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Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts using a Large Realtime Dataset

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  • Jon Faust
  • Jonathan H. Wright

Abstract

Many recent papers have found that atheoretical forecasting methods using many predictors give better predictions for key macroeconomic variables than various small-model methods. The practical relevance of these results is open to question, however, because these papers generally use ex post revised data not available to forecasters and because no comparison is made to best actual practice. We provide some evidence on both of these points using a new large dataset of vintage data synchronized with the Fed's Greenbook forecast. This dataset consists of a large number of variables, as observed at the time of each Greenbook forecast since 1979. Thus, we can compare real-time large dataset predictions to both simple univariate methods and to the Greenbook forecast. For inflation we find that univariate methods are dominated by the best atheoretical large dataset methods and that these, in turn, are dominated by Greenbook. For GDP growth, in contrast, we find that once one takes account of Greenbook's advantage in evaluating the current state of the economy, neither large dataset methods nor the Greenbook process offers much advantage over a univariate autoregressive forecast.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon Faust & Jonathan H. Wright, 2007. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts using a Large Realtime Dataset," NBER Working Papers 13397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13397
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    Cited by:

    1. Rossi, Barbara, 2013. "Advances in Forecasting under Instability," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    2. Helge Berger & Pär Österholm, 2011. "Does Money matter for U.S. Inflation? Evidence from Bayesian VARs," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(3), pages 531-550, September.
    3. Maik H. Wolters, 2015. "Evaluating Point and Density Forecasts of DSGE Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 74-96, January.
    4. Andres Fernandez & Norman R. Swanson, 2009. "Real-time datasets really do make a difference: definitional change, data release, and forecasting," Working Papers 09-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. Francesco Ravazzolo & Philip Rothman, 2013. "Oil and U.S. GDP: A Real‐Time Out‐of‐Sample Examination," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(2-3), pages 449-463, March.
    6. Faust, Jon & Gupta, Abhishek, 2010. "Posterior Predictive Analysis for Evaluating DSGE Models," MPRA Paper 26721, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Gamber, Edward N. & Smith, Julie K. & McNamara, Dylan C., 2014. "Where is the Fed in the distribution of forecasters?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 296-312.
    8. Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2010. "A comparison of forecast performance between Federal Reserve staff forecasts, simple reduced-form models, and a DSGE model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 720-754.
    9. Emil Stavrev & Helge Berger, 2012. "The information content of money in forecasting euro area inflation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(31), pages 4055-4072, November.
    10. Gamber, Edward N. & Smith, Julie K., 2009. "Are the Fed's inflation forecasts still superior to the private sector's?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 240-251, June.
    11. Andrew J. Patton & Allan Timmermann, 2011. "Forecast Rationality Tests Based on Multi-Horizon Bounds," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 1-17, June.
    12. Jana Eklund & George Kapetanios & Simon Price, 2013. "Robust Forecast Methods and Monitoring during Structural Change," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 81, pages 3-27, October.
    13. Mazumder, Sandeep, 2011. "Cost-based Phillips Curve forecasts of inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 553-567.
    14. Kishor N. Kundan, 2010. "The Superiority of Greenbook Forecasts and the Role of Recessions," NBP Working Papers 74, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    15. João Valle e Azevedo, 2011. "Rational vs. professional forecasts," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles and Banco de Portugal Economic Studies, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    16. Liebermann, Joelle, 2010. "Real-time nowcasting of GDP: Factor model versus professional forecasters," MPRA Paper 28819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex, 2008. "Monetary Policy Evaluation in Real Time: Forward-Looking Taylor Rules Without Forward-Looking Data," MPRA Paper 11352, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Jonas Dovern & Ulrich Fritsche & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Disagreement Among Forecasters in G7 Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1081-1096, November.
    19. Konchitchki, Yaniv & Patatoukas, Panos N., 2014. "Accounting earnings and gross domestic product," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 76-88.
    20. Volker Wieland & Maik Wolters, 2011. "The diversity of forecasts from macroeconomic models of the US economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 47(2), pages 247-292, June.
    21. Tom Stark, 2010. "Realistic evaluation of real-time forecasts in the Survey of Professional Forecasters," Research Rap Special Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue May.
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    23. Paul Hubert, 2010. "Monetary Policy, Imperfect Information and the Expectations Channel," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1u, Sciences Po.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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