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How useful are the forecasts of intergovernmental agencies? The IMF and OECD versus the consensus

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This study compares the accuracy and information content of economic forecasts for G7 countries made in the 1990s by the OECD and IMF. The benchmarks for comparison are the average forecasts of private sector economists published by Consensus Economics. With few exceptions, the private sector forecasts are less biased and more accurate in terms of mean absolute error and root mean square error. Formal tests show these differences are statistically significant for forecasts of real growth and production, less so for forecasts of inflation and unemployment. Overall, there appears little information in the OECD and IMF forecasts that could be used to reduce significantly the error in the private sector forecasts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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