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Comparing Government Forecasts of the United States’ Gross Federal Debt

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  • Andrew B. Martinez

    () (George Washington University)

Abstract

This paper compares annual one-step-ahead forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of the United States‟ gross federal debt from 1984 to 2010. While comparisons of these agencies‟ forecasts have been done before, they have not focused on the debt. The paper finds that both agencies do a good job forecasting the debt except during recessions. Each agency‟s forecast lacks something that the other accounts for and an average of both out performs either individually. However, the Analysis of the President‟s Budget (APB), which includes information from both agencies, performs best.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Martinez, 2011. "Comparing Government Forecasts of the United States’ Gross Federal Debt," Working Papers 2011-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwc:wpaper:2011-002
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    File URL: https://www2.gwu.edu/~forcpgm/2011-002.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Darrel Cohen & Glenn Follette, 2003. "Forecasting exogenous fiscal variables in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-59, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Plesko, George A., 1988. "The Accuracy of Government Forecasts and Budget Projections," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(4), pages 483-501, December.
    3. David F. Hendry & Carlos Santos, 2005. "Regression Models with Data-based Indicator Variables," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(5), pages 571-595, October.
    4. Mark S. Kamlet & David C. Mowery & Tsai-Tsu Su, 1987. "Whom do you trust? An analysis of executive and congressional economic forecasts," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(3), pages 365-384.
    5. Plesko, George A., 1988. "The Accuracy of Government Forecasts and Budget Projections," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(4), pages 483-501, December.
    6. J. D. Foster & James C. Miller, 2000. "The Tyranny of Budget Forecasts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 205-215, Summer.
    7. David Hendry & Carlos Santos, 2010. "An Automatic Test of Super Exogeneity," Economics Series Working Papers 476, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. David Hendry & Grayham E. Mizon, 2001. "Forecasting in the Presence of Structural Breaks and Policy Regime Shifts," Economics Papers 2002-W12, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    9. Carlos Santos & David Hendry & Soren Johansen, 2008. "Automatic selection of indicators in a fully saturated regression," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 317-335, April.
    10. Yock Y. Chong & David F. Hendry, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 671-690.
    11. Hendry, David F., 2006. "Robustifying forecasts from equilibrium-correction systems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1-2), pages 399-426.
    12. Michael T. Belongia, 1988. "Are economic forecasts by government agencies biased? Accurate?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 15-23.
    13. Jurgen A. Doornik, 2008. "Encompassing and Automatic Model Selection," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(s1), pages 915-925, December.
    14. Søren Johansen & Bent Nielsen, 2008. "An analysis of the indicator saturation estimator as a robust regression," Discussion Papers 08-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ericsson, Neil R., 2017. "How biased are U.S. government forecasts of the federal debt?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 543-559.
    2. Gamber, Edward N. & Liebner, Jeffrey P., 2017. "Comment on “How Biased are US Government Forecasts of the Federal Debt?”," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 560-562.
    3. repec:oxf:wpaper:727 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Martinez, Andrew B., 2015. "How good are US government forecasts of the federal debt?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 312-324.

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