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Anchoring bias in consensus forecasts and its effect on market prices

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  • Sean D. Campbell
  • Steven A. Sharpe

Abstract

Previous empirical studies that test for the "rationality" of economic and financial forecasts generally test for generic properties such as bias or autocorrelated errors, and provide limited insight into the behavior behind inefficient forecasts. In this paper we test for a specific behavioral bias -- the anchoring bias described by Tversky and Kahneman (1974). In particular, we examine whether expert consensus forecasts of monthly economic releases from Money Market Services surveys from 1990-2006 have a tendency to be systematically biased toward the value of previous months' data releases. We find broad-based and significant evidence for the anchoring hypothesis; consensus forecasts are biased towards the values of previous months' data releases, which in some cases results in sizable predictable forecast errors. Then, to investigate whether the market participants anticipate the bias, we examine the response of interest rates to economic news. We find that bond yields react only to the residual, or unpredictable, component of the surprise and not to the expected piece of the forecast error apparently induced by anchoring. This suggests market participants anticipate the anchoring bias embedded in expert forecasts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-12.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-12

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Keywords: Economic forecasting ; Bond market;

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  1. Frankel, Jeff & Froot, Ken, 1986. "Using Survey Data to Test Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1972q8wm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2003. "The excess sensitivity of long-term interest rates: evidence and implications for macroeconomic models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Clara Vega, 2002. "Micro Effects of Macro Announcements: Real-Time Price Discovery in Foreign Exchange?," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-23, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Ehrbeck, Tilman & Waldmann, Robert, 1996. "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency versus Behavioral Explanations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 21-40, February.
  5. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1983. "Are Market Forecasts Rational?," NBER Chapters, in: A Rational Expectations Approach to Macroeconomics: Testing Policy Ineffectiveness and Efficient-Markets Models, pages 59-75 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sorensen, 2001. "The Strategy of Professional Forecasting," Discussion Papers 01-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  7. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Macroeconomic Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 293-311, October.
  8. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1985. "Using Survey Data to Test Some Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," NBER Working Papers 1672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Newey, Whitney K., 1984. "A method of moments interpretation of sequential estimators," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 14(2-3), pages 201-206.
  10. Pierluigi Balduzzi & Edwin J. Elton & T. Clifton Green, 1997. "Economic News and the Yield Curve: Evidence from the U.S. Treasury Market," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-005, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  11. Mullineaux, Donald J, 1978. "On Testing for Rationality: Another Look at the Livingston Price Expectations Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 329-36, April.
  12. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
  13. Aggarwal, Raj & Mohanty, Sunil & Song, Frank, 1995. "Are Survey Forecasts of Macroeconomic Variables Rational?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(1), pages 99-119, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  2. Mardi Dungey & Michael McKenzie & Vanessa Smith, 2007. "Empirical Evidence On Jumps In The Term Structure Of The Us Treasury Market," CAMA Working Papers 2007-25, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  3. Alfredo Pistelli M., 2012. "Análisis de Sesgos y Eficiencia en Proyecciones de Consensus Forecasts," Notas de Investigación Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 15(1), pages 98-104, April.
  4. Anolli, Mario & Beccalli, Elena & Molyneux, Philip, 2014. "Bank earnings forecasts, risk and the crisis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 309-335.
  5. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Anchoring: A valid explanation for biased forecasts when rational predictions are easily accessible and well incentivized?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 166, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  6. Ryuichi Yamamoto & Hideaki Hirata, . "Strategy Switching in the Japanese Stock Market," Working Paper 164466, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  7. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "An experimental study on social anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 196, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  8. Liao, Li-Chuan & Chou, Ray Yeutien & Chiu, Banghan, 2013. "Anchoring effect on foreign institutional investors’ momentum trading behavior: Evidence from the Taiwan stock market," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 72-91.
  9. Chang, Eric C. & Luo, Yan & Ren, Jinjuan, 2013. "Cross-listing and pricing efficiency: The informational and anchoring role played by the reference price," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4449-4464.

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