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Efficient forecast tests for conditional policy forecasts

  • Faust, Jon
  • Wright, Jonathan H.

Central Banks regularly make forecasts, such as the Fed's Greenbook forecast, that are conditioned on hypothetical paths for the policy interest rate. While there are good public policy reasons to evaluate the quality of such forecasts, up until now, the most common approach has been to ignore their conditional nature and apply standard forecast efficiency tests. In this paper we derive tests for the efficiency of conditional forecasts. Intuitively, these tests involve implicit estimates of the degree to which the conditioning path is counterfactual and the magnitude of the policy feedback over the forecast horizon. We apply the tests to the Greenbook forecast and the Bank of England's inflation report forecast, finding some evidence of forecast inefficiency. Nonetheless, we argue that the conditional nature of the forecasts made by central banks represents a substantial impediment to the analysis of their quality--stronger assumptions are needed and forecast inefficiency may go undetected for longer than would be the case if central banks were instead to report unconditional forecasts.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 146 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 293-303

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:146:y:2008:i:2:p:293-303
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconom

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  1. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  2. Faust, Jon, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 207-244, December.
  3. Adolfson, Malin & Andersson, Michael K. & Lindé, Jesper & Villani, Mattias & Vredin, Anders, 2005. "Modern Forecasting Models in Action: Improving Macroeconomic Analyses at Central Banks," Working Paper Series 188, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden), revised 01 Jun 2006.
  4. Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H & Wright, Jonathan H, 2005. "News and Noise in G-7 GDP Announcements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 403-19, June.
  5. Alastair R. Hall & Glenn D. Rudebusch & David W. Wilcox, 1994. "Judging instrument relevance in instrumental variables estimation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-3, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H. & Wang, Shing-Yi B. & Wright, Jonathan H., 2007. "The high-frequency response of exchange rates and interest rates to macroeconomic announcements," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1051-1068, May.
  7. James H. Stock & Jonathan Wright, 2000. "GMM with Weak Identification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1055-1096, September.
  8. Jon Faust & Dale W. Henderson, 2004. "Is inflation targeting best-practice monetary policy?," International Finance Discussion Papers 807, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Ironside, Brian & Tetlow, Robert J., 2005. "Real-Time Model Uncertainty in the United States: the Fed from 1996-2003," CEPR Discussion Papers 5305, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Jean-Marie Dufour, 1997. "Some Impossibility Theorems in Econometrics with Applications to Structural and Dynamic Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1365-1388, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Sergey V. Chernenko, 2004. "The information content of forward and futures prices: market expectations and the price of risk," International Finance Discussion Papers 808, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  14. Eric M. Leeper & Tao Zha, 1999. "Modest policy interventions," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 99-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  15. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1993. "Testing Identifiability and Specification in Instrumental Variable Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 222-240, April.
  16. Andrew Atkeson & Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "Are Phillips curves useful for forecasting inflation?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-11.
  17. Donald, Stephen G & Newey, Whitney K, 2001. "Choosing the Number of Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1161-91, September.
  18. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-70, December.
  19. Faust Jon & Swanson Eric T & Wright Jonathan H, 2004. "Do Federal Reserve Policy Surprises Reveal Superior Information about the Economy?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-31, October.
  20. Jon Faust, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," International Finance Discussion Papers 610, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. 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.
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