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Are 'unbiased' forecasts really unbiased? Another look at the Fed forecasts

Author

Listed:
  • Tara M. Sinclair

    () (Department of Economics The George Washington University)

  • Fred Joutz

    () (Department of Economics The George Washington University)

  • Herman O. Stekler

    () (Department of Economics The George Washington University)

Abstract

This paper reconciles contradictory findings obtained from forecast evaluations: the existence of systematic errors and the failure to reject rationality in the presence of such errors. Systematic errors in one economic state may offset the opposite types of errors in the other state such that the null of rationality is not rejected. A modified test applied to the Fed forecasts shows that the forecasts were ex post biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Tara M. Sinclair & Fred Joutz & Herman O. Stekler, 2008. "Are 'unbiased' forecasts really unbiased? Another look at the Fed forecasts," Working Papers 2008-010, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwc:wpaper:2008-010
    as

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    File URL: https://www2.gwu.edu/~forcpgm/2008-010.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jansen, Dennis W. & Kishan, Ruby Pandey, 1996. "An evaluation of federal reserve forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 89-109.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 120-127, June.
    4. Victor Zarnowitz & Phillip Braun, 1993. "Twenty-two Years of the NBER-ASA Quarterly Economic Outlook Surveys: Aspects and Comparisons of Forecasting Performance," NBER Chapters,in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 11-94 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Christopher A. Sims, 2002. "The Role of Models and Probabilities in the Monetary Policy Process," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 1-62.
    6. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
    7. Karamouzis, Nicholas & Lombra, Raymond, 1989. "Federal reserve policymaking: an overview and analysis of the policy process," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 7-62, January.
    8. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "Reply to the comments on 'The state of macroeconomic forecasting'," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 503-505, December.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Jansen, Dennis W. & Kishan, Ruby P., 1999. "An Evaluation of Federal Reserve Forecasting: Reply," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 189-203, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Greenbook Forecasts; forecast evaluation; systematic errors;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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