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Has the Accuracy of German Macroeconomic Forecasts Improved?

Author

Listed:
  • Ullrich Heilemann

    (Univeristy of Leipzig)

  • Herman O. Stekler

    (Department of Economics The George Washington University)

Abstract

This paper asks whether the accuracy of German macroeconomic forecasts has improved over time. We examine one-year-ahead forecasts of rates of real GDP growth and inflation for the years 1967 to 2010 by three major German forecasters and the OECD. We find that overall error levels are high but not much different from those for the U.S. and U.K. In the 1980s and 1990s accuracy improved somewhat, but has now returned to its 1970s level, indicating that it reflects the variance of growth and inflation. Benchmark comparisons of these predictions with ex post forecasts of a macroecono-metric model indicate that accuracy can be improved but it will be difficult to achieve.

Suggested Citation

  • Ullrich Heilemann & Herman O. Stekler, 2010. "Has the Accuracy of German Macroeconomic Forecasts Improved?," Working Papers 2010-001, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting, revised Feb 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwc:wpaper:2010-001
    as

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    File URL: https://www2.gwu.edu/~forcpgm/2010-001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stekler, H. O., 1991. "Macroeconomic forecast evaluation techniques," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 375-384, November.
    2. Fintzen, David & Stekler, H. O., 1999. "Why did forecasters fail to predict the 1990 recession?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 309-323, July.
    3. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
    4. Spivey, W Allen, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Comment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 19-22, January.
    5. Granger, C W J, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Comment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-17, January.
    6. Francis X. Diebold & Jose A. Lopez, 1995. "Forecast evaluation and combination," Research Paper 9525, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Litterman, Robert B, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Comment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 17-19, January.
    8. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Oller, Lars-Erik & Barot, Bharat, 2000. "The accuracy of European growth and inflation forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 293-315.
    11. McNees, Stephen K., 1986. "Forecasting accuracy of alternative techniques: A comparison of US macroeconomic forecasts, with comment : Stephen K. McNees, with comment, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics 4 (1986) 5-23," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 497-498.
    12. McNees, Stephen K, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, January.
    13. Francis X. Diebold, 1998. "The Past, Present, and Future of Macroeconomic Forecasting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 175-192, Spring.
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    15. Herman O. Stekler, 2008. "What Do We Know About G-7 Macro Forecasts?," Working Papers 2008-009, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    16. Merton, Robert C, 1981. "On Market Timing and Investment Performance. I. An Equilibrium Theory of Value for Market Forecasts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 363-406, July.
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    18. repec:gwc:wpaper:2008-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Ash, J. C. K. & Smyth, D. J. & Heravi, S. M., 1993. "The accuracy of OECD forecasts for Canada and the United States," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 179-210.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dopke, Jorg & Fritsche, Ulrich, 2006. "When do forecasters disagree? An assessment of German growth and inflation forecast dispersion," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 125-135.
    2. Herman O. Stekler, 2008. "What Do We Know About G-7 Macro Forecasts?," Working Papers 2008-009, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    3. Ullrich Heilemann & Herman Stekler, 2010. "Perspectives on Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts," Working Papers 2010-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    4. Heilemann Ullrich, 2004. "Besser geht’s nicht – Genauigkeitsgrenzen von Konjunkturprognosen / As Good as it Gets – Limits of Accuracy of Macroeconomic Short Term Forecasts," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 224(1-2), pages 51-64, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forecast evaluations; macroeconomic forecasting; accuracy limits;

    JEL classification:

    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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