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Biases of professional exchange rate forecasts: Psychological explanations and an experimentally based comparison to novices


  • Leitner, Johannes
  • Schmidt, Robert
  • Bofinger, Peter


The empirical performance of macroeconomic exchange rate models is more than disappointing. This dismal result is also reflected in the forecasting capabilities of professional analysts: all in all, analysts are not in a position to beat naïve random walk forecasts. The root for this deficient outcome stems from the fact that professional forecasts are to a large extend influenced by actual changes in exchange rates. A reasonable explanation for this behaviour can be taken from the behavioural finance literature. To test whether this characteristic tends to be general human behaviour in an uncertain environment, we analyse the forecasting behaviour of students experimentally, using a simulated currency series. Our results indicate that a topically oriented trend adjustment behaviour (TOTA) is a general characteristic of human forecasting behaviour. Additionally, we apply a simple model to explain professional and students forecasts.

Suggested Citation

  • Leitner, Johannes & Schmidt, Robert & Bofinger, Peter, 2003. "Biases of professional exchange rate forecasts: Psychological explanations and an experimentally based comparison to novices," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 39, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wuewep:39

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Reitz & Georg Stadtmann, 2005. "Consensus among FX forecasters?," Applied Financial Economics Letters, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 1(4), pages 223-227, July.
    2. Vygodina, Anna V. & Zorn, Thomas S. & DeFusco, Richard, 2008. "Asymmetry in the effects of economic fundamentals on rising and falling exchange rates," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 728-746, September.
    3. Audretsch, David B. & Stadtmann, Georg, 2005. "Biases in FX-forecasts: Evidence from panel data," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 99-111, August.

    More about this item


    Foreign exchange market; forecasting; behavioural finance; anchoring heuristics; judgement; expertise;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F47 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior


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