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Fiscal Surprises At The Fomc

Listed author(s):
  • Croushore, Dean

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

  • van Norden, Simon

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

This paper provides a detailed examination of a new set of fiscal forecasts for the U.S. assembled by Croushore and van Norden (2017) from FOMC briefing books. The data are of particular interest because (1) they afford a look at fiscal forecasts over six complete business cycles and several fiscal policy regimes, covering both peacetime and several wars, (2) the forecasts were precisely those presented to monetary policymakers, (3) they include frequently updated estimates of both actual and cyclically adjusted deficits, (4) unlike most other U.S. fiscal forecasts, they were neither partisan nor constrained by unrealistic assumptions about future fiscal policy, and (5) forecasts for other variables (GDP growth, inflation) from the same forecasters are known to compare favorably with most other available forecasts. We detail the performance of forecast federal expenditures, revenues, surpluses, and structural surpluses in terms of accuracy, bias, and efficiency. We find that (1) fiscal forecast errors can be economically large, even at relatively short forecast horizons, (2) while the accuracy of unemployment rate forecast errors improved after 1990, that of most fiscal variables deteriorated considerably, (3) there is limited evidence of forecast bias, and most of this evidence is confined to the period before 1993, (4) the forecasts appear to be efficient with respect to both the fed funds rate and CBO projections, and (5) cyclically adjusted deficit forecasts appear to be over-optimistic around both business cycle peaks and troughs.

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File URL: https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/research-and-data/publications/working-papers/2017/wp17-13.pdf?utm_campaign=WorkingPapers&utm_source=2017/06/19&utm_medium=E-mail
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 17-13.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 20 Jun 2017
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:17-13
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2016. "Real-Time Data And Fiscal Policy Analysis: A Survey Of The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 302-326, 04.
  2. S. Boragan Aruoba, 2008. "Data Revisions Are Not Well Behaved," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 319-340, 03.
  3. 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.
  4. Harvey, David I & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Tests for Forecast Encompassing," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 254-259, April.
  5. Dean Croushore, 2011. "Frontiers of Real-Time Data Analysis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 72-100, March.
  6. 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.
  7. Fred Joutz & Michael P. Clements & Herman O. Stekler, 2007. "An evaluation of the forecasts of the federal reserve: a pooled approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 121-136.
  8. Baghestani, Hamid, 2008. "Federal Reserve versus private information: Who is the best unemployment rate predictor," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 101-110.
  9. Campbell, Bryan & Ghysels, Eric, 1995. "Federal Budget Projections: A Nonparametric Assessment of Bias and Efficiency," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 17-31, February.
  10. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
  11. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1986. "Do we reject too often? : Small sample properties of tests of rational expectations models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 139-145.
  12. Campbell, Bryan & Dufour, Jean-Marie, 1991. "Over-rejections in rational expectations models : A non-parametric approach to the Mankiw-Shapiro problem," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 285-290, March.
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