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FOMC forecasts: is all the information in the central tendency?

  • William T. Gavin

Federal Reserve policymakers began reporting their economic forecasts to Congress in 1979. These forecasts are important because they indicate what the Federal Open Market Committee members think will be the likely consequence of their policies. The Fed reports both the range (high and low) of the individual policymaker’s forecasts and a truncated central tendency. The central tendency range omits outliers from both the top and the bottom of the full range. The author finds, generally, that the forecasts derived from the full range are at least as good as those derived from the central tendency and, in a few cases, significantly better.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2003-002.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Publication status: Published in Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, May 01, 2003, 85(3), pp. 27-46
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2003-002
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  1. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 6126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dean Croushore & Charles L. Evans, 2003. "Data revisions and the identification of monetary policy shocks," Working Papers 03-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jon Faust & John H. Rogers & Jonathan H. Wright, 2000. "News and noise in G-7 GDP announcements," International Finance Discussion Papers 690, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Scotese, Carol A., 1994. "Forecast smoothing and the optimal under-utilization of information at the federal reserve," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 653-670.
  6. Stephen K. McNees, 1992. "How large are economic forecast errors?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 25-42.
  7. Holden, K & Peel, D A, 1990. "On Testing for Unbiasedness and Efficiency of Forecasts," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 58(2), pages 120-27, June.
  8. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  9. Victor Zarnowitz & Phillip Braun, 1992. "Twenty-two Years of the NBER-ASA Quarterly Economic Outlook Surveys: Aspects and Comparisons of Forecasting Performance," NBER Working Papers 3965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Scott Schuh, 2001. "An evaluation of recent macroeconomic forecast errors," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 35-56.
  11. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  12. Joutz, Fred & Stekler, H. O., 2000. "An evaluation of the predictions of the Federal Reserve," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 17-38.
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