IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecm/nasm04/601.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Biases in Macroeconomic Forecasts: Irrationality or Asymmetric Loss?

Author

Listed:
  • Allan Timmermann
  • Graham Elliott
  • Ivana Komunjer

Abstract

Survey data on expectations frequently find evidence that forecasts are biased, rejecting the joint hypothesis of rational expectations and symmetric loss. While the literature has attempted to explain this bias through forecasters' strategic behavior, we propose a simpler explanation based on asymmetric loss. We establish that existing rationality tests are not robust to even small deviations from symmetry and hence have little ability to tell whether the forecaster is irrational or the loss function is asymmetric. We propose new and more general methods for testing forecast rationality jointly with flexible families of loss functions that embed quadratic loss as a special case. An empirical application to survey data on forecasts of nominal output growth shows strong evidence against rationality and symmetric loss. There is considerably weaker evidence against rationality once asymmetric loss is permitted

Suggested Citation

  • Allan Timmermann & Graham Elliott & Ivana Komunjer, 2004. "Biases in Macroeconomic Forecasts: Irrationality or Asymmetric Loss?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 601, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:601
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://repec.org/esNASM04/up.6440.1075609439.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    3. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1983. "Are Market Forecasts Rational?," NBER Chapters, in: A Rational Expectations Approach to Macroeconometrics: Testing Policy Ineffectiveness and Efficient-Markets Models, pages 59-75, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. West, Kenneth D, 1996. "Asymptotic Inference about Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1067-1084, September.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2004. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 209-270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:cup:etheor:v:13:y:1997:i:6:p:808-17 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Fama, Eugene F, 1975. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 269-282, June.
    8. Christoffersen, Peter F. & Diebold, Francis X., 1997. "Optimal Prediction Under Asymmetric Loss," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 808-817, December.
    9. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 1998. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," FMG Discussion Papers dp306, Financial Markets Group.
    10. Elliott, Graham & Komunjer, Ivana & Timmermann, Allan G, 2003. "Estimating Loss Function Parameters," CEPR Discussion Papers 3821, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Batchelor, Roy & Dua, Pami, 1991. "Blue Chip Rationality Tests," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(4), pages 692-705, November.
    12. Lamont, Owen A., 2002. "Macroeconomic forecasts and microeconomic forecasters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 265-280, July.
    13. 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.
    14. West, Kenneth D & McCracken, Michael W, 1998. "Regression-Based Tests of Predictive Ability," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 817-840, November.
    15. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-735, September.
    16. Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990. "Herd Behavior and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-479, June.
    17. Batchelor, Roy & Peel, David A., 1998. "Rationality testing under asymmetric loss," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 49-54, October.
    18. Kajal Lahiri & Antony Davies & Xuguang Sheng, 2010. "Analyzing Three-Dimensional Panel Data of Forecasts," Discussion Papers 10-07, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    19. Brown, Bryan W & Maital, Shlomo, 1981. "What Do Economists Know? An Empirical Study of Experts' Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 491-504, March.
    20. Chadha, J.S. & Schellekens, P., 1998. "Utility functions for central bankers: the not so drastic quadratic," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9818, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    21. Trueman, Brett, 1994. "Analyst Forecasts and Herding Behavior," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 97-124.
    22. Tilman Ehrbeck & Robert Waldmann, 1996. "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency versus Behavioral Explanations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 21-40.
    23. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
    24. Zellner, Arnold, 1986. "Biased predictors, rationality and the evaluation of forecasts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 45-48.
    25. Mc Cracken, Michael W., 2000. "Robust out-of-sample inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 195-223, December.
    26. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    27. Jagjit Chadha & Philip Schellekens, 1998. "Utility Functions For Central Bankers: The Not So Drastic Quadratic," FMG Discussion Papers dp308, Financial Markets Group.
    28. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, Paul, 1986. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780122951831 edited by Shell, Karl, December.
    29. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Macroeconomic Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 293-311, October.
    30. Bonham, Carl & Cohen, Richard, 1995. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 284-289, March.
    31. Leitch, Gordon & Tanner, J Ernest, 1991. "Economic Forecast Evaluation: Profits versus the Conventional Error Measures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 580-590, June.
    32. Krane, Spencer D, 1994. "The Distinction between Inventory Holding and Stockout Costs: Implications for Target Inventories, Asymmetric Adjustment, and the Effect of Aggregation on Production Smoothing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 117-136, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Elliott, Graham & Komunjer, Ivana & Timmermann, Allan G, 2003. "Estimating Loss Function Parameters," CEPR Discussion Papers 3821, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Capistrán, Carlos, 2008. "Bias in Federal Reserve inflation forecasts: Is the Federal Reserve irrational or just cautious?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1415-1427, November.
    3. Ivana Komunjer & Michael T. Owyang, 2012. "Multivariate Forecast Evaluation and Rationality Testing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1066-1080, November.
    4. Carl Bonham & Richard Cohen & Shigeyuki Abe, 2006. "The Rationality and Heterogeneity of Survey Forecasts of the Yen-Dollar Exchange Rate: A Reexamination," Working Papers 200611, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    5. Alexander, Marcus & Christakis, Nicholas A., 2008. "Bias and asymmetric loss in expert forecasts: A study of physician prognostic behavior with respect to patient survival," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1095-1108, July.
    6. Graham Elliott & Allan Timmermann, 2016. "Economic Forecasting," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10740.
    7. Francis X. Diebold & Jose A. Lopez, 1995. "Forecast evaluation and combination," Research Paper 9525, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    8. Jordi Pons-Novell, 2003. "Strategic bias, herding behaviour and economic forecasts," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 67-77.
    9. repec:lan:wpaper:470 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. West, Kenneth D., 2006. "Forecast Evaluation," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, in: G. Elliott & C. Granger & A. Timmermann (ed.), Handbook of Economic Forecasting, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 99-134, Elsevier.
    11. Patton, Andrew J & Timmermann, Allan G, 2003. "Properties of Optimal Forecasts," CEPR Discussion Papers 4037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Ball, Laurence & Croushore, Dean, 2003. "Expectations and the Effects of Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 473-484, August.
    13. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter Norman, 2006. "The strategy of professional forecasting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 441-466, August.
    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.
    15. Mitchell, Karlyn & Pearce, Douglas K., 2007. "Professional forecasts of interest rates and exchange rates: Evidence from the Wall Street Journal's panel of economists," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 840-854, December.
    16. Carlos Capistrán, 2007. "Optimality Tests for Multi-Horizon Forecasts," Working Papers 2007-14, Banco de México.
    17. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
    18. Richard H. Clarida & Lucio Sarno & Mark P. Taylor & Giorgio Valente, 2006. "The Role of Asymmetries and Regime Shifts in the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1193-1224, May.
    19. Corradi, Valentina & Swanson, Norman R., 2004. "Some recent developments in predictive accuracy testing with nested models and (generic) nonlinear alternatives," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 185-199.
    20. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2006. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1545-1578, November.
    21. Masahiro Ashiya, 2009. "Strategic bias and professional affiliations of macroeconomic forecasters," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 120-130.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rationality testing; forecasting; asymmetric loss;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:ecm:nasm04:601. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    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.