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Evaluating Forecasts, Narratives and Policy Using a Test of Invariance

Jennifer Castle (), David Hendry () and Andrew Martinez ()

Econometrics, 2017, vol. 5, issue 3, 1-27

Abstract: Economic policy agencies produce forecasts with accompanying narratives, and base policy changes on the resulting anticipated developments in the target variables. Systematic forecast failure, defined as large, persistent deviations of the outturns from the numerical forecasts, can make the associated narrative false, which would in turn question the validity of the entailed policy implementation. We establish when systematic forecast failure entails failure of the accompanying narrative, which we call forediction failure, and when that in turn implies policy invalidity. Most policy regime changes involve location shifts, which can induce forediction failure unless the policy variable is super exogenous in the policy model. We propose a step-indicator saturation test to check in advance for invariance to policy changes. Systematic forecast failure, or a lack of invariance, previously justified by narratives reveals such stories to be economic fiction.

Keywords: forediction; invariance; super exogeneity; indicator saturation; co-breaking; Autometrics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B23 C C00 C01 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C8 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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