IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Geography or skills: What explains Fed watchers’ forecast accuracy of US monetary policy?

  • Berger, Helge
  • Ehrmann, Michael
  • Fratzscher, Marcel

The paper shows that there is a substantial degree of heterogeneity in forecast accuracy among Fed watchers. Based on a novel database for 268 professional forecasters since 1999, the average forecast error of FOMC decisions varies 5 to 10 basis points between the best and worst-performers across the sample. This heterogeneity is found to be related to both the skills of analysts – such as their educational and employment backgrounds – and to geography. In particular, there is evidence that forecasters located in regions which experience more idiosyncratic economic conditions perform worse in anticipating monetary policy. Moreover, systematic forecaster heterogeneity is economically important as it leads to greater financial market volatility after FOMC meetings. Finally, Fed communication may exert an influence on forecast accuracy. JEL Classification: E52, E58, G14

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

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0695.

in new window

Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060695
Contact details of provider: Postal: 60640 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Phone: +49 69 1344 0
Fax: +49 69 1344 6000
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. Gurkaynak, Refet S & Sack, Brian & Swanson, Eric T, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," MPRA Paper 820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Transparency, disclosure and the federal reserve," Working Paper Series 0457, European Central Bank.
  3. Kandel, Eugene & Pearson, Neil D, 1995. "Differential Interpretation of Public Signals and Trade in Speculative Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 831-72, August.
  4. James D. Hamilton, 2007. "Daily Changes in Fed Funds Futures Prices," NBER Working Papers 13112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lange, Joe & Sack, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2003. " Anticipations of Monetary Policy in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 889-909, December.
  6. Alan G. Ahearne & William L. Griever & Francis E. Warnock, 2000. "Information costs and home bias: an analysis of U.S. holdings of foreign equities," International Finance Discussion Papers 691, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2007. "Communication by Central Bank Committee Members: Different Strategies, Same Effectiveness?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 509-541, 03.
  8. Portes, Richard & Rey, Hélène, 1999. "The Determinants of Cross-Border Equity Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 2225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Krugman, Paul, 1998. "What's New about the New Economic Geography?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 7-17, Summer.
  10. Gordon L. Clark, 2002. "London in the European financial services industry: locational advantage and product complementarities," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 433-453, October.
  11. Tomás Dvorák, 2005. "Do Domestic Investors Have an Information Advantage? Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 817-839, 04.
  12. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Communication and decision-making by central bank committees: different strategies, same effectiveness?," Working Paper Series 0488, European Central Bank.
  13. Lei Feng & Mark S. Seasholes, 2004. "Correlated Trading and Location," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2117-2144, October.
  14. Harald Hau, 2001. "Location Matters: An Examination of Trading Profits," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1959-1983, October.
  15. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob De Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 1038, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  16. Portes, Richard & Rey, Helene & Oh, Yonghyup, 2001. "Information and capital flows: The determinants of transactions in financial assets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 783-796, May.
  17. Gordon, R.H. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1994. "Why Is Capital So Immobile Internationally?: Possible Explanations and Implications for Capital Income Taxation," Working Papers 358, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  18. Jun-Koo Kang & Rene M. Stulz, 1995. "Why Is There a Home Bias? An Analysis of Foreign Portfolio Equity Ownership in Japan," NBER Working Papers 5166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa & Vives, Xavier, 2005. "Why and Where do Headquarters Move?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5070, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Andrew Bauer & Robert A. Eisenbeis & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2006. "Transparency, expectations and forecasts," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 1, pages 1-25.
  21. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary policy alternatives at the zero bound: an empirical assessment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Froot, Kenneth A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1991. "Exchange Rates and Foreign Direct Investment: An Imperfect Capital Markets Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1191-217, November.
  23. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
  24. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Augusto Marc Rocha Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2004. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm391, Yale School of Management.
  25. Karl B. Diether & Christopher J. Malloy & Anna Scherbina, 2002. "Differences of Opinion and the Cross Section of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2113-2141, October.
  26. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "How should central banks communicate?," Working Paper Series 0557, European Central Bank.
  27. Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 2003. "Simple Forecasts and Paradigm Shifts," NBER Working Papers 10013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. David Laster & Paul Bennett & In Sun Geoum, 1999. "Rational Bias In Macroeconomic Forecasts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 293-318, February.
  29. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
  30. Tomas Dvorak, 2001. "Do Domestic Investors Have an Information Advantage? Evidence from Indonesia," Center for Development Economics 168, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  31. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1993. "Differences of Opinion Make a Horse Race," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 473-506.
  32. Kee-Hong Bae & Rene M. Stulz & Hongping Tan, 2005. "Do Local Analysts Know More? A Cross-Country Study of the Performance of Local Analysts and Foreign Analysts," NBER Working Papers 11697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
  34. G. Andrew Karolyi & Rene M. Stulz, 2002. "Are Financial Assets Priced Locally or Globally?," NBER Working Papers 8994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Berger, Helge & Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2006. "Forecasting ECB monetary policy: accuracy is (still) a matter of geography," Discussion Papers 2006/11, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  36. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central bank communication and policy effectiveness," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 399-474.
  37. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
  38. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  39. Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 2007. "Disagreement and the Stock Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 109-128, Spring.
  40. Guthrie, Graeme & Wright, Julian, 2000. "Open mouth operations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 489-516, October.
  41. Gehrig, Thomas, 1993. " An Information Based Explanation of the Domestic Bias in International Equity Investment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 97-109.
  42. Gary A. S. Cook & Naresh R. Pandit & Jonathan V. Beaverstock & Peter J. Taylor & Kathy Pain, 2004. "The Clustering of Financial Services in London," ERSA conference papers ersa04p49, European Regional Science Association.
  43. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  44. Joshua D. Coval & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 1999. "Home Bias at Home: Local Equity Preference in Domestic Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2045-2073, December.
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:ecb:ecbwps:20060695. 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: (Official Publications)

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.