IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

International organisations’ vs. private analysts’ forecasts: an evaluation

  • Ildeberta Abreu
Registered author(s):

    This paper evaluates the performance of the macroeconomic forecasts disclosed by three leading international organisations - the IMF, the European Commission and the OECD - and compares it with that of the mean forecasts of two surveys of private analysts - the Consensus Economics and The Economist. The publication of forecasts twice a year by international organisations always receives a great deal of public attention but the timely forecasts disclosed monthly by private institutions have been gaining increased visibility. The aim of this work is to help forecast users in answering the question of how much (little) confidence they should place in the alternative forecasts that are available at each moment. The evaluation covers real GDP growth and inflation projections for nine main advanced economies, over the period 1991-2009. Several evaluation criteria are used. The quantitative accuracy of forecasts is assessed and their unbiasedness and efficiency is tested. The directional accuracy of forecasts and the ability to predict economic recessions are also examined. The results suggest that the forecasting performance of the international organisations is broadly similar to that of the surveys of private analysts. By and large, current-year forecasts present desirable features and clearly outperform year-ahead forecasts for which evidence is more mixed both in terms of quantitative and qualitative accuracy.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department in its series Working Papers with number w201120.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ptu:wpaper:w201120
    Contact details of provider: Postal: R. do Ouro, 27, 1100 LISBOA
    Phone: 21 321 32 00
    Fax: 21 346 48 43
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Stephen K. McNees, 1992. "How large are economic forecast errors?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 25-42.
    2. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Masahiro Ashiya, 2003. "The directional accuracy of 15-months-ahead forecasts made by the IMF," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(6), pages 331-333.
    4. 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.
    5. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
    6. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "Reply to the comments on 'The state of macroeconomic forecasting'," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 503-505, December.
    7. Natalia T. Tamirisa & Prakash Loungani & Herman O. Stekler, 2011. "Information Rigidity in Growth Forecasts: Some Cross-Country Evidence," IMF Working Papers 11/125, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Allan Timmermann, 2006. "An Evaluation of the World Economic Outlook Forecasts," IMF Working Papers 06/59, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
    10. Patton, Andrew J. & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Properties of optimal forecasts under asymmetric loss and nonlinearity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 884-918, October.
    11. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Victor Zarnowitz & Phillip Braun, 1993. "Twenty-two Years of the NBER-ASA Quarterly Economic Outlook Surveys: Aspects and Comparisons of Forecasting Performance," NBER Chapters, in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 11-94 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ash, J. C. K. & Smyth, D. J. & Heravi, S. M., 1998. "Are OECD forecasts rational and useful?: a directional analysis," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 381-391, September.
    14. Filip Keereman, 1999. "The track record of the Commission forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 137, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    15. Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopoulou, 2000. "A Post-Mortem on Economic Outlook Projections," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 274, OECD Publishing.
    16. Harvey, David I & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Tests for Forecast Encompassing," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 254-59, April.
    17. A. Melander & G. Sismanidis & D. Grenouilleau, 2007. "The track record of the Commission's forecasts - an update," European Economy - Economic Papers 291, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ptu:wpaper:w201120. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (DEE-NTDD)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.