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Forecasting and Backcasting: Predicting the Impact of Events on the Future


  • Ebert, Jane E. J.
  • Gilbert, Daniel Todd
  • Wilson, Timothy D.


In many choices they make—-for example, choosing between a movie and a play or deciding whether to attend a sports game shortly before a birthday party—-consumers are guided by how they expect an event will make them feel. They may predict their feelings by forecasting (imagining their feelings when the impacting event occurs, then considering how those feelings might change over time) or by backcasting (imagining their feelings in a future period, then considering how those feelings might be different were the impacting event to happen). Four studies show that backcasters expect events to have a greater hedonic impact than do forecasters, largely because they think more about the impacting event. The studies also reveal that backcasters consider other information that forecasters tend to ignore.

Suggested Citation

  • Ebert, Jane E. J. & Gilbert, Daniel Todd & Wilson, Timothy D., 2009. "Forecasting and Backcasting: Predicting the Impact of Events on the Future," Scholarly Articles 3549374, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3549374

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Haugtvedt, Curtis P & Wegener, Duane T, 1994. " Message Order Effects in Persuasion: An Attitude Strength Perspective," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 205-218, June.
    2. Gurhan-Canli, Zeynep, 2003. " The Effect of Expected Variability of Product Quality and Attribute Uniqueness on Family Brand Evaluations," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(1), pages 105-114, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ashwani Monga & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Michael Tsiros & Mona Srivastava, 2012. "How buyers forecast: Buyer–seller relationship as a boundary condition of the impact bias," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 31-45, March.

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