Discussion paper

DP3821 Estimating Loss Function Parameters

In situations where a sequence of forecasts is observed, a common strategy is to examine ?rationality? conditional on a given loss function. We examine this from a different perspective - supposing that we have a family of loss functions indexed by unknown shape parameters, then given the forecasts can we back out the loss function parameters consistent with the forecasts being rational even when we do not observe the underlying forecasting model? We establish identification of the parameters of a general class of loss functions that nest popular loss functions as special cases and provide estimation methods and asymptotic distributional results for these parameters. The methods are applied in an empirical analysis of IMF and OECD forecasts of budget deficits for the G7 countries. We find that allowing for asymmetric loss can significantly change the outcome of empirical tests of forecast rationality.


Timmermann, A, G Elliott and I Komunjer (2003), ‘DP3821 Estimating Loss Function Parameters‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3821. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp3821