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Fiscal sustainability and the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts: do supranational forecasts rather than government forecasts make a difference?

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  • Carlos Fonseca Marinheiro

    () (GEMF/Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal)

Abstract

Credible fiscal plans that aim at restoring fiscal sustainability will be essential to counter the present increase in debt levels all across Europe. The macroeconomic scenario of such plans will be crucial. This paper assesses whether there is any advantage in delegating (part of) such power to supra-national forecasts. The evidence on the relative performance of the European Commission’s (EC) growth forecast is rather mixed, with considerable variation at the country level. Some national government forecasts (France, Italy, and Portugal) perform worse in terms of descriptive statistics than the EC forecast for all forecast horizons. For the year ahead the EC growth forecast is better than the official forecasts for almost ¾ of the EU-15 countries. All in all, since the EC forecast appears to be a good benchmark, in order to reduce the (optimistic) forecast bias, national governments could be forced to justify any large (optimistic) deviation from this benchmark when presenting their respective national stability and growth programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Fonseca Marinheiro, 2010. "Fiscal sustainability and the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts: do supranational forecasts rather than government forecasts make a difference?," GEMF Working Papers 2010-07, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
  • Handle: RePEc:gmf:wpaper:2010-07
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    File URL: http://gemf.fe.uc.pt/workingpapers/pdf/2010/gemf_2010-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "A Lesson from the South for Fiscal Policy in the US and Other Advanced Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 53(3), pages 407-430, September.
    2. António Afonso & Jorge Silva, 2012. "The Fiscal Forecasting Track Record of the European Commission and Portugal," Working Papers Department of Economics 2012/37, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    3. Merola, Rossana & Pérez, Javier J., 2013. "Fiscal forecast errors: Governments versus independent agencies?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 285-299.
    4. Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "Over-optimism in forecasts by official budget agencies and its implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 536-562.
    5. Jeffrey Frankel, 2013. "A Solution to Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 9, pages 323-391 Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Rossana Merola & Javier J. Pérez, 2012. "Fiscal forecast errors: governments vs independent agencies?," Working Papers 1233, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    7. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2011. "A Solution to Overoptimistic Forecasts and Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Working Paper Series 11-012, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    8. William Easterly, 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Debt Crises, and Economic Growth," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Ricardo J. Caballero & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (ed.), Economic Policies in Emerging-Market Economies Festschrift in Honor of Vittorio Corbo, edition 1, volume 21, chapter 8, pages 139-154 Central Bank of Chile.
    9. António Afonso & Jorge Silva, 2015. "The track record of fiscal forecasting in the EU," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(2), pages 1318-1329.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sustainability of public debt; Fiscal policy; Stability and Growth Pact; Fiscal forecasting; forecast evaluation; real-time data.;

    JEL classification:

    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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