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Gauging the uncertainty of the economic outlook from historical forecasting errors

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  • David Reifschneider
  • Peter Tulip
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    Abstract

    Participants in meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) regularly produce individual projections of real activity and inflation that are published in summary form. These summaries indicate participants' views about the most likely course for the macroeconomy but, by themselves, are not enough to gauge the full range of possible outcomes -- that is, the uncertainty surrounding the outlook. To this end, FOMC participants will now provide qualitative assessments of how they view the degree of current uncertainty relative to that which prevailed on average in the past. This paper discusses a method for gauging the average magnitude of historical uncertainty using information on the predictive accuracy of a number of private and government forecasters. The results suggest that, if past performance is a reasonable guide to the accuracy of future forecasts, considerable uncertainty surrounds all macroeconomic projections, including those of FOMC participants.

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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 2007-60.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-60

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    Related research

    Keywords: Uncertainty ; Economic forecasting;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    8. Peter Tulip, 2005. "Has output become more predictable? changes in Greenbook forecast accuracy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    10. Ray C. Fair, 1978. "Estimating the Expected Predictive Accuracy of Econometric Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 480, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    13. Flint Brayton & Eileen Mauskopf & David Reifschneider & Peter Tinsley & John Williams, 1997. "The role of expectations in the FRB/US macroeconomic model," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 227-245.
    14. Garratt A. & Lee K. & Pesaran M.H. & Shin Y., 2003. "Forecast Uncertainties in Macroeconomic Modeling: An Application to the U.K. Economy," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 829-838, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Knüppel, Malte & Schultefrankenfeld, Guido, 2013. "The Empirical (Ir)Relevance of the Interest Rate Assumption for Central Bank Forecasts," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80042, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Tara M. Sinclair & Edward N. Gamber & H.O. Stekler & Elizabeth Reid, 2008. "Jointly Evaluating the Federal Reserve’s Forecasts of GDP Growth and Inflation," Working Papers 2008-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting, revised Mar 2011.
    3. Knüppel, Malte, 2009. "Efficient estimation of forecast uncertainty based on recent forecast errors," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,28, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
    4. Kajal Lahiri & Xuguang Sheng, 2010. "Measuring forecast uncertainty by disagreement: The missing link," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 514-538.
    5. Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2009. "A comparison of forecast performance between Federal Reserve staff forecasts, simple reduced-form models, and a DSGE model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Edward N. Gamber & Julie K. Smith, 2007. "Are the Fed’s Inflation Forecasts Still Superior to the Private Sector’s?," Working Papers 2007-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting, revised Jul 2008.
    7. Arai, Natsuki, 2014. "Using forecast evaluation to improve the accuracy of the Greenbook forecast," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 12-19.
    8. William T. Gavin & Geetanjali Pande, 2008. "FOMC consensus forecasts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 149-164.
    9. Rochelle M. Edge & Refet S. Gurkaynak, 2011. "How useful are estimated DSGE model forecasts?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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