IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

From Fixed-Event to Fixed-Horizon Density Forecasts: Obtaining Measures of Multi-Horizon Uncertainty from Survey Density Forecasts


  • Gergely Ganics
  • Barbara Rossi
  • Tatevik Sekhposyan


Surveys of professional forecasters produce precise and timely point forecasts for key macroeconomic variables. However, the accompanying density forecasts are not as widely utilized, and there is no consensus about their quality. This is partly because such surveys are often conducted for “fixed events”. For example, in each quarter panelists are asked to forecast output growth and inflation for the current calendar year and the next, implying that the forecast horizon changes with each survey round. The fixed-event nature limits the usefulness of survey density predictions for policymakers and market participants, who often wish to characterize uncertainty a fixed number of periods ahead (“fixed-horizon”). Is it possible to obtain fixed-horizon density forecasts using the available fixed-event ones? We propose a density combination approach that weights fixed-event density forecasts according to a uniformity of the probability integral transform criterion, aiming at obtaining a correctly calibrated fixed-horizon density forecast. Using data from the US Survey of Professional Forecasters, we show that our combination method produces competitive density forecasts relative to widely used alternatives based on historical forecast errors or Bayesian VARs. Thus, our proposed fixed-horizon predictive densities are a new and useful tool for researchers and policy makers.

Suggested Citation

  • Gergely Ganics & Barbara Rossi & Tatevik Sekhposyan, 2020. "From Fixed-Event to Fixed-Horizon Density Forecasts: Obtaining Measures of Multi-Horizon Uncertainty from Survey Density Forecasts," Working Papers 1142, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:1142

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2003. "Inflation forecast uncertainty," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 1037-1059, December.
    2. Eric Ghysels & Arthur Sinko & Rossen Valkanov, 2007. "MIDAS Regressions: Further Results and New Directions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 53-90.
    3. Kheifets, Igor & Velasco, Carlos, 2017. "New goodness-of-fit diagnostics for conditional discrete response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 200(1), pages 135-149.
    4. 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.
    5. Mitchell, James & Weale, Martin, 2019. "Forecasting with Unknown Unknowns: Censoring and Fat Tails on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee," EMF Research Papers 27, Economic Modelling and Forecasting Group.
    6. Sebastiano Manzan, 2015. "Forecasting the Distribution of Economic Variables in a Data-Rich Environment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 144-164, January.
    7. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Wei, Min, 2007. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1163-1212, May.
    8. Clements, Michael P., 2018. "Are macroeconomic density forecasts informative?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 181-198.
    9. M. C. Jones & M. J. Faddy, 2003. "A skew extension of the t‐distribution, with applications," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 65(1), pages 159-174, February.
    10. Pettenuzzo, Davide & Timmermann, Allan & Valkanov, Rossen, 2016. "A MIDAS approach to modeling first and second moment dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 193(2), pages 315-334.
    11. John W. Galbraith & Simon van Norden, 2012. "Assessing gross domestic product and inflation probability forecasts derived from Bank of England fan charts," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 175(3), pages 713-727, July.
    12. Rossi, Barbara & Sekhposyan, Tatevik, 2013. "Conditional predictive density evaluation in the presence of instabilities," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 199-212.
    13. Jonas Dovern & Ulrich Fritsche & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Disagreement Among Forecasters in G7 Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1081-1096, November.
    14. Todd E. Clark & Francesco Ravazzolo, 2015. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Performance under Alternative Specifications of Time‐Varying Volatility," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(4), pages 551-575, June.
    15. Michael P. Clements, 2004. "Evaluating the Bank of England Density Forecasts of Inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 844-866, October.
    16. 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.
    17. Rossi, Barbara & Sekhposyan, Tatevik, 2014. "Evaluating predictive densities of US output growth and inflation in a large macroeconomic data set," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 662-682.
    18. Claudia Czado & Tilmann Gneiting & Leonhard Held, 2009. "Predictive Model Assessment for Count Data," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 1254-1261, December.
    19. Gneiting, Tilmann & Raftery, Adrian E., 2007. "Strictly Proper Scoring Rules, Prediction, and Estimation," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 359-378, March.
    20. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    21. Rossi, Barbara & Sekhposyan, Tatevik, 2019. "Alternative tests for correct specification of conditional predictive densities," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 208(2), pages 638-657.
    22. Michael P. Clements, 2014. "Forecast Uncertainty- Ex Ante and Ex Post : U.S. Inflation and Output Growth," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 206-216, April.
    23. Andreou, Elena & Ghysels, Eric & Kourtellos, Andros, 2010. "Regression models with mixed sampling frequencies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 158(2), pages 246-261, October.
    24. Diebold, Francis X & Gunther, Todd A & Tay, Anthony S, 1998. "Evaluating Density Forecasts with Applications to Financial Risk Management," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 863-883, November.
    25. Stefania D'Amico & Athanasios Orphanides, 2008. "Uncertainty and disagreement in economic forecasting," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 2008.
    26. Clements, Michael P., 2014. "Probability distributions or point predictions? Survey forecasts of US output growth and inflation," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 99-117.
    27. Jushan Bai, 2003. "Testing Parametric Conditional Distributions of Dynamic Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 531-549, August.
    28. Patton, Andrew J. & Timmermann, Allan, 2010. "Why do forecasters disagree? Lessons from the term structure of cross-sectional dispersion," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 803-820, October.
    29. 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.
    30. Kenneth F. Wallis, 1999. "Asymmetric density forecasts of inflation and the Bank of England's fan chart," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 167(1), pages 106-112, January.
    31. Adelchi Azzalini & Antonella Capitanio, 2003. "Distributions generated by perturbation of symmetry with emphasis on a multivariate skew t‐distribution," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 65(2), pages 367-389, May.
    32. Gergely Akos Ganics, 2017. "Optimal density forecast combinations," Working Papers 1751, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. De Santis, Roberto A. & Van der Veken, Wouter, 2020. "Forecasting macroeconomic risk in real time: Great and Covid-19 Recessions," Working Paper Series 2436, European Central Bank.

    More about this item


    survey of professional forecasters; density forecasts; forecast combination; predictive density; probability integral transform; uncertainty; real-time;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:bge:wpaper:1142. 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: (Bruno Guallar). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.