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Marie Diron

20 December 2005
This paper first shows that the forecast error incurred when assuming that future inflation will be equal to the inflation target announced by the central bank is typically at least as small and often smaller than forecast errors of model-based and published inflation forecasts. It then shows that there are substantial benefits in having rule-of-thumb agents who simply trust that the central bank will deliver its pre-announced inflation objective.
JEL Code
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
12 May 2006
Economic policy makers, international organisations and private-sector forecasters commonly use short-term forecasts of real GDP growth based on monthly indicators, such as industrial production, retail sales and confidence surveys. An assessment of the reliability of such tools and of the source of potential forecast errors is essential. While many studies have evaluated the size of forecast errors related to model specifications and unavailability of data in real time, few have provided a complete assessment of forecast errors, which should notably take into account the impact of data revision. This paper proposes to bridge this gap. Using four years of data vintages for euro area conjunctural indicators, the paper decomposes forecast errors into four elements (model specification, erroneous extrapolations of the monthly indicators, revisions to the monthly indicators and revisions to the GDP data series) and assesses their relative sizes. The results show that gains in accuracy of forecasts achieved by using monthly data on actual activity rather than surveys or financial indicators are offset by the fact that the former set of monthly data is harder to forecast and less timely than the latter set. While the results presented in the paper remain tentative due to limited data availability, they provide a benchmark which future research may build on.
JEL Code
C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes
C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods
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
E66 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→General Outlook and Conditions