NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Accuracy of Individual and Group Forecasts from Business Outlook Surveys

Victor Zarnowitz

NBER Working Paper No. 1053 (Also Reprint No. r0559)
Issued in December 1982
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

This paper reports on a comprehensive study of the distributions of summary measures of error for a large collection of quarterly multiperiod predictions of six variables representing inflation, real qrowth, unemployment,and percentage changes in nominal GNP and two of its more volatile components.The data come from surveys conducted since 1968 by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the American Statistical Association and cover more than 70 individuals professionally engaged in forecasting the course of the U. S.economy (mostly economists, analysts, and executives from the world of corporate business and finance). There is considerable differentiation among these forecasts, across the individuals, variables, and predictive horizons covered. Combining corresponding predictions from different sources can result insignificant gains; thus the group mean forecasts are on the average over timemore accurate than most of the corresponding sets of individual forecasts. But there is also a moderate deqree of consistency in the relative performance of a sufficient number of the survey members, as evidenced in positive rank correlations among ratios of the individual to group root mean square errors.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1053

Published:

  • Zarnowitz, Victor. "The Accuracy of Individual and Group Forecasts from Business Outlook Surveys." Journal of Forecasting, Vol. 3, No. 1, (January-March 1984), pp. 11-26.
  • Victor Zarnowitz, 1992. "The Accuracy of Individual and Group Forecasts," NBER Chapters, in: Business Cycles: Theory, History, Indicators, and Forecasting, pages 444-461 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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