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Irrationality or efficiency of macroeconomic survey forecasts? Implications from the anchoring bias test

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  • Hess, Dieter
  • Orbe, Sebastian

Abstract

We analyze the quality of macroeconomic survey forecasts. Recent findings indicate that they are anchoring biased. This irrationality would challenge the results of a wide range of empirical studies, e.g., in asset pricing, volatility clustering or market liquidity, which rely on survey data to capture market participants' expectations. We contribute to the existing literature in two ways. First, we show that the cognitive bias is a statistical artifact. Despite highly significant anchoring coefficients a bias adjustment does not improve forecasts' quality. To explain this counterintuitive result we take a closer look at macroeconomic analysts' information processing abilities. We find that analysts benefit from the use of an extensive information set, neglected in the anchoring bias test. Exactly this information advantage drives the misleading anchoring bias test results. Second, we find that the superior information aggregation capabilities enable analysts to easily outperform sophisticated timeseries forecasts and therefore survey forecasts should clearly be favored.

Suggested Citation

  • Hess, Dieter & Orbe, Sebastian, 2011. "Irrationality or efficiency of macroeconomic survey forecasts? Implications from the anchoring bias test," CFR Working Papers 11-13, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:1113
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    Cited by:

    1. Hautsch, Nikolaus & Hess, Dieter & Veredas, David, 2011. "The impact of macroeconomic news on quote adjustments, noise, and informational volatility," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2733-2746, October.
    2. Michael P. Clements, 2014. "Anticipating Early Data Revisions to US GDP and the Effects of Releases on Equity Markets," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2014-06, Henley Business School, Reading University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    macroeconomic announcements; efficiency of forecasts; anchoring bias; rationality of analysts;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G17 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Financial Forecasting and Simulation
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - 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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