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Geography, skills or both: What explains Fed watchers' forecast accuracy of US monetary policy?

  • Berger, Helge
  • Ehrmann, Michael
  • Fratzscher, Marcel

The paper shows that there is a substantial degree of heterogeneity in the ability of Fed watchers to forecast US monetary policy decisions. Based on a novel database for 268 individual professional forecasters since 1999, the average absolute forecast error of FOMC decisions varies 5-10 basis points between the best and worst-performers across the sample. This heterogeneity is found to be related to both the skills of analysts - such as their educational and employment backgrounds - and to geography. In particular, forecasters located in regions which experience more idiosyncratic economic conditions perform worse in anticipating monetary policy. This evidence is indicative that limited attention and heterogeneous priors are present even for anticipating important events such as monetary policy decisions.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164070411000309
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 420-437

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:33:y:2011:i:3:p:420-437
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

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