RePEc rankings for economists to add new criterion: forecasting prowess

RePEc has been providing for many years rankings of economists. These are based on a set of criteria that follows how economists like to rate themselves: where they publish, how they are cited, and how much they are read. But this is not how the rest of the universe evaluates economists. They are supposed to forecast well the path of the economy.

This is exactly what the RePEc rankings will be considering as well. How well can the ranked economists forecast key economic variables? What is their track record in prognostication? For this purpose, RePEc will be leveraging FREDcast, a forecasting game conveniently managed at the St Louis Fed that allows users to forecast every month four key variables for the US economy: inflation, unemployment, GDP, and employment. Scores are computed based on actual data releases following a formula that takes into account forecast errors across the four economic variables weighted by forecasting difficulty. Over time, monthly scores are aggregated using a discount rate. The all-time score is the one that will be used.

For their FREDcast points to be recognized in the RePEc rankings, all economists need to do is to use for their FREDcast account the same email address they used for registering in the RePEc Author Service. FREDcast is available on the web as well as with Android or iOS apps.

Note that in a second phase, forecasting accuracy will also be used for ranking economic institutions. Here the decision is still pending on whether RePEc will aggregate the scores of each institution’s members, or whether each institution with become part of a league within FREDcast, to leverage the “battle league” functionality of FREDcast.

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