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Are some forecasters really better than others?

Author

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  • Antonello D'Agostino
  • Kieran McQuinn
  • Karl Whelan

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 suggests limited evidence 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

  • Antonello D'Agostino & Kieran McQuinn & Karl Whelan, 2010. "Are some forecasters really better than others?," Working Papers 201012, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201012
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2645
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    Cited by:

    1. Krüger, Fabian & Nolte, Ingmar, 2016. "Disagreement versus uncertainty: Evidence from distribution forecasts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(S), pages 172-186.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert W. Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2021. "All Forecasters Are Not the Same: Time-Varying Predictive Ability across Forecast Environments," Working Papers 21-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. 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, University of Reading.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael P. Clements, 2022. "Forecaster Efficiency, Accuracy, and Disagreement: Evidence Using Individual‐Level Survey Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 54(2-3), pages 537-568, March.
    9. Clements, Michael P., 2021. "Rounding behaviour of professional macro-forecasters," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1614-1631.
    10. Robert W. Rich & Joseph Tracy, 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Campbell R. Harvey & Yan Liu, 2020. "False (and Missed) Discoveries in Financial Economics," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(5), pages 2503-2553, October.
    13. 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.
    14. Clements, Michael P., 2012. "Subjective and Ex Post Forecast Uncertainty: US Inflation and Output Growth," Economic Research Papers 270629, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    15. 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, H. O. Stekler Research Program on Forecasting.
    16. Baumann, Ursel & Darracq Pariès, Matthieu & Westermann, Thomas & Riggi, Marianna & Bobeica, Elena & Meyler, Aidan & Böninghausen, Benjamin & Fritzer, Friedrich & Trezzi, Riccardo & Jonckheere, Jana & , 2021. "Inflation expectations and their role in Eurosystem forecasting," Occasional Paper Series 264, European Central Bank.
    17. Campbell R. Harvey & Yan Liu, 2020. "False (and Missed) Discoveries in Financial Economics," Papers 2006.04269, arXiv.org.
    18. Clements, Michael P., 2021. "Do survey joiners and leavers differ from regular participants? The US SPF GDP growth and inflation forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 634-646.
    19. 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.
    20. Michael P. Clements, 2020. "Are Some Forecasters’ Probability Assessments of Macro Variables Better Than Those of Others?," Econometrics, MDPI, vol. 8(2), pages 1-16, May.
    21. Fabiana Gomez & David Pacini, 2015. "Counting Biased Forecasters: An Application of Multiple Testing Techniques," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 15/661, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    22. Klein, Tony, 2022. "Agree to disagree? Predictions of U.S. nonfarm payroll changes between 2008 and 2020 and the impact of the COVID19 labor shock," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 264-286.
    23. Meyler, Aidan, 2020. "Forecast performance in the ECB SPF: ability or chance?," Working Paper Series 2371, European Central Bank.
    24. 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.
    25. Cem Cakmakli & Hamza Demircan, 2020. "Using Survey Information for Improving the Density Nowcasting of US GDP with a Focus on Predictive Performance during Covid-19 Pandemic," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2016, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forecasting; Bootstrap; Economic forecasting--Evaluation; Bootstrap (Statistics);
    All these keywords.

    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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