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Measuring Forecast Uncertainty by Disagreement: The Missing Link

  • Kajal Lahiri
  • Xuguang Sheng

Using a standard decomposition of forecasts errors into common and idiosyncratic shocks, we show that aggregate forecast uncertainty can be expressed as the disagreement among the forecasters plus the perceived variability of future aggregate shocks. Thus, the reliability of disagreement as a proxy for uncertainty will be determined by the stability of the forecasting environment, and the length of the forecast horizon. Using density forecasts from the Survey of Professional Forecasters, we find direct evidence in support of our hypothesis. Our results support the use of GARCH-type models, rather than the ex post squared errors in consensus forecasts, to estimate the ex ante variability of aggregate shocks as a component of aggregate uncertainty.

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Paper provided by University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-06.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:09-06
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
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Fax: (518) 442-4736

Order Information: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
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  9. Kajal Lahiri & Fushang Liu, 2006. "Modeling Multi-Period Inflation Uncertainty Using a Panel of Density Forcasts," Discussion Papers 06-05, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  10. Banerjee, Anindya & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2006. "Are there any reliable leading indicators for US inflation and GDP growth?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 137-151.
  11. Gianna Boero & Jeremy Smith & KennethF. Wallis, 2008. "Uncertainty and Disagreement in Economic Prediction: The Bank of England Survey of External Forecasters," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1107-1127, 07.
  12. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
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  14. Bomberger, William A, 1996. "Disagreement as a Measure of Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 381-92, August.
  15. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
  16. Barry, Christopher B. & Jennings, Robert H., 1992. "Information and Diversity of Analyst Opinion," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(02), pages 169-183, June.
  17. X. Frank Zhang, 2006. "Information Uncertainty and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 105-137, 02.
  18. Lahiri, Kajal & Liu, Fushang, 2005. "ARCH models for multi-period forecast uncertainty-a reality check using a panel of density forecasts," MPRA Paper 21693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. 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.
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  21. Victor Zarnowitz & Louis A. Lambros, 1983. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," NBER Working Papers 1171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2007. "Inflation Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 13147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lahiri, Kajal & Teigland, Christie & Zaporowski, Mark, 1988. "Interest Rates and the Subjective Probability Distribution of Inflation Forecasts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 233-48, May.
  24. Lahiri, Kajal & Sheng, Xuguang, 2008. "Evolution of forecast disagreement in a Bayesian learning model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 325-340, June.
  25. Kenneth F. Wallis, 2005. "Combining Density and Interval Forecasts: A Modest Proposal," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 983-994, December.
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  28. Bomberger, William A, 1999. "Disagreement and Uncertainty: A Reply to Richa and Butler," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(2), pages 273-76, May.
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