Reviews of Important Papers on Forecasting
Before 1985 Reviews
Review of:

Howard Keen, Jr. (1981), “Who forecasts best? Some evidence from the Livingston survey," Business Economics, 16, 24-29.

This paper describes an interesting set of economic forecasts. In June and December of each year since 1946, Joseph A. Livingston, a business journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, published forecasts of business variables based on a survey of about 50 experts. (Details on the Livingston survey are available by writing to: Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Phila., Pa 19105, U.S.A.) Keen, who was formerly a Senior Economist at the Philadelphia Fed., analyzed these forecasts in an effort to tell which forecasters were best: those from academia, banking, or business? Based on an analysis of the surveys from June 1971 to June 1978, no consistent differences were found in the forecasts of nominal GNP, real GNP, consumer prices and unemployment when considering size of error and turning points. That is not surprising to me: it is consistent with the 'Seer-Sucker theory' (Armstrong 1980). Another issues Keen examined was whether the overall Livingston forecasts are better than the no-change model for 6- and 12-month ahead forecasts. They were (with the exception of forecasts for the industrial stock price index). This is reassuring and is consistent with findings from previous studies.


Armstrong, J. S.(1980), "The Seer-Sucker theory: The value of experts in forecasting," Technology Review, 83, (June/July), 18-24.