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The Rationality of USDA Forecasts under Multivariate Asymmetric Loss

Siddhartha Bora, Ani Katchova and Todd Kuethe ()

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2021, vol. 103, issue 3, 1006-1033

Abstract: A large number of previous studies suggest that many USDA forecasts are biased and/or inefficient. These findings, however, may be the result of the assumed loss function of USDA forecasters. We test the rationality of the USDA net cash income forecasts and the WASDE production and price forecasts between 1988 and 2018 using a flexible multivariate loss function that allows for asymmetric loss and non‐separable forecast errors. Our results provide robust evidence that USDA forecasters are rational expected loss minimizers yet demonstrate a tendency to place a greater weight on under‐ or overprediction. As a result, this study provides an alternate interpretation of previous findings of forecast irrationality.

Date: 2021
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Handle: RePEc:wly:ajagec:v:103:y:2021:i:3:p:1006-1033