NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Nicholas Parker

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Atlanta
United States

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2019Surveying Business Uncertainty
with David Altig, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Brent H. Meyer: w25956
We elicit subjective probability distributions from business executives about their own-firm outcomes at a one-year look-ahead horizon. In terms of question design, our key innovation is to let survey respondents freely select support points and probabilities in five-point distributions over future sales growth, employment, and investment. In terms of data collection, we develop and field a new monthly panel Survey of Business Uncertainty. The SBU began in 2014 and now covers about 1,750 firms drawn from all 50 states, every major nonfarm industry, and a range of firm sizes. We find three key results. First, firm-level growth expectations are highly predictive of realized growth rates. Second, subjective uncertainty is highly predictive of forecast errors and the magnitude of future foreca...
 
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