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How do the OECD Growth Projections for the G7 Economies Perform?: A Post-Mortem


  • Lukas Vogel



The quality of the OECD's Economic Outlook growth projections was last evaluated in-house at the peak of the previous business cycle, calling for a reassessment. This paper analyses the OECD's annual GDP growth projections for the G7 countries over the period 1991-2006 and compares them with the Consensus Economics forecasts. It shows that OECD growth projections display a number of desirable features: projections for the current year are unbiased and efficient; projection errors tend to shrink as the horizon shortens; and projections are directionally accurate most of the time. Like those produced elsewhere, the OECD projections also suffer from shortcomings: one-year-ahead projections display a positive bias, mainly reflecting a propensity to overpredict during slowdowns; spring one-year-ahead projections are far less informative than autumn ones; and turning points are poorly anticipated one year ahead. Regression tests suggest that the OECD and Consensus add value to naïve forecasts for spring current-year and autumn one-year-ahead projections. Les projections de croissance de l'OCDE pour les pays du G7 : une analyse post mortem La dernière évaluation interne de la qualité des projections de croissance présentées dans les Perspectives économiques de l?OCDE remonte au pic du cycle précédent. Le temps est donc venu d'un réexamen. La présente étude analyse les projections de l'OCDE pour la croissance annuelle du PIB dans les pays du G7 sur la période 1991-2006 et les compare aux prévisions de Consensus Economics. Elle montre que les projections de l'OCDE possèdent un certain nombre de bonnes propriétés : celles pour l?année en cours sont non-biaisées et efficaces; les erreurs de projection ont tendance à diminuer à mesure que l'horizon de la projection se rapproche ; et dans la plupart des cas les projections anticipent correctement les ralentissements et accélérations de l'activité. Néanmoins, comme celles produites ailleurs, les projections ont aussi leurs limites : celles pour l'année suivante présentent un biais positif, reflétant principalement une propension à surestimer la croissance en phase de ralentissement; les projections de printemps pour l'année suivante sont beaucoup moins informatives que celles produites à l'automne; et les points de retournement sont rarement anticipés un an plus tôt. L'analyse économétrique montre que les projections de l'OCDE ainsi que les prévisions de Consensus Economics apportent de la valeur ajoutée aux projections naïves dans le cas des projections de printemps pour l'année en cours et des projections de l'automne pour l'année suivante.

Suggested Citation

  • Lukas Vogel, 2007. "How do the OECD Growth Projections for the G7 Economies Perform?: A Post-Mortem," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 573, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:573-en
    DOI: 10.1787/111804483765

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    Cited by:

    1. Ludovic Dobbelaere & Igor Lebrun, 2012. "Working Paper 03-12 - Track record of the FPB’s short-term forecasts : An update," Working Papers 1203, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    2. Michael K Andersson & Ted Aranki & André Reslow, 2017. "Adjusting for information content when comparing forecast performance," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(7), pages 784-794, November.
    3. Deleidi, Matteo & Iafrate, Francesca & Levrero, Enrico Sergio, 2020. "Public investment fiscal multipliers: An empirical assessment for European countries," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 354-365.
    4. Isabell Koske & Nigel Pain, 2008. "The Usefulness of Output Gaps for Policy Analysis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 621, OECD Publishing.
    5. Bourmpoula, Evangelia. & Wieser, Christina., 2014. "An accuracy assessment of the global employment trends' unemployment rate forecasts," ILO Working Papers 994888903402676, International Labour Organization.
    6. Abiad (ADB), Abdul & Furceri (IMF and University of Palermo), Davide & Topalova (IMF), Petia, 2016. "The macroeconomic effects of public investment: Evidence from advanced economies," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 224-240.
    7. Bourmpoula, Evangelia. & Wieser, Christina., 2014. "An accuracy assessment of the global employment trends' unemployment rate forecasts," Global Employment Trends Reports 994888903402676, International Labour Office, Economic and Labour Market Analysis Department.
    8. Giovannelli, Alessandro & Pericoli, Filippo Maria, 2020. "Are GDP forecasts optimal? Evidence on European countries," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 963-973.
    9. Ildeberta Abreu, 2011. "International organisations’ vs. private analysts’ forecasts: an evaluation," Working Papers w201120, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    10. Reifschneider, David & Tulip, Peter, 2019. "Gauging the uncertainty of the economic outlook using historical forecasting errors: The Federal Reserve’s approach," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 1564-1582.
    11. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 1. How Much is Needed and How to Reduce Debt to a Prudent Level?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 932, OECD Publishing.
    12. Ullrich Heilemann & Herman O. Stekler, 2013. "Has The Accuracy of Macroeconomic Forecasts for Germany Improved?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 235-253, May.
    13. Boehm, Christoph E., 2020. "Government consumption and investment: Does the composition of purchases affect the multiplier?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 80-93.
    14. Mihaela SIMIONESCU, 2015. "The Evaluation of Global Accuracy of Romanian Inflation Rate Predictions Using Mahalanobis Distance," Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy Journal, College of Management, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, vol. 3(1), pages 133-149, March.
    15. Herman O. Stekler, 2008. "What Do We Know About G-7 Macro Forecasts?," Working Papers 2008-009, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, H. O. Stekler Research Program on Forecasting.
    16. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. David Reifschneider & Peter Tulip, 2017. "Gauging the Uncertainty of the Economic Outlook Using Historical Forecasting Errors: The Federal Reserve's Approach," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2017-01, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    18. Reto Cueni & Bruno S. Frey, 2014. "Forecasts and Reactivity," CREMA Working Paper Series 2014-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    19. Yoichi Tsuchiya, 2021. "Thirty‐year assessment of Asian Development Bank's forecasts," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 35(2), pages 18-40, November.
    20. Kontogeorgos, Georgios & Lambrias, Kyriacos, 2019. "An analysis of the Eurosystem/ECB projections," Working Paper Series 2291, European Central Bank.
    21. Carlos Fonseca Marinheiro, 2010. "Fiscal sustainability and the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts: do supranational forecasts rather than government forecasts make a difference?," GEMF Working Papers 2010-07, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    22. Ullrich Heilemann & Herman Stekler, 2010. "Perspectives on Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts," Working Papers 2010-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, H. O. Stekler Research Program on Forecasting.
    23. Peter Tulip & Stephanie Wallace, 2012. "Estimates of Uncertainty around the RBA's Forecasts," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2012-07, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    24. Simionescu, Mihaela, 2015. "A Comparative Analysis Of Macroeconomic Forecasts Accuracy In Spain And Romania," UTMS Journal of Economics, University of Tourism and Management, Skopje, Macedonia, vol. 6(1), pages 67-74.

    More about this item


    croissance; economic outlook; forecasts; GDP; growth; perspectives économiques; PIB; projections; projections; prévisions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • 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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