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A Study of Economists' Consensus Forecasts

  • Economics


This study examines the ability of economists to forecast ten major economic series. The data for this study were provided by J. A. Livingston of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who since 1947 has collected forecasts for the upcoming 6 and 12 months. The results reveal that, in general, for the period from 1947 through 1978, the economists in Livingston's sample did not produce efficient forecasts and were not able to outperform simple statistical models. It should be noted, however, that a substantial and consistent improvement in forecasting performance by economists in Livingston's sample did occur over this same period. These results contain important information for managers who use macro-economic consensus forecasts.

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