IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Toward a More Precise Definition of Forecastability


  • John Boylan


The idea of forecastability is valuable because it allows attention to shift from forecasting methods to the series that are being forecast, but the concept of forecastability needs sharpening. • Coefficients of variation and approximate entropy metrics assess the stability of a time series. Stability is an important idea, but it should be distinguished from forecastability. • Forecastability should refer to the range of forecast errors that are achievable, on average, in the long run. A forecastability metric should supply an upper and lower bound of forecast error. Any method producing greater errors (less accurate forecasts), on average, than the upper bound should be discontinued. • There are conceptual and practical difficulties in determining “the lowest achievable level of forecast error.” Recourse to automatic method-selection features of forecasting software, combining forecasts, and use of analogous series can point to the effective lower bound. • Greater attention should be given to identifying more forecastable series. These can be used to assist the forecasting of less forecastable series. They may, in some instances, be used instead of the less forecastable series to guide decision. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009

Suggested Citation

  • John Boylan, 2009. "Toward a More Precise Definition of Forecastability," Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, issue 13, pages 34-40, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:for:ijafaa:y:2009:1:13:p:34-40

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hill, Arthur V. & Zhang, Weiyong & Burch, Gerald F., 2015. "Forecasting the forecastability quotient for inventory management," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 651-663.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:for:ijafaa:y:2009:1:13:p:34-40. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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: Michael Gilliland (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.