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Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts: A Review of Some Recent Developments

Author

Listed:
  • Philip Hans Franses

    (Econometric Institute, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Michael McAleer

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands, and Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University)

  • Rianne Legerstee

    (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute)

Abstract

Macroeconomic forecasts are frequently produced, widely published, intensively discussed and comprehensively used. The formal evaluation of such forecasts has a long research history. Recently, a new angle to the evaluation of forecasts has been addressed, and in this review we analyse some recent developments from that perspective. The literature on forecast evaluation predominantly assumes that macroeconomic forecasts are generated from econometric models. In practice, however, most macroeconomic forecasts, such as those from the IMF, World Bank, OECD, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the ECB, are typically based on econometric model forecasts jointly with human intuition. This seemingly inevitable combination renders most of these forecasts biased and, as such, their evaluation becomes non-standard. In this review, we consider the evaluation of two forecasts in which: (i) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct econometric models; (ii) one forecast is generated from an econometric model and the other is obtained as a combination of a model and intuition; and (iii) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct (but unknown) combinations of different models and intuition. It is shown that alternative tools are needed to compare and evaluate the forecasts in each of these three situations. These alternative techniques are illustrated by comparing the forecasts from the (econometric) Staff of the Federal Reserve Board and the FOMC on inflation, unemployment and real GDP growth. It is shown that the FOMC does not forecast significantly better than the Staff, and that the intuition of the FOMC does not add significantly in forecasting the actual values of the economic fundamentals. This would seem to belie the purported expertise of the FOMC.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Hans Franses & Michael McAleer & Rianne Legerstee, 2011. "Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts: A Review of Some Recent Developments," KIER Working Papers 771, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:kyo:wpaper:771
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    Cited by:

    1. Constantin ANGHELACHE & Cristina SACALA, 2016. "Theoretical model used for macroeconomic analysis," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(7), pages 57-60, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Macroeconomic forecasts; econometric models; human intuition; biased forecasts; forecast performance; forecast evaluation; forecast comparison.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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