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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. ...
The Fed's Asymmetric Forecast Errors
I show that the probability that the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System staff's forecasts (the "Greenbooks'") overpredicted quarterly real gross domestic product (GDP) growth depends on both the forecast horizon and also whether the forecasted quarter was above or below trend real GDP growth. For forecasted quarters that grew below trend, Greenbooks were much more likely to overpredict real GDP growth, with one-quarter ahead forecasts overpredicting real GDP growth more than 75% of the time, and this rate of overprediction was higher for further ahead forecasts. For forecasted ...
The Accuracy of Forecasts Prepared for the Federal Open Market Committee
We analyze forecasts of consumption, nonresidential investment, residential investment, government spending, exports, imports, inventories, gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment prepared by the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1997 to 2008, called the Greenbooks. We compare the root mean squared error, mean absolute error, and the proportion of directional errors of Greenbook forecasts of these macroeconomic indicators to the errors from three forecasting benchmarks: a random walk, a first-order ...
Fiscal policy: ex ante and ex post
The surge in fiscal deficits since 2008 has put a renewed focus on the authors? understanding of fiscal policy. The interaction of fiscal and monetary policy during this period has also been the subject of much discussion and analysis. This paper gives new insight into past fiscal policy and its influence on monetary policy by examining the U.S. Federal Reserve Board staff?s Greenbook forecasts of fiscal policy. The authors create a real-time database of the Greenbook forecasts of fiscal policy, examine the forecast performance in terms of bias and effciency, and explore the implications for ...
FISCAL SURPRISES AT THE FOMC
This paper provides a detailed examination of a new set of fiscal forecasts for the U.S. assembled by Croushore and van Norden (2017) from FOMC briefing books. The data are of particular interest because (1) they afford a look at fiscal forecasts over six complete business cycles and several fiscal policy regimes, covering both peacetime and several wars, (2) the forecasts were precisely those presented to monetary policymakers, (3) they include frequently updated estimates of both actual and cyclically adjusted deficits, (4) unlike most other U.S. fiscal forecasts, they were neither partisan ...