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Systematic errors in growth expectations over the business cycle

Listed author(s):
  • Dovern, Jonas
  • Jannsen, Nils

Using real-time data, we analyze how the systematic expectation errors of professional forecasters in 19 advanced economies depend on the state of the business cycle. Our results indicate that the general result that forecasters systematically overestimate output growth (across all countries) masks considerable differences across different business-cycle states. We show that forecasts for recessions are subject to a large negative systematic forecast error (forecasters overestimate growth), while forecasts for recoveries are subject to a positive systematic forecast error. Forecasts made for expansions have, if anything, a small systematic forecast error for large forecast horizons. When we link information about the business-cycle state in the target year with quarterly information about its state in the forecasting period, we find that forecasters realize business-cycle turning points somewhat late. Using cross-country evidence, we demonstrate that the positive relationship between a change in trend growth rates and forecast bias, as suggested in the literature, breaks down when only focusing on forecasts made for expansions.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1989.

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Date of creation: 2015
Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1989
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  1. Batchelor, Roy, 2007. "Bias in macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 189-203.
  2. Tara Sinclair & Frederick L. Joutz, 2009. "Can the Fed Predict the State of the Economy?," Working Papers 2008-06, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  3. 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.
  4. Ager, Philipp & Kappler, Marcus & Osterloh, Steffen, 2007. "The Accuracy and Efficiency of the Consensus Forecasts: A Further Application and Extension of the Pooled Approach," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-058, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  6. Wieland, Volker & Wolters, Maik Hendrik, 2012. "Forecasting and policy making," IMFS Working Paper Series 62, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
  7. Roy Batchelor, 2007. "Forecaster Behaviour and Bias in Macroeconomic Forecasts," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 39, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  8. Isiklar, Gultekin & Lahiri, Kajal, 2007. "How far ahead can we forecast? Evidence from cross-country surveys," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 167-187.
  9. Tilman Ehrbeck & Robert Waldmann, 1996. "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency versus Behavioral Explanations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 21-40.
  10. Prakash Loungani, 2000. "How Accurate Are Private Sector Forecasts; Cross-Country Evidence From Consensus Forecasts of Output Growth," IMF Working Papers 00/77, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens & Jannsen, Nils & Meier, Carsten-Patrick, 2016. "A Note On Banking And Housing Crises And The Strength Of Recoveries," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(07), pages 1924-1933, October.
  12. Masahiro Ashiya, 2009. "Strategic bias and professional affiliations of macroeconomic forecasters," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 120-130.
  13. Tara M. Sinclair & Jeff Messina & Herman Stekler, 2014. "What Can We Learn From Revisions to the Greenbook Forecasts?," Working Papers 2014-14, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  14. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Olivier Coibion, 2010. "What can survey forecasts tell us about informational rigidities?," 2010 Meeting Papers 277, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2002. "Dissecting the cycle: a methodological investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 365-381, March.
  16. Deschamps, Bruno & Ioannidis, Christos, 2013. "Can rational stubbornness explain forecast biases?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 141-151.
  17. Jeremy Piger & James Morley & Chang-Jin Kim, 2005. "Nonlinearity and the permanent effects of recessions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 291-309.
  18. Adriana Fernandez & Evan F. Koenig & Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, 2011. "A real-time historical database for the OECD," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 96, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  19. Stekler, H O, 1972. "An Analysis of Turning Point Forecasts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 724-729, September.
  20. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
  21. Holden, K & Peel, D A, 1990. "On Testing for Unbiasedness and Efficiency of Forecasts," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 58(2), pages 120-127, June.
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