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"Forecasting the Depression: Harvard versus Yale," (with K. M. Dominguez and M. S. Shapiro), The American Economic Review, September 1988, 595-612.
pdf file (1,101KB).

Abstract

Was the Depression forecastable? After the Crash, how long should it have taken contemporary forecasters to realize how severe the downturn was going to be? Data assembled by the Harvard and Yale forecasters---together with modern historical data---are subjected to statistical analysis. Neither contemporary forecasters nor modern time-series analysis could have forecast the large declines in output following the Crash.

Comments

This was a fun paper to write, especially learning what the Harvard Economic Service and Irving Fisher were doing prior to the Depression. The overall results rather strongly suggest that the Depression was not forecastable.