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How Biased Are U.S. Government Forecasts of the Federal Debt?
Government debt and forecasts thereof attracted considerable attention during the recent financial crisis. The current paper analyzes potential biases in different U.S. government agencies? one-year-ahead forecasts of U.S. gross federal debt over 1984-2012. Standard tests typically fail to detect biases in these forecasts. However, impulse indicator saturation (IIS) detects economically large and highly significant time-varying biases, particularly at turning points in the business cycle. These biases do not appear to be politically related. IIS defines a generic procedure for examining ...
Eliciting GDP Forecasts from the FOMC’s Minutes Around the Financial Crisis
Stekler and Symington (2016) construct indexes that quantify the Federal Open Market Committee's views about the U.S. economy, as expressed in the minutes of the FOMC's meetings. These indexes provide insights on the FOMC's deliberations, especially at the onset of the Great Recession. The current paper complements Stekler and Symington's analysis by showing that their indexes reveal relatively minor bias in the FOMC's views when the indexes are reinterpreted as forecasts. Additionally, these indexes provide a proximate mechanism for inferring the Fed staff's Greenbook forecasts of the U.S. ...