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

Evaluating Macroeconomic Forecasts: A Concise Review of Some Recent Developments

  • Philip Hans Franses

    (Econometric Institute Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Michael McAleer

    (Econometric Institute, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands, Department of Quantitative Economics, Complutense University of Madrid, and Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University.)

  • Rianne Legerstee

    (Econometric Institute, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute The Netherlands)

Macroeconomic forecasts are frequently produced, widely published, intensively discussed and comprehensively used. The formal evaluation of such forecasts has a long research history. Recently, a new angle to the evaluation of forecasts has been addressed, and in this review we analyse some recent developments from that perspective. The literature on forecast evaluation predominantly assumes that macroeconomic forecasts are generated from econometric models. In practice, however, most macroeconomic forecasts, such as those from the IMF, World Bank, OECD, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the ECB, are typically based on econometric model forecasts jointly with human intuition. This seemingly inevitable combination renders most of these forecasts biased and, as such, their evaluation becomes non-standard. In this review, we consider the evaluation of two forecasts in which: (i) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct econometric models; (ii) one forecast is generated from an econometric model and the other is obtained as a combination of a model and intuition; and (iii) the two forecasts are generated from two distinct (but unknown) combinations of different models and intuition. It is shown that alternative tools are needed to compare and evaluate the forecasts in each of these three situations. These alternative techniques are illustrated by comparing the forecasts from the (econometric) Staff of the Federal Reserve Board and the FOMC on inflation, unemployment and real GDP growth. It is shown that the FOMC does not forecast significantly better than the Staff, and that the intuition of the FOMC does not add significantly in forecasting the actual values of the economic fundamentals. This would seem to belie the purported expertise of the FOMC.

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 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico in its series Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE with number 2012-14.

in new window

Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucm:doicae:1214
Note: The authors wish to thank Les Oxley, Chia-Lin Chang, an Associate Editor and two anonymous referees for detailed and helpful comments and suggestions. The second author wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the Australian Research Council, National Science Council, Taiwan, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Contact details of provider: Phone: 913942604
Fax: 913942531
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales. Pabellón prefabricado, 1ª Planta, ala norte. Campus de Somosaguas, 28223 - POZUELO DE ALARCÓN (MADRID)
Web: Email:

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. Kenneth D. West, 1994. "Asymptotic Inference About Predictive Ability," Macroeconomics 9410002, EconWPA.
  2. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  3. Heij, Christiaan & van Dijk, Dick & Groenen, Patrick J.F., 2011. "Real-time macroeconomic forecasting with leading indicators: An empirical comparison," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 466-481, April.
  4. Todd E. Clark & Michael McCracken, 1999. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1241, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Eroglu, Cuneyt & Croxton, Keely L., 2010. "Biases in judgmental adjustments of statistical forecasts: The role of individual differences," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 116-133, January.
  6. Chang, Chia-Lin & Franses, Philip Hans & McAleer, Michael, 2011. "How accurate are government forecasts of economic fundamentals? The case of Taiwan," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1066-1075, October.
  7. Franses, Philip Hans & Kranendonk, Henk C. & Lanser, Debby, 2011. "One model and various experts: Evaluating Dutch macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 482-495, April.
  8. James H. Stock & Mark W.Watson, 2003. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 788-829, September.
  9. Philip Hans Franses & Michael McAleer & Rianne Legerstee, 2009. "Expert opinion versus expertise in forecasting," Statistica Neerlandica, Netherlands Society for Statistics and Operations Research, vol. 63(3), pages 334-346.
  10. Batchelor, Roy, 2007. "Bias in macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 189-203.
  11. Fildes, Robert & Goodwin, Paul & Lawrence, Michael & Nikolopoulos, Konstantinos, 2009. "Effective forecasting and judgmental adjustments: an empirical evaluation and strategies for improvement in supply-chain planning," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 3-23.
  12. Yock Y. Chong & David F. Hendry, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 671-690.
  13. Franses, Philip Hans & Legerstee, Rianne, 2009. "Properties of expert adjustments on model-based SKU-level forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-47.
  14. McAleer, Michael, 1992. "Efficient Estimation: The Rao-Zyskind Condition, Kruskal's Theorem and Ordinary Least Squares," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(200), pages 65-72, March.
  15. Fiebig, Denzil G. & McAleer, Michael & Bartels, Robert, 1992. "Properties of ordinary least squares estimators in regression models with nonspherical disturbances," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 321-334.
  16. Roy Batchelor, 2007. "Forecaster Behaviour and Bias in Macroeconomic Forecasts," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 39, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  17. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2003. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," NBER Working Papers 9866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Elliott, Graham & Timmermann, Allan G, 2007. "Economic Forecasting," CEPR Discussion Papers 6158, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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:ucm:doicae:1214. 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: (Águeda González Abad)

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.