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Assessing the prudence of economic forecasts in the EU


  • G. A. Christodoulakis

    (Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK)

  • E. C. Mamatzakis

    (Department of Economics, University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece)


We estimate the EU Commission loss preferences for major economic forecasts of 12 Member States. Based on a recently proposed method by Elliott, Komunjer and Timmermann (2005) the paper provides evidence of asymmetries in the underlying forecast loss preference of the Commission that tend to vary across Member States. In some cases, our results show that EU forecasts tend to display a rather optimistic picture for main economic variables, e.g. government balance, thus allowing a certain degree of leeway in the fiscal adjustment path towards the medium-term objective of 'close to balance' or 'in surplus' of the recently revised Stability and Growth Pact. Over the period of our sample, 1970-2004, this apparent asymmetry in the underlying loss preferences tends to deter prudent advice over economic policy. Lastly, we provide an analysis on the trade-off between loss and distribution asymmetries, for which simulation results show that the testing method is robust in the presence of skewness. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • G. A. Christodoulakis & E. C. Mamatzakis, 2009. "Assessing the prudence of economic forecasts in the EU," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 583-606.
  • Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:24:y:2009:i:4:p:583-606
    DOI: 10.1002/jae.1045

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Pierdzioch & Jan C Rülke & Georg Stadtmann, 2012. "Forecasting the Dollar/British Pound Exchange Rate: Asymmetric Loss and Forecast Rationality," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 213-213.
    2. Matei Demetrescu & Mu-Chun Wang, 2014. "Incorporating Asymmetric Preferences into Fan Charts and Path Forecasts," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(2), pages 287-297, April.
    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. Christodoulakis, George & Mamatzakis, Emmanuel, 2013. "Behavioural asymmetries in the G7 foreign exchange market," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 261-270.
    5. Fritsche, Ulrich & Pierdzioch, Christian & Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Stadtmann, Georg, 2015. "Forecasting the Brazilian real and the Mexican peso: Asymmetric loss, forecast rationality, and forecaster herding," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 130-139.
    6. Pierdzioch, Christian & Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Stadtmann, Georg, 2012. "On the loss function of the Bank of Canada: A note," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 155-159.
    7. Tsuchiya, Yoichi, 2016. "Directional analysis of fiscal sustainability: Revisiting Domar's debt sustainability condition," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 189-201.
    8. Deschamps, Bruno & Ioannidis, Christos, 2013. "Can rational stubbornness explain forecast biases?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 141-151.
    9. Jörg Döpke & Ulrich Fritsche & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2010. "Evaluating German business cycle forecasts under an asymmetric loss function," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2010(1), pages 1-18.
    10. Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Pierdzioch, Christian, 2014. "Government Forecasts of Budget Balances Under Asymmetric Loss: International Evidence," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100317, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Mamatzakis, E. & Koutsomanoli-Filippaki, A., 2014. "Testing the rationality of DOE's energy price forecasts under asymmetric loss preferences," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 567-575.
    12. Niels Gilbert & Jasper de Jong, 2014. "Does the Stability and Growth Pact induce a bias in the EC's fiscal forecasts," DNB Working Papers 451, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    13. Ulrich Fritsche & Christian Pierdzioch & Jan-Christoph Ruelke & Georg Stadtmann, 2012. "Forecasting the Euro: Do Forecasters Have an Asymmetric Loss Function?," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201201, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.
    14. Rossana Merola & Javier J. Pérez, 2012. "Fiscal forecast errors: governments vs independent agencies?," Working Papers 1233, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    15. 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.
    16. Tsuchiya, Yoichi, 2016. "Assessing macroeconomic forecasts for Japan under an asymmetric loss function," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-242.
    17. Pierdzioch, Christian & Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Stadtmann, Georg, 2013. "A note on forecasting the prices of gold and silver: Asymmetric loss and forecast rationality," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 294-301.
    18. Tsuchiya, Yoichi, 2016. "Asymmetric loss and rationality of Chinese renminbi forecasts: An implication for the trade between China and the US," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 116-127.
    19. Tsuchiya, Yoichi, 2012. "Evaluating Japanese corporate executives’ forecasts under an asymmetric loss function," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 601-603.

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