Uncertainty over Production Forecasts: An empirical analysis using monthly firm survey data

Author Name MORIKAWA Masayuki (Vice Chairman & Vice President, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. May 2017 17-E-081
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This study, using monthly micro data of firms' forecasted and realized production quantities, presents new findings on uncertainty over production forecasts. This is the first empirical study employing monthly-frequency quantitative forecast data at the firm level. According to the analysis, forecast errors are quite heterogeneous among individual manufacturers. For example, some firms underpredict their production, even when aggregate level production is overpredicted. In terms of firm characteristics, firms operating in the information and communications technology (ICT)-related industries, firms producing investment goods, and smaller firms exhibit higher forecast uncertainty. The forecast uncertainty is greater in contractionary phases of the business cycle. The uncertainty measures calculated from micro data have a predictive power over macroeconomic fluctuations, which cannot be detected from the measures derived from publicly available aggregated data, suggesting the value of firm-level micro data. Finally, forecast uncertainty of Japanese manufacturing firms is associated with overseas policy uncertainty, in addition to Japan's own economic policy uncertainty.

This is the English version of the Japanese Discussion Paper (17-J-020) with some additional information and changes.

Published: Morikawa, Masayuki, 2019. "Uncertainty over production forecasts: An empirical analysis using monthly quantitative survey data," Journal of Macroeconomics, Vol. 60, pp. 163-179