Front Matter

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© 2021 International Monetary Fund


IMF Working Paper

Western Hemisphere Department

Patterns in IMF Growth Forecast Revisions: A Panel Study at Multiple Horizons

Prepared by Metodij Ha dzi-Vaskov, Luca Antonio Ricci, Alejandro Mariano Werner, and Rene Zamarripa

Authorized for distribution by Alejandro Werner

May 2021

IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


This paper investigates the performance of the IMF WEO growth forecast revisions across different horizons and country groups. We find that: (i) growth revisions in horizons closer to the actual are generally larger, more volatile, and more negative; (ii) on average, growth revisions are in the right direction, becoming progressively more responsive to the forecast error gap as horizons get closer to the actual year; (iii) growth revisions in systemic economies are relevant for growth revisions in all country groups; (iv) WEO and Consensus Forecast growth revisions are highly correlated; (v) fall-to-spring WEO revisions are m o re correlated with Consensus Forecasts revisions compared to spring-to-fall revisions; and (vi) across vintages, revisions for a given time horizon are not autocorrelated; within vintages, revisions tend to be positively correlated, suggesting perception of persistent short-term shocks.

JEL Classification Numbers: E17, E37, F47

Keywords: Economic forecasts, Forecast revisions, Growth forecasts, WEO

Author’s E-Mail Address:;;;


  • Contents

  • Abstract

  • I. Introduction

  • II. Motivation and Literature

  • III. Data and Methodology

    • A. Dataset

    • B. Methodology

      • Definitions and Notation

      • Regression Specifications

  • IV. Descriptive Findings

  • V. Understanding Growth Revisions

    • A. Are Revisions in the Right Direction?

      • Robustness to Outturn Updates

    • B. What Factors Drive Growth Revisions?

      • Role of Systemic Economies’ GDP Revisions

      • Asymmetric Impact of Systemic GDP Revisions

      • Role of Terms of Trade Revisions

      • Role of Alternative Measures of Systemic Growth Revisions

  • VI. Are WEO and Consensus Forecast Growth Revisions Moving Together?

  • VII. Is There Mean Reversion and Persistence in WEO Growth Forecasts?

    • Relationship between Forecast Errors and Forthcoming Revisions

    • Serial Autocorrelation of Revisions Across Vintages

    • Relationship of Revisions for a Given Year Across Vintages and Horizons

    • Persistence of Growth Shocks

  • VIII. Concluding Remarks

  • IX. References

  • X. Annex

Patterns in IMF Growth Forecast Revisions: A Panel Study at Multiple Horizons
Author: Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Mr. Luca A Ricci, Alejandro Mariano Werner, and Rene Zamarripa