An evaluation of recent macroeconomic forecast errors
Despite a significant decline in the pace of economic growth in the second half of 2000, macroeconomic forecasters underpredicted real GDP growth and overpredicted the unemployment rate by a significant amount, for the fifth consecutive year. On average, real GDP forecasts were about 2 percentage points below the actual data for the 1996-2000 period, and unemployment rate forecasts about 0.5 percentage point above. On a more positive note, forecasters ended their chronic overprediction of inflation during much of this period. Nevertheless, surprisingly large and persistent errors in recent forecasts of GDP, inflation, and unemployment have perplexed macroeconomists and policymakers for quite some time, and they merit closer examination. ; This article evaluates forecast errors in an attempt to understand why recent forecasts have gone awry. The investigation centers on errors in forecasts of real GDP growth, inflation, the unemployment rate, and nominal and real short-term interest rates since 1969. The focus is on one-year-ahead forecasts because well-known lags in the effects of monetary policy require the Federal Reserve to forecast economic activity well ahead when setting its current interest rate target. In addition to studying average forecast errors, the author looks briefly at the time series properties of the work of some individual forecasters.
Volume (Year): (2001)
Issue (Month): ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02210|
Web page: http://www.bos.frb.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Orphanides, Athanasios, 2002.
"Activist stabilization policy and inflation: The Taylor rule in the 1970s,"
CFS Working Paper Series
2002/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Athanasios Orphanides, 2000. "Activist stabilization policy and inflation: the Taylor rule in the 1970s," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- 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.
- Prakash Loungani, 2000. "How Accurate Are Private Sector Forecasts; Cross-Country Evidence From Consensus Forecasts of Output Growth," IMF Working Papers 00/77, International Monetary Fund.
- Zarnowitz, Victor, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Macroeconomic Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 293-311, October.
- Victor Zarnowitz & Phillip Braun, 1993.
"Twenty-two Years of the NBER-ASA Quarterly Economic Outlook Surveys: Aspects and Comparisons of Forecasting Performance,"
in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 11-94
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Victor Zarnowitz & Phillip Braun, 1992. "Twenty-two Years of the NBER-ASA Quarterly Economic Outlook Surveys: Aspects and Comparisons of Forecasting Performance," NBER Working Papers 3965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Victor Zarnowitz & Louis A. Lambros, 1983. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," NBER Working Papers 1171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lamont, Owen A., 2002.
"Macroeconomic forecasts and microeconomic forecasters,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 265-280, July.
- Owen Lamont, 1995. "Macroeconomics Forecasts and Microeconomic Forecasters," NBER Working Papers 5284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephen K. McNees, 1992. "How large are economic forecast errors?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 25-42.
- 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.
- Zarnowitz, Victor & Lambros, Louis A, 1987. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 591-621, June.
- Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 2000. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists: does data vintage matter for forecasting?," Working Papers 00-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Tom Stark, 1997. "Macroeconomic forecasts and microeconomic forecasters in the Survey of Professional Forecasters," Working Papers 97-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Terence Lim, 2001. "Rationality and Analysts' Forecast Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 369-385, 02.
- Evan F. Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy M. Piger, 2002.
"The use and abuse of 'real-time' data in economic forecasting,"
2001-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Evan F. Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy Piger, 2003. "The Use and Abuse of Real-Time Data in Economic Forecasting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 618-628, August.
- Evan F. Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy M. Piger, 2000. "The use and abuse of "real-time" data in economic forecasting," International Finance Discussion Papers 684, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Koenig, Evan F. & Dolmas, Sheila & Piger, Jeremy M., 2000. "The use and abuse of "real-time" data in economic forecasting," Working Papers 0004, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
- John C. Robertson & Ellis W. Tallman, 1998. "Data vintages and measuring forecast model performance," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 4, pages 4-20.
- Bonham, Carl & Cohen, Richard, 1995. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 284-89, March.
- David Laster & Paul Bennett & In Sun Geoum, 1999. "Rational Bias in Macroeconomic Forecasts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 293-318.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:2001:p:35-56:n:1. 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: (Catherine Spozio)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.