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Do forecasters inform or reassure?


  • Konstantin A. Kholodilin
  • Boriss Siliverstovs


The paper evaluates the quality of the German national accounting data (GDP and its use-side components) as measured by the magnitude and dispersion of the forecast/ revision errors. It is demonstrated that government consumption series are the least reliable, whereas real GDP and real private consumption data are the most reliable. In addition, early forecasts of GDP, private consumption, and investment growth rates are shown to be systematically upward biased. Finally, early forecasts of all the variables seem to be no more accurate than naive forecasts based on the historical mean of the final data.

Suggested Citation

  • Konstantin A. Kholodilin & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2009. "Do forecasters inform or reassure?," KOF Working papers 09-215, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:09-215

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Gooijer, Jan G. & Klein, Andre, 1992. "On the cumulated multi-step-ahead predictions of vector autoregressive moving average processes," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 501-513, March.
    2. Ashiya, Masahiro, 2007. "Forecast accuracy of the Japanese government: Its year-ahead GDP forecast is too optimistic," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 68-85, January.
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    4. Graham Elliott & Allan Timmermann & Ivana Komunjer, 2005. "Estimation and Testing of Forecast Rationality under Flexible Loss," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1107-1125.
    5. Francis X. Diebold & Lutz Kilian, 2001. "Measuring predictability: theory and macroeconomic applications," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(6), pages 657-669.
    6. Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H & Wright, Jonathan H, 2005. "News and Noise in G-7 GDP Announcements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 403-419, June.
    7. Lahiri, Kajal & Sheng, Xuguang, 2010. "Learning and heterogeneity in GDP and inflation forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 265-292, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Loungani, Prakash, 2001. "How accurate are private sector forecasts? Cross-country evidence from consensus forecasts of output growth," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 419-432.
    10. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jan Jacobs & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2004. "Do Ifo Indicators Help Explain Revisions in German Industrial Production?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1205, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. McNees, Stephen K., 1989. "Forecasts and actuals: The trade-off between timeliness and accuracy," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 409-416.
    13. Knetsch, Thomas A. & Reimers, Hans-Eggert, 2006. "How to treat benchmark revisions? The case of German production and orders statistics," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,38, Deutsche Bundesbank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katharina Glass & Ulrich Fritsche, 2015. "Real-time Macroeconomic Data and Uncertainty," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201406, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.

    More about this item


    Quality of statistical data; real-time data; signal-to-noise ratio; forecasts; revisions;

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