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Does Central Bank Staff Beat Private Forecasters?

  • Jung, Alexander
  • El-Shagi, Makram
  • Giesen, Sebastian

This paper assesses the relative performance of central bank staff forecasts and of private forecasters for inflation and output. We show that the Federal Reserve (Fed), and less so the European Central Bank (ECB), has a significant information advantage concerning inflation and output forecasts. Using recently developed tests for conditional predictive ability and forecast stability for the US, we find that the driving forces behind the narrowing of the information advantage of Greenbook forecasts have coincided with the Great Moderation.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79925.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79925
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  1. Domenico Giannone & Jérôme Henry & Magdalena Lalik & Michele Modugno, 2012. "An Area-Wide Real-Time Database for the Euro Area," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1000-1013, November.
  2. Peek, Joe & Rosengren, Eric S. & Tootell, Geoffrey M. B., 2003. "Does the federal reserve possess an exploitable informational advantage?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 817-839, May.
  3. Kenny, Geoff & Morgan, Julian, 2011. "Some lessons from the financial crisis for the economic analysis," Occasional Paper Series 130, European Central Bank.
  4. Genre, Véronique & Kenny, Geoff & Meyler, Aidan & Timmermann, Allan, 2013. "Combining expert forecasts: Can anything beat the simple average?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 108-121.
  5. D'Agostino, Antonello & Whelan, Karl, 2007. "Federal Reserve Information During the Great Moderation," Research Technical Papers 8/RT/07, Central Bank of Ireland.
  6. Gavin, William T. & Mandal, Rachel J., 2003. "Evaluating FOMC forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 655-667.
  7. Michael W. McCracken, 2010. "Disagreement at the FOMC: the dissenting votes are just part of the story," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Oct, pages 10-16.
  8. Gamber, Edward N. & Smith, Julie K., 2009. "Are the Fed's inflation forecasts still superior to the private sector's?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 240-251, June.
  9. Raffaella Giacomini & Barbara Rossi, 2010. "Forecast comparisons in unstable environments," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 595-620.
  10. Martin Ellison & Thomas J. Sargent, 2012. "A Defense Of The Fomc," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1047-1065, November.
  11. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
  12. Marvin Goodfriend, 1997. "Monetary policy comes of age: a 20th century odyssey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-22.
  13. Donald W.K. Andrews & Inpyo Lee & Werner Ploberger, 1992. "Optimal Changepoint Tests for Normal Linear Regression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1016, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. 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.
  15. Paul Hubert, 2013. "ECB projections as a tool for understanding policy decisions," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2013-04, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  16. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Schreger, Jesse, 2012. "Over-Optimistic Official Forecasts in the Eurozone and Fiscal Rules," Working Paper Series rwp12-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  17. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  18. Philippe Moutot & Alexander Jung & Francesco Paolo Mongelli, 2008. "The working of the eurosystem - monetary policy preparations and decision-making – selected issues," Occasional Paper Series 79, European Central Bank.
  19. Carlos Bowles & Roberta Friz & Veronique Genre & Geoff Kenny & Aidan Meyler & Tuomas Rautanen, 2007. "The ECB survey of professional forecasters (SPF) – A review after eight years’ experience," Occasional Paper Series 59, European Central Bank.
  20. Christopher A. Sims, 2002. "The Role of Models and Probabilities in the Monetary Policy Process," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 1-62.
  21. El-Shagi, Makram, 2011. "Inflation expectations: Does the market beat econometric forecasts?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 298-319.
  22. Juan Angel Garcia, 2003. "An introduction to the ECB’s survey of professional forecasters," Occasional Paper Series 08, European Central Bank.
  23. repec:fce:doctra:13-04 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Rossi, Barbara, 2005. "Optimal Tests For Nested Model Selection With Underlying Parameter Instability," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(05), pages 962-990, October.
  25. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
  26. 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.
  27. David L. Reifschneider & Peter Tulip, 2007. "Gauging the uncertainty of the economic outlook from historical forecasting errors," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-60, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  28. Ildeberta Abreu, 2011. "International organisations’ vs. private analysts’ forecasts: an evaluation," Working Papers w201120, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  29. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2006. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1545-1578, November.
  30. Tillmann, Peter, 2011. "Strategic forecasting on the FOMC," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 547-553, September.
  31. Dean Croushore, 2012. "Forecast bias in two dimensions," Working Papers 12-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  32. Jung, Alexander, 2011. "An international comparison of voting by committees," Working Paper Series 1383, European Central Bank.
  33. Barbara Rossi & Tatevik Sekhposyan, 2011. "Forecast Optimality Tests in the Presence of Instabilities," Working Papers 11-18, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  34. Genre, Véronique & Kenny, Geoff & Meyler, Aidan & Timmermann, Allan, 2010. "Combining the forecasts in the ECB survey of professional forecasters: can anything beat the simple average?," Working Paper Series 1277, European Central Bank.
  35. Peter Tulip, 2009. "Has the Economy Become More Predictable? Changes in Greenbook Forecast Accuracy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1217-1231, 09.
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