Financial Times: IMF Shows Poor Track Record at Forecasting Recessions

The FT cites my new working paper with Zidong An and Joao Jalles:

“Recessions are not rare,” echoed Prakash Loungani, a macro-economist at the IMF. “What is rare is a recession that is forecast in advance.” Despite an increased amount of economic data being available, “the ability to predict downturns remains dismal”, he told the FT.”

[…]

The fact that forecasts are “typically over-optimistic for horizons beyond the current year” is not necessarily the result of economist optimism. They “fail to forecast strong booms, just as they fail to predict recessions,” said Mr Loungani, suggesting that economic forecasts “are too rooted in thinking that things stay close to normal or will revert to normal soon”.

[…]

“The IMF’s April outlook is often more accurate. This is because it is easier to get a forecast right for the current year than the following year. The April report is better able to signal a recession for the current year than the October publication, “but one that is much milder than what transpires”, says Mr Loungani, author of several studies.”

Continue reading here.

Posted by at 11:08 AM

Labels: Forecasting Follies

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