IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Rational vs. professional forecasts

  • João Valle e Azevedo

We compare theoretical and empirical forecasts computed by rational agents living in a model economy to those produced by professional forecasters. We focus on the variance of the prediction errors as a function of the forecast horizon and analyze the speed with which it converges to a constant (which can be seen as a measure of the speed of convergence of the economy to the steady state). We look at a standard sticky-prices-wages model, concluding that it delivers a strong theoretical forecastability of the variables under scrutiny, at odds with the data (professional forecasts). The flexible prices-wages version delivers a forecastability closer to the data and performs relatively better empirically (with actual data), but mainly because forecasts deviate little from the unconditional mean. These results can be interpreted in at least two ways: first, actual deviations from the steady-state are not persistent, in which case the implications of the specific formulation of nominal rigidities for short-run dynamics are unrealistic; second, and still looking through the lens of a model, exogenous (or unmodelled) steady-state shifts attributable to, e.g., changes in monetary-policy, taxation, regulation or in the growth of the technological frontier, occur in such a way as to strongly limit the performance of professional forecasters. �

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department in its journal Economic Bulletin.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): ()

in new window

Handle: RePEc:ptu:bdpart:b201108
Contact details of provider: Postal: R. do Ouro, 27, 1100 LISBOA
Phone: 21 321 32 00
Fax: 21 346 48 43
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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.:

as in new window
  1. Mathias Trabandt & Karl Walentin & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2008. "Introducing Financial Frictions and Unemployment into a Small Open Economy Model," 2008 Meeting Papers 423, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 2003. "A Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists: Does the Data Vintage Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 605-617, August.
  3. Ben S. Bernanke & Jean Boivin, 2001. "Monetary Policy in a Data-Rich Environment," NBER Working Papers 8379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2009. "A comparison of forecast performance between Federal Reserve staff forecasts, simple reduced-form models, and a DSGE model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Stephen K. McNees, 1992. "How large are economic forecast errors?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 25-42.
  6. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
  7. Karl Whelan & Antonello D'Agostino, 2008. "Federal Reserve information during the great moderation," Open Access publications 10197/252, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  8. Dean Croushore, 2006. "An evaluation of inflation forecasts from surveys using real-time data," Working Papers 06-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Eric T. Swanson & Gary S. Anderson & Andrew T. Levin, 2006. "Higher-order perturbation solutions to dynamic, discrete-time rational expectations models," Working Paper Series 2006-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Engelberg, Joseph & Manski, Charles F. & Williams, Jared, 2009. "Comparing the Point Predictions and Subjective Probability Distributions of Professional Forecasters," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 30-41.
  11. Peter N. Ireland, 2006. "Changes in the Federal Reserve's Inflation Target: Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 12492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  14. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1992. "Business Cycles," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226978901.
  15. Timothy Cogley & Argia M. Sbordone, 2008. "Trend Inflation, Indexation, and Inflation Persistence in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2101-26, December.
  16. Jon Faust & Jonathan H. Wright, 2007. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts using a Large Realtime Dataset," NBER Working Papers 13397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Giannone, Domenico & Lenza, Michele & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2007. "Explaining The Great Moderation: It Is Not The Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Phillips, Peter C.B. & Sun, Yixiao & Jin, Sainan, 2004. "Consistent HAC Estimation and Robust Regression Testing Using Sharp Origin Kernels with No Truncation," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6d36x00z, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  19. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1989. "The Informational Context of Ex Ante Forecasts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 325-31, May.
  20. Capistrán, Carlos & Timmermann, Allan, 2009. "Forecast Combination With Entry and Exit of Experts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 428-440.
  21. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
  22. Adolfson, Malin & Laséen, Stefan & Lindé, Jesper & Villani, Mattias, 2005. "Bayesian Estimation of an Open Economy DSGE Model with Incomplete Pass-Through," Working Paper Series 179, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  23. Bonham, Carl S & Cohen, Richard H, 2001. "To Aggregate, Pool, or Neither: Testing the Rational-Expectations Hypothesis Using Survey Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 278-91, July.
  24. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 3-33, 02.
  25. Frank Schorfheide, 2005. "Learning and Monetary Policy Shifts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 392-419, April.
  26. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2006. "Synchronization of cycles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 59-79, May.
  27. Joutz, Fred & Stekler, H. O., 2000. "An evaluation of the predictions of the Federal Reserve," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 17-38.
  28. Tom Stark, 2010. "Realistic evaluation of real-time forecasts in the Survey of Professional Forecasters," Research Rap Special Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue May.
  29. Faust, Jon & Wright, Jonathan H., 2008. "Efficient forecast tests for conditional policy forecasts," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 293-303, October.
  30. Adolfson, Malin & Laséen, Stefan & Lindé, Jesper & Villani, Mattias, 2007. "Evaluating An Estimated New Keynesian Small Open Economy Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 6027, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  31. Malin Adolfson & Jesper Linde & Mattias Villani, 2007. "Forecasting Performance of an Open Economy DSGE Model," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 289-328.
  32. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
  33. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2006. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. William T. Gavin & Rachel J. Mandal, 2002. "Evaluating FOMC forecasts," Working Papers 2001-005, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  37. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  38. Rubaszek, Michal & Skrzypczynski, Pawel, 2008. "On the forecasting performance of a small-scale DSGE model," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 498-512.
  39. Del Negro, Marco & Schorfheide, Frank & Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2007. "On the Fit of New Keynesian Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 123-143, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ptu:bdpart:b201108. 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: (DEE-NTDD)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.