Gauging the uncertainty of the economic outlook from historical forecasting errors
AbstractParticipants 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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-60.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Frederic S. Mishkin, 2007.
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 317-334, December.
- Anthony Tay & Kenneth F. Wallis, 2000. "Density Forecasting: A Survey," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0370, Econometric Society.
- 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.
- Fair, Ray C, 1980. "Estimating the Expected Predictive Accuracy of Econometric Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(2), pages 355-78, June.
- Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002.
"Comparing Predictive Accuracy,"
Journal of Business & Economic Statistics,
American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
- Ben S. Bernanke, 2007. "Federal Reserve communications," Speech 344, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Brayton, Flint & Levin, Andrew & Lyon, Ralph & Williams, John C., 1997. "The evolution of macro models at the Federal Reserve Board," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 43-81, December.
- Campbell, Sean D., 2007. "Macroeconomic Volatility, Predictability, and Uncertainty in the Great Moderation: Evidence From the Survey of Professional Forecasters," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 191-200, April.
- James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2006.
"Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?,"
NBER Working Papers
12324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher A. Sims, 2002. "The Role of Models and Probabilities in the Monetary Policy Process," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 1-62.
- repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:nov14 is not listed on IDEAS
- F. Brayton & P. Tinsley, 1996. "A guide to FRB/US: a macroeconomic model of the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- William T. Gavin & Rachel J. Mandal, 2001.
"Forecasting inflation and growth: do private forecasts match those of policymakers?,"
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 11-20.
- William T. Gavin & Rachel J. Mandal, 2000. "Forecasting inflation and growth: do private forecasts match those of policymakers?," Working Papers 2000-026, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- 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.).
- 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.
- David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
- 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.
- David Reifschneider & Robert Tetlow & John Williams, 1999. "Aggregate disturbances, monetary policy, and the macroeconomy: the FRB/US perspective," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-19.
- Kajal Lahiri & Xuguang Sheng, 2008.
"Measuring Forecast Uncertainty by Disagreement: The Missing Link,"
Ifo Working Paper Series
Ifo Working Paper No. 60, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
- 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.
- Kajal Lahiri & Xuguang Sheng, 2009. "Measuring Forecast Uncertainty by Disagreement: The Missing Link," Discussion Papers 09-06, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
- 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.).
- Sinclair, Tara M. & Gamber, Edward N. & Stekler, Herman & Reid, Elizabeth, 2012. "Jointly evaluating the Federal Reserve’s forecasts of GDP growth and inflation," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 309-314.
- Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2008.
"A Comparison Of Forecast Performance Between Federal Reserve Staff Forecasts, Simple Reduced-Form Models, And A Dsge Model,"
CAMA Working Papers
2009-03, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
- Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2010. "A comparison of forecast performance between Federal Reserve staff forecasts, simple reduced-form models, and a DSGE model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 720-754.
- 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.).
- William T. Gavin & Geetanjali Pande, 2008. "FOMC consensus forecasts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 149-164.
- Gamber, Edward N. & Smith, Julie K., 2009. "Are the Fed's inflation forecasts still superior to the private sector's?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 240-251, June.
- Knüppel, Malte & Schultefrankenfeld, Guido, 2013. "The empirical (ir)relevance of the interest rate assumption for central bank forecasts," Discussion Papers 11/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Kris Vajs to update the entry or send us the correct address.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.