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Learning to Forecast the Hard Way—Evidence from German Reunification

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  • Thomas P. Triebs
  • Justin Tumlinson

Abstract

Do firms learn to forecast future business conditions after structural changes to the economy? How long does it take? We exploit German Reunification as a natural experiment, where Eastern are treated with ignorance about the distribution of market states, to test Bayesian learning. As predicted, Eastern firms initially forecast future business conditions worse than Western ones, but this gap gradually closes over a decade following Reunification. The slow convergence stems from differences in forward expectations rather than realized market conditions. These results warn of costly and drawn out adjustments to regime changes, as the trade wars, COVID19 and Brexit.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas P. Triebs & Justin Tumlinson, 2013. "Learning to Forecast the Hard Way—Evidence from German Reunification," NBER Working Papers 19209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19209
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
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    3. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Gold, Robert & Heblich, Stephan, 2012. "The shadows of the socialist past: Lack of self-reliance hinders entrepreneurship," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 485-497.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goldfayn-Frank, Olga & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2018. "How do consumers adapt to a new environment in their economic forecasting? Evidence from the German reunification," IMFS Working Paper Series 129, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    2. Goldfayn-Frank, Olga & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2019. "How Do Consumers Adapt to a New Environment in their economic forecasting? Evidence from the German Reunification," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203668, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Massenot, Baptiste & Pettinicchi, Yuri, 2018. "Can firms see into the future? Survey evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 66-79.
    4. Buchheim, Lukas & Link, Sebastian, 2017. "The Effect of Disaggregate Information on the Expectation Formation of Firms," Discussion Papers in Economics 41214, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N64 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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