We propose a new approach to test the full-information rational expectations hypothesis which can identify whether rejections of the arise from information rigidities. This approach quantifies the economic significance of departures from the and the underlying degree of information rigidity. Applying this approach to U.S. and international data of professional forecasters and other agents yields pervasive evidence consistent with the presence of information rigidities. These results therefore provide a set of stylized facts which can be used to calibrate imperfect information models. Finally, we document evidence of state-dependence in the expectations formation process.
A simple criterion based on the properties of the forecast error is presented to evaluate the accuracy of forecasts. The efficiency conditions of an optimization problem are used to show that under rational expectations the standard statistical conditions are necessary, but not sufficient to ensure efficiency. This criterion is used to examine the accuracy of the World Economic Outlook projections of growth and inflation for the seven major industrial countries. Time series models are then estimated and the efficiency of the World Economic Outlook projections relative to a benchmark time series model is examined. A number of empirical tests suggest that the year ahead projections of growth and inflation in the World Economic Outlook are unbiased after 1982.