IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eme/jespps/jes-08-2019-0388.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the performance of US fiscal forecasts: government vs. private information

Author

Listed:
  • Zidong An
  • Joao Tovar Jalles

Abstract

Purpose - This paper contributes to shed light on the quality and performance of US fiscal forecasts. Design/methodology/approach - The first part inspects the causes of official fiscal forecasts revisions by Congressional Budget Office (CBO) between 1984 and 2016 that are due to technical, economic or policy reasons. Findings - Both individual and cumulative means of forecast errors are relatively close to zero, particularly in the case of expenditures. CBO averages indicate net average downward revenue and expenditure revisions and net average upward deficit revisions. Focusing on the causes of the technical component, the authors uncover that its revisions are quite unpredictable, which cast doubts on inferences about fiscal policy sustainability that rely on point estimates. Comparing official with private-sector (consensus) forecasts, despite the informational advantages CBO might have, one cannot unequivocally say that one or the other is more accurate. Evidence also seems to suggest that CBO forecasts are consistently heavily biased toward optimism while this is less the case for consensus forecasts. Not only is the extent of information rigidity is more prevalent in CBO forecasts but also evidence seems to indicate that consensus forecasts dominate CBO in terms of information content. Originality/value - The authors provide a detailed analysis on US fiscal forecasts both using revenue and expenditure and decomposing forecast errors into several explanatory components. Moreover, the authors compare official with private-sector (consensus) forecasts and assess which one is better or preferred.

