Macroeconomic Models, Forecasting, and Policymaking

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ec 201119 macroeconomic models forecasting and policymaking pdf

Number 2011-19
October 5, 2011
Macroeconomic Models, Forecasting
and Policymaking 
Andrea Pescatori and Saeed Zaman
Models of the macroeconomy have gotten quite sophisticated, thanks to decades of development and advances in 
computing power. Such models have also become indispensable tools for monetary policymakers, useful both for fore-
casting and comparing different policy options. Their failure to predict the recent fi nancial crisis does not negate their 
usefulness, it only points to some areas that can be improved.
ISSN 0428-1276
“All models are false but some are useful” 
—George Box
Periods of economic and social crisis can easily turn into pe-
riods of change for economics as a profession. The dramatic 
fi nancial crisis we experienced recently has caused econo-
mists to question the prevailing assumptions and standard 
approaches of the fi eld. It is not the fi rst time—the problems 
of the 1970s and 1930s had a similar effect on economic 
theory—and it surely will not be the last. 
As we come to terms with why the crisis happened and why 
economists could not prevent or predict it, it is important 
to understand what was wrong with mainstream doctrine 
and practice. It is likewise just as important to identify what 
was working fi ne. As the old saying goes, let’s not throw the 
baby out with the bath water. 
In this 
, we focus on one subset of economic theory 
and practice, the role of econometric models in the conduct 
of monetary policy. We review the development of different 
types of models commonly in use and highlight their success-
es and failures since the 1950s. In doing so, we also describe 
some of the common approaches that central banks use for 
forecasting and evaluating different policy scenarios.

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