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Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts:A Concise Review of Some Recent Developments

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  • Philip Hans Franses

    (Econometric Institute Erasmus School of Economics Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Michael McAleer

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam,Tinbergen Institute,Kyoto University,Complutense University of Madrid)

  • Rianne Legerstee

    (Econometric Institute Erasmus School of Economics Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute The Netherlands)

Abstract

Macroeconomic forecasts are frequently produced, widely published, intensively discussed and comprehensively used. The formal evaluation of such forecasts has a long research history. Recently, a new angle to the evaluation of forecasts has been addressed, and in this review we analyse some recent developments from that perspective. The literature on forecast evaluation predominantly assumes that macroeconomic forecasts are generated from econometric models. In practice, however, most macroeconomic forecasts, such as those from the IMF, World Bank, OECD, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the ECB, are typically based on econometric model forecasts jointly with human intuition. This seemingly inevitable combination renders most of these forecasts biased and, as such, their evaluation becomes non-standard. In this review, we consider the evaluation of two forecasts in which: (i) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct econometric models; (ii) one forecast is generated from an econometric model and the other is obtained as a combination of a model and intuition; and (iii) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct (but unknown) combinations of different models and intuition. It is shown that alternative tools are needed to compare and evaluate the forecasts in each of these three situations. These alternative techniques are illustrated by comparing the forecasts from the (econometric) Staff of the Federal Reserve Board and the FOMC on inflation, unemployment and real GDP growth. It is shown that the FOMC does not forecast significantly better than the Staff, and that the intuition of the FOMC does not add significantly in forecasting the actual values of the economic fundamentals. This would seem to belie the purported expertise of the FOMC.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research in its series KIER Working Papers with number 821.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:kyo:wpaper:821

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Keywords: Macroeconomic forecasts; econometric models; human intuition; biased forecasts; forecast performance; forecast evaluation; forecast comparison.;

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  1. Philip Hans Franses & Michael McAleer & Rianne Legerstee, 2009. "Expert opinion versus expertise in forecasting," Statistica Neerlandica, Netherlands Society for Statistics and Operations Research, vol. 63(3), pages 334-346.
  2. Heij, Christiaan & van Dijk, Dick & Groenen, Patrick J.F., 2011. "Real-time macroeconomic forecasting with leading indicators: An empirical comparison," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 466-481, April.
  3. Chia-Lin Chang & Philip Hans Franses & Michael McAleer, 2009. "How Accurate are Government Forecasts of Economic Fundamentals? The Case of Taiwan," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-637, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  4. Todd E. Clark & Michael McCracken, 1999. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1241, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Franses, Philip Hans & Kranendonk, Henk C. & Lanser, Debby, 2011. "One model and various experts: Evaluating Dutch macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 482-495.
  6. Franses, Philip Hans & Legerstee, Rianne, 2009. "Properties of expert adjustments on model-based SKU-level forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-47.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. McAleer, Michael, 1992. "Efficient Estimation: The Rao-Zyskind Condition, Kruskal's Theorem and Ordinary Least Squares," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(200), pages 65-72, March.
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  13. Elliott, Graham & Timmermann, Allan G, 2007. "Economic Forecasting," CEPR Discussion Papers 6158, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. West, Kenneth D, 1996. "Asymptotic Inference about Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1067-84, September.
  15. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2003. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," NBER Working Papers 9866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Fildes, Robert & Goodwin, Paul & Lawrence, Michael & Nikolopoulos, Konstantinos, 2009. "Effective forecasting and judgmental adjustments: an empirical evaluation and strategies for improvement in supply-chain planning," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 3-23.
  18. Chong, Yock Y & Hendry, David F, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 671-90, August.
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Blog mentions

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  1. What I Learned Last Week
    by Dave Giles in Econometrics Beat: Dave Giles' Blog on 2012-10-13 04:19:00
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Cited by:
  1. Mihaela Bratu, 2012. "A Strategy to Improve the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) Predictions Using Bias-Corrected-Accelerated (BCA) Bootstrap Forecast Intervals," International Journal of Synergy and Research, ToKnowPress, vol. 1(2), pages 45-59.
  2. Mihaela BRATU (SIMIONESCU), 2012. "A Strategy To Improve The Gdp Index Forcasts In Romania Using Moving Average Models Of Historical Errors Of The Dobrescu Macromodel," Romanian Journal of Economics, Institute of National Economy, vol. 35(2(44)), pages 128-138, December.
  3. Bratu Mihaela, 2013. "An Evaluation Of Usa Unemployment Rate Forecasts In Terms Of Accuracy And Bias. Empirical Methods To Improve The Forecasts Accuracy," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 170-180, February.

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