Suggested Citation

  • Zidong An & Joao Tovar Jalles, 2020. "On the performance of US fiscal forecasts: government vs. private information," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 48(2), pages 367-391, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:jes-08-2019-0388
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/JES-08-2019-0388?utm_campaign=RePEc&WT.mc_id=RePEc
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Merola, Rossana & Pérez, Javier J., 2013. "Fiscal forecast errors: Governments versus independent agencies?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 285-299.
    2. Plesko, George A., 1988. "The Accuracy of Government Forecasts and Budget Projections," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(4), pages 483-501, December.
    3. Feenberg, Daniel R, et al, 1989. "Testing the Rationality of State Revenue Forecasts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 300-308, May.
    4. Pina, Álvaro M. & Venes, Nuno M., 2011. "The political economy of EDP fiscal forecasts: An empirical assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 534-546, September.
    5. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2016. "Real-Time Data And Fiscal Policy Analysis: A Survey Of The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 302-326, April.
    6. Stekler, H. O., 1991. "Macroeconomic forecast evaluation techniques," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 375-384, November.
    7. Teresa Leal & Javier J. Pérez & Mika Tujula & Jean-Pierre Vidal, 2008. "Fiscal Forecasting: Lessons from the Literature and Challenges," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(3), pages 347-386, September.
    8. Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan & Jakob de Haan, 2012. "Using Real-Time Data to Test for Political Budget Cycles," CESifo Working Paper Series 3939, CESifo.
    9. Tim Pike & David Savage, 1998. "Forecasting the public finances in the Treasury," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 49-62, February.
    10. Filip Keereman, 1999. "The track record of the Commission forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 137, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    11. Gentry, William M., 1989. "Do State Revenue Forecasters Utilize Available Information," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 42(4), pages 429-439, December.
    12. Reischauer, Robert D., 1990. "Taxes and Spending Under Gramm-Rudman-Hollings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(3), pages 223-32, September.
    13. Bretschneider, Stuart I. & Gorr, Wilpen L. & Grizzle, Gloria & Klay, Earle, 1989. "Political and organizational influences on the accuracy of forecasting state government revenues," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 307-319.
    14. Paul van den Noord, 2000. "The Size and Role of Automatic Fiscal Stabilizers in the 1990s and Beyond," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 230, OECD Publishing.
    15. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    16. Mr. David Hauner & Ms. Kornelia Krajnyak & Mr. Martin Mühleisen & Mr. Bennett W Sutton & Mr. Stephan Danninger, 2005. "How Do Canadian Budget Forecasts Compare with Those of Other Industrial Countries?," IMF Working Papers 2005/066, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Reischauer, Robert D., 1990. "Taxes and Spending Under Gramm-Rudman-Hollings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 43(3), pages 223-232, September.
    18. Yock Y. Chong & David F. Hendry, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 671-690.
    19. Antonello D'Agostino & Karl Whelan, 2008. "Federal Reserve Information During the Great Moderation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 609-620, 04-05.
    20. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2001. "Fiscal forecasting: The track record of the IMF, OECD and EC," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(1), pages 20-36.
    21. Rolf Strauch & Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 2004. "Budgetary Forecasts in Europe – The Track Record of Stability and Convergence Programmes," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/42, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    22. Mandy, David M., 1989. "Forecasting unemployment insurance trust funds: The case of Tennessee," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 381-391.
    23. Loungani, Prakash, 2001. "How accurate are private sector forecasts? Cross-country evidence from consensus forecasts of output growth," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 419-432.
    24. Campbell, Bryan & Ghysels, Eric, 1995. "Federal Budget Projections: A Nonparametric Assessment of Bias and Efficiency," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 17-31, February.
    25. Auerbach, Alan J., 1999. "On the Performance and Use of Government Revenue Forecasts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(4), pages 765-782, December.
    26. Tilman Brück & Andreas Stephan, 2006. "Do Eurozone Countries Cheat with their Budget Deficit Forecasts?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 3-15, February.
    27. Jalles, João Tovar & Karibzhanov, Iskander & Loungani, Prakash, 2015. "Cross-country evidence on the quality of private sector fiscal forecasts," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 186-201.
    28. Zidong An & João Tovar Jalles & Prakash Loungani, 2018. "How well do economists forecast recessions?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 100-121, June.
    29. Chris Giles & John Hall, 1998. "Forecasting the PSBR outside government: the IFS perspective," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 83-100, February.
    30. Ericsson, Neil R., 1992. "Parameter constancy, mean square forecast errors, and measuring forecast performance: An exposition, extensions, and illustration," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 465-495, August.
    31. Auerbach, Alan J, 1995. "Tax Projections and the Budget: Lessons from the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 165-169, May.
    32. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-389, June.
    33. Ashley, R & Granger, C W J & Schmalensee, R, 1980. "Advertising and Aggregate Consumption: An Analysis of Causality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1149-1167, July.
    34. 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.
    35. Gentry, William M., 1989. "Do State Revenue Forecasters Utilize Available Information," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(4), pages 429-39, December.
    36. Alan J. Auerbach, 1996. "Dynamic Revenue Estimation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 141-157, Winter.
    37. Beetsma, Roel & Giuliodori, Massimo & de Jong, Frank & Widijanto, Daniel, 2013. "Spread the news: The impact of news on the European sovereign bond markets during the crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 83-101.
    38. Roy Batchelor & Pami Dua, 1995. "Forecaster Diversity and the Benefits of Combining Forecasts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(1), pages 68-75, January.
    39. Perez, Javier J., 2007. "Leading indicators for euro area government deficits," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 259-275.
    40. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
    41. Mr. Michael J. Artis, 1996. "How Accurate Are the Imf's Short-Term Forecasts? Another Examination of the World Economic Outlook," IMF Working Papers 1996/089, International Monetary Fund.
    42. Plesko, George A., 1988. "The Accuracy of Government Forecasts and Budget Projections," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 41(4), pages 483-501, December.
    43. repec:dgr:rugsom:12010-eef is not listed on IDEAS
    44. Laura Carabotta & Peter Claeys, 2015. "Combine to compete: improving fiscal forecast accuracy over time," UB Economics Working Papers 2015/320, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB School of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Teresa Leal & Javier J. Pérez & Mika Tujula & Jean-Pierre Vidal, 2008. "Fiscal Forecasting: Lessons from the Literature and Challenges," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(3), pages 347-386, September.
    2. Vasconcelos de Deus, Joseph David Barroso & de Mendonça, Helder Ferreira, 2017. "Fiscal forecasting performance in an emerging economy: An empirical assessment of Brazil," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 408-419.
    3. Merola, Rossana & Pérez, Javier J., 2013. "Fiscal forecast errors: Governments versus independent agencies?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 285-299.
    4. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Christoph Schinke, 2017. "Manipulating Fiscal Forecasts: Evidence from the German States," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 73(2), pages 213-236, June.
    5. Beate Jochimsen & Robert Lehmann, 2017. "On the political economy of national tax revenue forecasts: evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 211-230, March.
    6. Dean Croushore & Simon van Norden, 2018. "Fiscal Forecasts at the FOMC: Evidence from the Greenbooks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 933-945, December.
    7. Thiess Buettner & Bjoern Kauder, 2015. "Political biases despite external expert participation? An empirical analysis of tax revenue forecasts in Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 287-307, September.
    8. Niels D. Gilbert & Jasper F.M. Jong, 2017. "Do European fiscal rules induce a bias in fiscal forecasts? Evidence from the Stability and Growth Pact," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(1), pages 1-32, January.
    9. Boukari, Mamadou & Veiga, Francisco José, 2018. "Disentangling political and institutional determinants of budget forecast errors: A comparative approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1030-1045.
    10. Pérez Quirós, Gabriel & Pérez, Javier J. & Paredes, Joan, 2015. "Fiscal targets. A guide to forecasters?," Working Paper Series 1834, European Central Bank.
    11. Leal Linares, Teresa & Pérez García, Javier J., 2011. "Análisis de las desviaciones presupuestarias aplicado al caso del presupuesto del Estado/The Performance of the Budgetary Target of the Central Government in Spain," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 29, pages 909(14á.)-9, Diciembre.
    12. Carabotta, Laura & Paluzie, Elisenda & Ramos, Raul, 2017. "Does fiscal responsibility matter? Evidence from public and private forecasters in Italy," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 694-706.
    13. Cepparulo, Alessandra & Gastaldi, Francesca & Giuriato, Luisa & Sacchi, Agnese, 2011. "Budgeting versus implementing fiscal policy:the Italian case," MPRA Paper 32474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. McCracken,M.W. & West,K.D., 2001. "Inference about predictive ability," Working papers 14, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    15. Thiess Buettner & Bjoern Kauder, 2010. "Revenue Forecasting Practices: Differences across Countries and Consequences for Forecasting Performance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 313-340, September.
    16. Carriero, Andrea & Mumtaz, Haroon & Theophilopoulou, Angeliki, 2015. "Macroeconomic information, structural change, and the prediction of fiscal aggregates," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 325-348.
    17. Diego J. Pedregal & Javier J. Pérez & Antonio Sánchez Fuentes, 2014. "A Tookit to strengthen Government," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 211(4), pages 117-146, December.
    18. Bryan Campbell & Eric Ghysels, 1997. "An Empirical Analysis of the Canadian Budget Process," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 553-576, August.
    19. Jalles, João Tovar & Karibzhanov, Iskander & Loungani, Prakash, 2015. "Cross-country evidence on the quality of private sector fiscal forecasts," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 186-201.
    20. Mr. Mikhail Golosov & Mr. John R King, 2002. "Tax Revenue Forecasts in IMF-Supported Programs," IMF Working Papers 2002/236, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forecasting performance; Encompassing tests; CBO; Consensus; C53; E17; H62;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:jes-08-2019-0388. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.emerald.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Virginia Chapman (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.emerald.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.