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Macroeconomic Derivatives: An Initial Analysis of Market-Based Macro Forecasts, Uncertainty, and Risk

  • Refet Gurkaynak
  • Justin Wolfers

In September 2002, a new market in %u201CEconomic Derivatives%u201D was launched allowing traders to take positions on future values of several macroeconomic data releases. We provide an initial analysis of the prices of these options. We find that market-based measures of expectations are similar to survey-based forecasts although the market-based measures somewhat more accurately predict financial market responses to surprises in data. These markets also provide implied probabilities of the full range of specific outcomes, allowing us to measure uncertainty, assess its driving forces, and compare this measure of uncertainty with the dispersion of point-estimates among individual forecasters (a measure of disagreement). We also assess the accuracy of market-generated probability density forecasts. A consistent theme is that few of the behavioral anomalies present in surveys of professional forecasts survive in equilibrium, and that these markets are remarkably well calibrated. Finally we assess the role of risk, finding little evidence that risk-aversion drives a wedge between market prices and probabilities in this market.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11929.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Frankel, Jeffrey A. and Christopher A. Pissarides (eds.) NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2005 (NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics Series). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, July 31, 2007.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11929
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  1. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-89, June.
  2. Victor Zarnowitz & Louis A. Lambros, 1983. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," NBER Working Papers 1171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Working Papers 9796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Francis X. Diebold & Jinyong Hahn & Anthony S. Tay, 1999. "Multivariate Density Forecast Evaluation And Calibration In Financial Risk Management: High-Frequency Returns On Foreign Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 661-673, November.
  5. Jackwerth, Jens Carsten, 2000. "Recovering Risk Aversion from Option Prices and Realized Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 433-51.
  6. Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2004. "Prediction Markets," Research Papers 1854, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  7. Jackwerth, Jens Carsten & Rubinstein, Mark, 1996. " Recovering Probability Distributions from Option Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1611-32, December.
  8. Diebold, Francis X & Gunther, Todd A & Tay, Anthony S, 1998. "Evaluating Density Forecasts with Applications to Financial Risk Management," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 863-83, November.
  9. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Interpreting prediction market prices as probabilities," Working Paper Series 2006-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Zarnowitz, Victor & Lambros, Louis A, 1987. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 591-621, June.
  11. Francis X. Diebold & Anthony S. Tay & Kenneth F. Wallis, 1998. "Evaluating Density Forecasts of Inflation: The Survey of Professional Forecasters," Working Papers 98-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  12. Berkowitz, Jeremy, 2001. "Testing Density Forecasts, with Applications to Risk Management," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 465-74, October.
  13. repec:reg:rpubli:259 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Constantinides, George M, 1982. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and without Demand Aggregation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 253-67, April.
  15. Ait-Sahalia, Yacine & Lo, Andrew W., 2000. "Nonparametric risk management and implied risk aversion," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 9-51.
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