Research Program on Forecasting

As of January 2014, the GW Economics department is listed as #23 of the top institutions in the field of forecasting around the world according to IDEAS!  Our own Herman Stekler is ranked 23rd internationally as an author in the field.

The Research Program on Forecasting supports research, teaching, and dissertation supervision in forecasting as part of the Department of Economics and the Center for Economic Research at The George Washington University. The current research interests of program members include a wide range of studies on the methodology of forecasting and forecast evaluation as well as preparation of macroeconomic and microeconomic forecasts. In addition, program members have supervised dissertations that focus on the theory and application of forecasting.

The faculty is composed entirely of active scholars. They have published in some of the top general interest journals as well as leading journals in forecasting, including the American Economic Review, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Economic Inquiry, Journal of Money Credit and Banking, International Journal of Forecasting, Applied Economics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, and Energy Economics.

Their work also appears in leading journals in related fields and disciplines, (such as macroeconomics and demography), and they regularly present their work at national and international forecasting conferences.

Ord and Stekler are members of the editorial board of the International Journal of Forecasting. Stekler and Ord are both former Directors of the International Institute of Forecasters and are Fellows of the Institute.  Ord is also a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

The Survey of Professional Forecasters conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has included the Benchmark Forecasts produced by Joutz since 1990. He has been producing the forecasts of about 25 macroeconomic series since 1988. The survey is done every quarter and includes about 35 forecasters from business, finance, and academe. Previously, the survey was conducted under the auspices of the ASA and National Bureau of Economic Research.  Tara Sinclair also contributes to the survey on behalf of the Research Program on Forecasting.

Previously funded research projects include a three year project on short-run and long-run responses of electricity consumption to climate change and variability for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project was performed in collaboration with scientists at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Engineering and Public Health. Other funds have come from the National Park Service.

The RPF also has a partnership with Federal Forecasters Consortium, an organization of federal employees from all government agencies involved in forecasting. The two groups jointly organize a monthly Brown Bag Seminar Series on Forecasting.

Recent Forecast Evaluations

  • Federal Reserve Board forecasts of macroeconomic conditions
  • Expert, computer model, and betting line forecasts of NFL games
  • Interest rate spreads as predictors of business cycles
  • U.S. Census Bureau projections of state populations
  • The role of asymmetric, non-linear models in forecasting

Recently Prepared Forecasts

  • U.S. macroeconomic conditions
  • Electricity consumption and prices
  • Motor gasoline demand
  • Municipal solid waste generation
  • Effects of technical change on productivity in public enterprises
  • Patent applications
  • Leading series of the transportation sector
  • National defense readiness measures

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