence From Cross-country Surveys," Discussion Papers 06-04, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  3. Lamont, Owen A., 2002. "Macroeconomic forecasts and microeconomic forecasters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 265-280, July.
  4. Wolfgang Nierhaus & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2003. "Methoden der Konjunkturprognose," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 56(04), pages 7-23, 02.
  5. Jörg Döpke & Ulrich Fritsche, 2006. "Growth and inflation forecasts for Germany a panel-based assessment of accuracy and efficiency," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 777-798, September.
  6. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
  7. Dopke, Jorg & Fritsche, Ulrich, 2006. "When do forecasters disagree? An assessment of German growth and inflation forecast dispersion," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 125-135.
  8. Kajal Lahiri & Gultekin Isiklar & Prakash Loungani, 2006. "How quickly do forecasters incorporate news? Evidence from cross-country surveys," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 703-725.
  9. Roland Döhrn, 2006. "Improving Business Cycle Forecasts’ Accuracy - What Can We Learn from Past Errors?," RWI Discussion Papers 0051, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
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Cited by:
  1. Ullrich Heilemann & Herman O. Stekler, 2013. "Has The Accuracy of Macroeconomic Forecasts for Germany Improved?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 235-253, 05.
  2. Jan-Christoph Ruelke, 2012. "Do Private Sector Forecasters Desire to Deviate From the German Council of Economic Experts?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 232(4), pages 414-428, July.
  3. Roland Döhrn & Philipp an de Meulen & Tobias Kitlinski & Torsten Schmidt & Simeon Vosen, 2010. "Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung im Ausland zur Jahresmitte 2010 - Der erste Schwung ist vorüber," RWI Konjunkturbericht, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, pages 32, 09.

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