The inability of forecasters to accurately predict the recent recession emphasizes the need for better ways for charting the course of the economy. In this volume, economists examine forecasting techniques developed over the past ten years, compare their performance to traditional econometric models, and discuss new methods for forecasting and time series analysis. The volume begins with an examination of the historical performance of economic forecasts, using data collected from a quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasters from 1968 through 1990. Strengths and weaknesses of these predictions are discussed and new insights into the potential and limitations of forecasting are provided. The following three chapters use recently developed statistical techniques for predicting recessions and expansions, and examine the performance of these techniques during the 1990-91 recession. Chapter five explores why the spread between public and private interest rates has been a good predictor of real economic activity. Chapter six examines the relation between the duration of a business cycle and the likelihood of its end.
The final two chapters discuss methods for economic time series and forecasting.