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A New Approach For Evaluating Economic Forecasts

Author

Listed:
  • Tara Sinclair

    () (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • Herman O. Stekler

    () (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University, Department of Economics at the George Washington University)

  • Warren Carnow

    () (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University, Department of Economics at the George Washington University)

Abstract

This paper presents a new approach to evaluating multiple economic forecasts. In the past, evaluations have focused on the forecasts of individual variables. However, many macroeconomic variables are forecast at the same time and are used together to describe the state of the economy. It is, therefore, appropriate to examine those forecasts jointly. This specific approach is based on the Sinclair and Stekler (forthcoming) analysis of data revisions. The main contributions of this paper are (1) the application of this technique to the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) and (2) showing that there is a bias that is associated with the stages of the business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Tara Sinclair & Herman O. Stekler & Warren Carnow, 2012. "A New Approach For Evaluating Economic Forecasts," Working Papers 2012-2, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2012-2
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    File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/Sinclair_IIEPWP2012-02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Francis X. Diebold & Todd A. Gunther & Anthony S. Tay, "undated". "Evaluating Density Forecasts," CARESS Working Papres 97-18, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
    2. Jacob A. Mincer & Victor Zarnowitz, 1969. "The Evaluation of Economic Forecasts," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Forecasts and Expectations: Analysis of Forecasting Behavior and Performance, pages 3-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Sinclair, Tara M. & Joutz, Fred & Stekler, H.O., 2010. "Can the Fed predict the state of the economy?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 28-32, July.
    6. Lahiri, Kajal & Teigland, Christie, 1987. "On the normality of probability distributions of inflation and GNP forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 269-279.
    7. 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.
    8. Baghestani, Hamid, 1994. "Evaluating multiperiod survey forecasts of real net exports," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 267-272.
    9. 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.
    10. Sinclair, Tara M. & Gamber, Edward N. & Stekler, Herman & Reid, Elizabeth, 2012. "Jointly evaluating the Federal Reserve’s forecasts of GDP growth and inflation," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 309-314.
    11. Tara Sinclair & H. O. Stekler & L. Kitzinger, 2010. "Directional forecasts of GDP and inflation: a joint evaluation with an application to Federal Reserve predictions," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(18), pages 2289-2297.
    12. Sinclair, Tara M. & Stekler, H.O. & Carnow, Warren, 2015. "Evaluating a vector of the Fed’s forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 157-164.
    13. Fred Joutz & Michael P. Clements & Herman O. Stekler, 2007. "An evaluation of the forecasts of the federal reserve: a pooled approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 121-136.
    14. David L. Reifschneider & Peter Tulip, 2007. "Gauging the uncertainty of the economic outlook from historical forecasting errors," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-60, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Harvey, David I. & Newbold, Paul, 2003. "The non-normality of some macroeconomic forecast errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 635-653.
    16. Chanont Banternghansa & Michael W. McCracken, 2009. "Forecast disagreement among FOMC members," Working Papers 2009-059, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    17. Baghestani, Hamid, 2006. "An evaluation of the professional forecasts of U.S. long-term interest rates," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 177-191.
    18. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ball, Laurence & Jalles, João Tovar & Loungani, Prakash, 2015. "Do forecasters believe in Okun’s Law? An assessment of unemployment and output forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 176-184.
    2. 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.
    3. Stekler, Herman & Symington, Hilary, 2016. "Evaluating qualitative forecasts: The FOMC minutes, 2006–2010," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 559-570.
    4. Hendry, David F. & Martinez, Andrew B., 2017. "Evaluating multi-step system forecasts with relatively few forecast-error observations," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 359-372.
    5. Sinclair, Tara M. & Stekler, H.O. & Carnow, Warren, 2015. "Evaluating a vector of the Fed’s forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 157-164.
    6. Sergey V. Smirnov & Daria A. Avdeeva, 2016. "Wishful Bias in Predicting Us Recessions: Indirect Evidence," HSE Working papers WP BRP 135/EC/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    7. Herman O. Stekler & Hilary Symington, 2014. "How Did The Fomc View The Great Recession As It Was Happening?: Evaluating The Minutes From Fomc Meetings, 2006-2010," Working Papers 2014-005, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    8. Sergey V. Smirnov, 2014. "Predicting US Recessions: Does a Wishful Bias Exist?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 77/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    9. Döhrn, Roland, 2015. "Der Prognostiker des Jahres: Ein Zufallsergebnis? Möglichkeiten einer mehrdimensionalen Evaluierung von Konjunkturprognosen," IBES Diskussionsbeiträge 208, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of Business and Economic Studie (IBES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forecast Evaluation; Survey of Professional Forecasts; Business Cycle; Mahalanobis Distance;

    JEL classification:

    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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