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Are some forecasters really better than others?

Author

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  • D'Agostino, Antonello
  • McQuinn, Kieran
  • Whelan, Karl

Abstract

In any dataset with individual forecasts of economic variables, some forecasters will perform better than others. However, it is possible that these ex post differences reflect sampling variation and thus overstate the ex ante differences between forecasters. In this paper, we present a simple test of the null hypothesis that all forecasters in the US Survey of Professional Forecasters have equal ability. We construct a test statistic that reflects both the relative and absolute performance of the forecaster and use bootstrap techniques to compare the empirical results with the equivalents obtained under the null hypothesis of equal forecaster ability. Results suggest little support for the idea that the best forecasters are actually innately better than others, though there is evidence that a relatively small group of forecasters perform very poorly.

Suggested Citation

  • D'Agostino, Antonello & McQuinn, Kieran & Whelan, Karl, 2011. "Are some forecasters really better than others?," MPRA Paper 32938, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32938
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    2. Antonello D'Agostino & Domenico Giannone & Paolo Surico, 2005. "(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability," Macroeconomics 0510024, EconWPA.
    3. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-735, September.
    4. Carl S Bonham & Richard H Cohen, 2000. "Testing the Rational Expectations Hypothesis using Survey Data," Working Papers 200007, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    5. Patton, Andrew J. & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Testing Forecast Optimality Under Unknown Loss," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 1172-1184, December.
    6. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
    7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 3-33, February.
    8. Batchelor, R A, 1990. "All Forecasters Are Equal," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 143-144, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:jfr:ijfr11:v:9:y:2018:i:1:p:171-188 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Magdalena Grothe & Aidan Meyler, 2018. "Inflation Forecasts: Are Market-Based and Survey-Based Measures Informative?," International Journal of Financial Research, International Journal of Financial Research, Sciedu Press, vol. 9(1), pages 171-188, January.
    3. Rich, Robert W. & Tracy, Joseph, 2017. "The behavior of uncertainty and disagreement and their roles in economic prediction: a panel analysis," Staff Reports 808, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    4. Constantin Burgi, 2015. "Can A Subset Of Forecasters Beat The Simple Average In The Spf?," Working Papers 2015-001, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    5. Geoff Kenny & Thomas Kostka & Federico Masera, 2015. "Density characteristics and density forecast performance: a panel analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1203-1231, May.
    6. Constantin Bürgi & Tara M. Sinclair, 2017. "A nonparametric approach to identifying a subset of forecasters that outperforms the simple average," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 101-115, August.
    7. Geoff Kenny & Thomas Kostka & Federico Masera, 2015. "Can Macroeconomists Forecast Risk? Event-Based Evidence from the Euro-Area SPF," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(4), pages 1-46, December.
    8. Fabiana Gomez & David Pacini, 2015. "Counting Biased Forecasters: An Application of Multiple Testing Techniques," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 15/661, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. Tito Nícias Teixeira da Silva Filho, 2013. "Banks, Asset Management or Consultancies' Inflation Forecasts: is there a better forecaster out there?," Working Papers Series 310, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    10. Krüger, Fabian & Nolte, Ingmar, 2016. "Disagreement versus uncertainty: Evidence from distribution forecasts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(S), pages 172-186.
    11. Joshua Abel & Robert Rich & Joseph Song & Joseph Tracy, 2016. "The Measurement and Behavior of Uncertainty: Evidence from the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 533-550, April.
    12. Michael Clements, 2016. "Are Macro-Forecasters Essentially The Same? An Analysis of Disagreement, Accuracy and Efficiency," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2016-08, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    13. Gamber, Edward N. & Liebner, Jeffrey P. & Smith, Julie K., 2015. "The distribution of inflation forecast errors," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 47-64.
    14. Schnatz, Bernd & D'Agostino, Antonello, 2012. "Survey-based nowcasting of US growth: a real-time forecast comparison over more than 40 years," Working Paper Series 1455, European Central Bank.
    15. Clements, Michael P, 2012. "Subjective and Ex Post Forecast Uncertainty : US Inflation and Output Growth," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 995, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forecasting; Bootstrap;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • 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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