Myriad public, semi-public and private bodies are engaged in regular or occasional forecasting. Users are also very diverse. On the supply side of the market for forecasts, some producers are driven by profit motives, while others offer a public good. The demand side includes policymakers – especially finance ministers and central bank governors – but also a broader public, say, the readers of the financial press. The product itself is far from homogeneous: many forecasts cover only the short run, but some extend over longer horizons, and quality is very uneven. It is also a market with fads, as some forecasters’ reputation rides high when they surf on a run of successful predictions, but can suddenly collapse when they fail to foresee some major turning point. Lastly, price-setting is rather opaque in this market, since cross-subsidisation is rife, including in the private sector.
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