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Learning in Real Time: Theory and Empirical Evidence from the Term Structure of Survey Forecasts

  • Patton, Andrew J
  • Timmermann, Allan G

We develop a theoretical framework for understanding how agents form expectations about economic variables with a partially predictable component. Our model incorporates the effect of measurement errors and heterogeneity in individual forecasters' prior beliefs and their information signals and also accounts for agents' learning in real time about past, current and future values of economic variables. We use the model to develop insights into the term structure of forecast errors, and test its implications on a data set comprising survey forecasts of annual GDP growth and inflation with horizons ranging from 1 to 24 months. The model is found to closely match the term structure of forecast errors for consensus beliefs and is able to replicate the cross-sectional dispersion in forecasts of GDP growth but not for inflation - the latter appearing to be too high in the data at short horizons. Our analysis also suggests that agents systematically underestimated the persistent component of GDP growth but overestimated it for inflation during most of the 1990s.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6526.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6526
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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Working Papers 9796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter Norman, 2006. "The strategy of professional forecasting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 441-466, August.
  3. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  4. Alessandro Beber & Michael W. Brandt, 2009. "Resolving Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Stock and Bond Markets," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(1), pages 1-45.
  5. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andersen, Torben G. & Bollerslev, Tim & Diebold, Francis X. & Vega, Clara, 2002. "Micro Effects of Macro Announcements: Real-Time Price Discovery in Foreign Exchange," Working Papers 02-16, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Chernov, Mikhail & Mueller, Philippe, 2012. "The term structure of inflation expectations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 367-394.
  9. Clements, M.C., 1996. "Evaluating the Rationality of Fixed-Event Forecasts," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 457, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
  11. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David H., 2006. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Working Paper Series 0633, European Central Bank.
  12. Milani, Fabio, 2007. "Expectations, learning and macroeconomic persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 2065-2082, October.
  13. Isiklar, Gultekin & Lahiri, Kajal, 2007. "How far ahead can we forecast? Evidence from cross-country surveys," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 167-187.
  14. Davies, Anthony & Lahiri, Kajal, 1995. "A new framework for analyzing survey forecasts using three-dimensional panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 205-227, July.
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  16. Pesaran, M.H. & Weale, M., 2005. "Survey Expectations," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0536, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  17. Nordhaus, William D, 1987. "Forecasting Efficiency: Concepts and Applications," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 667-74, November.
  18. Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H & Wright, Jonathan H, 2005. "News and Noise in G-7 GDP Announcements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 403-19, June.
  19. Lavan Mahadeva & Alex Muscatelli, 2005. "National Accounts Revisions and Output Gap Estimates in a Model of Monetary Policy with Data Uncertainty," Discussion Papers 14, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
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  21. Croushore, Dean, 2006. "Forecasting with Real-Time Macroeconomic Data," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
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  30. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:jul10 is not listed on IDEAS
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