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Has the accuracy of German macroeconomic forecasts improved?

  • Heilemann, Ullrich
  • Stekler, H. O.

The major focus of this paper is to determine whether the accuracy of German macroeconomic forecasts has improved over time. We examine 1-year-ahead forecasts of real GDP and inflation for 1967 to 2001 made by three major German forecasting groups and the OECD. We examine the accuracy of the forecasts over the entire period and in three sub-periods. We conclude that, with some exceptions, the errors of the German forecasters were similar to those of their US and UK counterparts. While the absolute size of the forecast errors has declined, this is not the case for relative accuracy. A benchmark comparison of these predictions with the ex post forecasts of a macroeconometric model indicates that the quality of the growth forecasts can be improved but that the expected increase in accuracy may not be substantial.

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Paper provided by Technische Universität Dortmund, Sonderforschungsbereich 475: Komplexitätsreduktion in multivariaten Datenstrukturen in its series Technical Reports with number 2003,31.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb475:200331
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  1. Heilemann, Ullrich, 2002. "Increasing the transparency of macroeconometric forecasts: a report from the trenches," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 85-105.
  2. Öller, Lars-Erik & Barot, Bharat, 2000. "The Accuracy of European Growth and Inflation Forecasts," Working Paper 72, National Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Francis X. Diebold, 1997. "The Past, Present, and Future of Macroeconomic Forecasting," NBER Working Papers 6290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Granger, C W J, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Comment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-17, January.
  6. Herman O. Stekler, 2008. "What Do We Know About G-7 Macro Forecasts?," Working Papers 2008-009, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
  7. Merton, Robert C, 1981. "On Market Timing and Investment Performance. I. An Equilibrium Theory of Value for Market Forecasts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 363-406, July.
  8. Stekler, H. O., 1991. "Macroeconomic forecast evaluation techniques," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 375-384, November.
  9. McNees, Stephen K, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 5-15, January.
  10. Nolte, Ingmar & Pohlmeier, Winfried, 2007. "Using forecasts of forecasters to forecast," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 15-28.
  11. 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.
  12. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
  13. Fintzen, David & Stekler, H. O., 1999. "Why did forecasters fail to predict the 1990 recession?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 309-323, July.
  14. Spivey, W Allen, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Comment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 19-22, January.
  15. repec:gwc:wpaper:2008-9 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Litterman, Robert B, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Comment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 17-19, January.
  17. Francis X. Diebold & Jose A. Lopez, 1995. "Forecast evaluation and combination," Research Paper 9525, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  18. McNees, Stephen K., 1986. "Forecasting accuracy of alternative techniques: A comparison of US macroeconomic forecasts, with comment : Stephen K. McNees, with comment, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics 4 (1986) 5-23," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 497-498.
  19. Batchelor, R A, 1990. "All Forecasters Are Equal," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 143-44, January.
  20. Ash, J. C. K. & Smyth, D. J. & Heravi, S. M., 1993. "The accuracy of OECD forecasts for Canada and the United States," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 179-210.
  21. McNees, Stephen K, 1986. "Forecasting Accuracy of Alternative Techniques: A Comparison of U.S. Macroeconomic Forecasts: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 23, January.
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