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Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts: A Concise Review of Some Recent Developments

Macroeconomic forecasts are frequently produced, widely published, inten¬sively discussed and comprehensively used. The formal evaluation of such forecasts has a long research history. Recently, a new angle to the evaluation of forecasts has been addressed, and in this review we analyse some recent developments from that perspective. The literature on forecast evaluation predominantly assumes that macro¬economic forecasts are generated from econometric models. In practice, however, most macroeconomic forecasts, such as those from the IMF, World Bank, OECD, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the ECB, are typically based on econometric model forecasts jointly with human intuition. This seemingly inevitable combination renders most of these forecasts biased and, as such, their evaluation becomes non-standard. In this review, we consider the evaluation of two forecasts in which: (i) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct econo¬metric models; (ii) one forecast is generated from an econometric model and the other is obtained as a combination of a model and intuition; and (iii) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct (but unknown) combinations of different models and intu¬ition. It is shown that alternative tools are needed to compare and evaluate the fore-casts in each of these three situations. These alternative techniques are illustrated by comparing the forecasts from the (econometric) Staff of the Federal Reserve Board and the FOMC on inflation, unemployment and real GDP growth. It is shown that the FOMC does not forecast significantly better than the Staff, and that the intuition of the FOMC does not add significantly in forecasting the actual values of the economic fundamentals. This would seem to belie the purported expertise of the FOMC.

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File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/1212.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 12/12.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 08 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:12/12
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  1. Chia-Lin Chang & Philip Hans Franses & Michael McAleer, 2009. "How Accurate are Government Forecasts of Economic Fundamentals? The Case of Taiwan," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-637, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  2. Heij, Christiaan & van Dijk, Dick & Groenen, Patrick J.F., 2011. "Real-time macroeconomic forecasting with leading indicators: An empirical comparison," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 466-481.
  3. Elliott, Graham & Timmermann, Allan G, 2007. "Economic Forecasting," CEPR Discussion Papers 6158, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Chong, Yock Y & Hendry, David F, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 671-90, August.
  5. Roy Batchelor, 2007. "Forecaster Behaviour and Bias in Macroeconomic Forecasts," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 39, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  6. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2003. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," NBER Working Papers 9866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W.Watson, 2003. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 788-829, September.
  8. Fiebig, Denzil G. & McAleer, Michael & Bartels, Robert, 1992. "Properties of ordinary least squares estimators in regression models with nonspherical disturbances," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 321-334.
  9. Franses, Philip Hans & Kranendonk, Henk C. & Lanser, Debby, 2011. "One model and various experts: Evaluating Dutch macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 482-495.
  10. McAleer, Michael, 1992. "Efficient Estimation: The Rao-Zyskind Condition, Kruskal's Theorem and Ordinary Least Squares," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(200), pages 65-72, March.
  11. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  12. Batchelor, Roy, 2007. "Bias in macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 189-203.
  13. Franses, Philip Hans & Legerstee, Rianne, 2009. "Properties of expert adjustments on model-based SKU-level forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-47.
  14. Philip Hans Franses & Michael McAleer & Rianne Legerstee, 2009. "Expert opinion versus expertise in forecasting," Statistica Neerlandica, Netherlands Society for Statistics and Operations Research, vol. 63(3), pages 334-346.
  15. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2000. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0319, Econometric Society.
  16. Fildes, Robert & Goodwin, Paul & Lawrence, Michael & Nikolopoulos, Konstantinos, 2009. "Effective forecasting and judgmental adjustments: an empirical evaluation and strategies for improvement in supply-chain planning," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 3-23.
  17. Eroglu, Cuneyt & Croxton, Keely L., 2010. "Biases in judgmental adjustments of statistical forecasts: The role of individual differences," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 116-133, January.
  18. Kenneth D. West, 1994. "Asymptotic Inference About Predictive Ability," Macroeconomics 9410002, EconWPA.
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