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An Evaluation of Inflation Forecasts from Surveys Using Real-Time Data

  • Croushore Dean

    ()

    (University of Richmond)

This paper carries out the task of evaluating inflation forecasts from the Livingston Survey and the Survey of Professional Forecasters, using the Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists as a source of real-time data. We examine the magnitude and patterns of revisions to the inflation rate based on the output price index. We then run tests on the forecasts from the surveys to see how good they are. We find that there are several episodes in which forecasters made persistent forecast errors, but the episodes are so short that by the time they can be identified, they have nearly disappeared. Thus, improving on the survey forecasts seems to be very difficult in real time, and the attempt to do so leads to increased forecast errors.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 1-32

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:10
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  1. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for marcoeconomists: does the data vintage matter?," Working Papers 99-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Dean Croushore, 1993. "Introducing: the survey of professional forecasters," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 3-15.
  3. Francis X. Diebold & Jose A. Lopez, 1995. "Forecast evaluation and combination," Research Paper 9525, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Macroeconomic Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 293-311, October.
  5. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-35, September.
  6. Pearce, Douglas K, 1979. "Comparing Survey and Rational Measures of Expected Inflation: Forecast Performance and Interest Rate Effects," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(4), pages 447-56, November.
  7. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-53, October.
  9. Dean Croushore, 1997. "The Livingston Survey: still useful after all these years," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 15-27.
  10. Tom Stark and Dean Croushore, 2001. "Forecasting with a Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 258, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2006. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
  13. Brown, Bryan W & Maital, Shlomo, 1981. "What Do Economists Know? An Empirical Study of Experts' Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 491-504, March.
  14. 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.
  15. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Vanderhoff, James, 1984. "A `rational' explanation for `irrational' forecasts of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 387-392, May.
  17. Hafer, R W & Hein, Scott E, 1985. "On the Accuracy of Time-Series, Interest Rate, and Survey Forecasts of Inflation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(4), pages 377-98, October.
  18. Roy H. Webb, 1987. "The irrelevance of tests for bias in series of macroeconomic forecasts," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Nov, pages 3-9.
  19. Lloyd B. Thomas, 1999. "Survey Measures of Expected U.S. Inflation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 125-144, Fall.
  20. Dean Croushore, 1998. "Evaluating inflation forecasts," Working Papers 98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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