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A Textual Analysis of the Bank of England Growth Forecasts

Author

Listed:
  • Jacob T. Jones

    (The George Washington University)

  • Tara M. Sinclair

    () (The George Washington University)

  • Herman O. Stekler

    (The George Washington University)

Abstract

The Bank of England publishes a quarterly Inflation Report (IR) that provides numerical forecasts and text discussion of their assessment of the UK economy. Previous research has evaluated the quantitative forecasts included in the IR, but we focus on the qualitative discussion of output growth. We use a textual analysis procedure to convert the qualitative assessments made by the Bank into quantitative scores. We compare these scores to real-time output growth data as well as to the corresponding quantitative projections published by the Bank. We find that overall developments in the UK economy were accurately represented in the text of the IR. Although the Bank failed to forecast the onset of the Great Recession ahead of time, they did perceive underlying weakness in the economy prior to the downturn, which was more clearly communicated in the text than in the quantitative forecasts.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob T. Jones & Tara M. Sinclair & Herman O. Stekler, 2018. "A Textual Analysis of the Bank of England Growth Forecasts," Working Papers 2018-005, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting, revised May 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwc:wpaper:2018-005
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    File URL: https://www2.gwu.edu/~forcpgm/2018-005.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
    2. Michael P. Clements, 2004. "Evaluating the Bank of England Density Forecasts of Inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 844-866, October.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:taf:jecmet:v:25:y:2018:i:2:p:117-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Groen, Jan J.J. & Kapetanios, George & Price, Simon, 2009. "A real time evaluation of Bank of England forecasts of inflation and growth," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 74-80.
    6. Isiklar, Gultekin & Lahiri, Kajal, 2007. "How far ahead can we forecast? Evidence from cross-country surveys," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 167-187.
    7. 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.
    8. Kenneth F. Wallis, 2004. "An Assessment of Bank of England and National Institute Inflation Forecast Uncertainties," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 189(1), pages 64-71, July.
    9. Dean Croushore, 2011. "Frontiers of Real-Time Data Analysis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 72-100, March.
    10. Faust, Jon & Wright, Jonathan H., 2008. "Efficient forecast tests for conditional policy forecasts," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 293-303, October.
    11. Stekler, Herman & Symington, Hilary, 2016. "Evaluating qualitative forecasts: The FOMC minutes, 2006–2010," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 559-570.
    12. Ericsson, Neil R., 2016. "Eliciting GDP forecasts from the FOMC’s minutes around the financial crisis," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 571-583.
    13. Gabriel Mathy & Herman Stekler, 2018. "Was the deflation of the depression anticipated? An inference using real-time data," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(2), pages 117-125, April.
    14. Robert Goldfarb & H. O. Stekler & Joel David, 2005. "Methodological issues in forecasting: Insights from the egregious business forecast errors of late 1930," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 517-542.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Macroeconomic Forecast Evaluation; Qualitative Forecasting; Great Recession;

    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
    • 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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