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

  • 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)

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.

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Paper provided by The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting in its series Working Papers with number 2008-010.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gwc:wpaper:2008-010
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  1. 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.
  2. Karamouzis, N. & Lombra, R., 1989. "Federal Reserve Policymaking: An Overview And Analisys Of The Policy Process," Papers 8-88-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
  9. Karamouzis, N. & Lombra, R., 1988. "Federal Reserve Policy Making: An Overview And Analysis Of The Policy Process," Papers 0-88-8, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  10. Jansen, Dennis W. & Kishan, Ruby Pandey, 1996. "An evaluation of federal reserve forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 89-109.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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