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Reporting biases and survey results: evidence from European professional forecasters

  • García, Juan Angel
  • Manzanares, Andrés
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    Using data from the ECB's Survey of Professional Forecasters, we investigate the reporting practices of survey participants by comparing their point predictions and the mean/median/mode of their probability forecasts. We find that the individual point predictions, on average, tend to be biased towards favourable outcomes: they suggest too high growth and too low inflation rates. Most importantly, for each survey round, the aggregate survey results based on the average of the individual point predictions are also biased. These findings cast doubt on combined survey measures that average individual point predictions. Survey results based on probability forecasts are more reliable. JEL Classification: C42, E27, E47

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    File URL: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp836.pdf
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    Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0836.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20070836
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    1. Lahiri, Kajal & Teigland, Christie & Zaporowski, Mark, 1988. "Interest Rates and the Subjective Probability Distribution of Inflation Forecasts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 233-48, May.
    2. Patton, Andrew J. & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Testing Forecast Optimality Under Unknown Loss," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 1172-1184, December.
    3. Boero,Gianna & Smith,Jeremy & Wallis,Kenneth F, 2006. "Uncertainty and disagreement in economic prediction : the Bank of England Survey of External Forecasters," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 811, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Ehrbeck, Tilman & Waldmann, Robert, 1996. "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency versus Behavioral Explanations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 21-40, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sorensen, 2001. "The Strategy of Professional Forecasting," Discussion Papers 01-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    7. Robert Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2006. "The relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty: evidence from matched point and density forecasts," Staff Reports 253, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    8. Joseph Engelberg & Charles F. Manski & Jared Williams, 2006. "Comparing the Point Predictions and Subjective Probability Distributions of Professional Forecasters," NBER Working Papers 11978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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