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

Are some forecasters really better than others?

  • Antonello D'Agostino
  • Kieran McQuinn
  • Karl Whelan

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.

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:
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201012.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201012
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
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. 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.
  2. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  3. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico & Surico, Paolo, 2007. "(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 6594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Batchelor, R A, 1990. "All Forecasters Are Equal," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 143-44, January.
  5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2006. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," NBER Working Papers 12324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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 714-35, September.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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:ucn:wpaper:201012. 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: (Nicolas Clifton)

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.