The Livingston Survey was created and originally administered by columnist Joseph Livingston in 1946. He administered it biannually until his death in 1990. In 1990, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia took over responsibility for administering the survey.
A 1997 paper by Dean Croushure of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia described the history of the survey, argued for its usefulness in testing rational expectations hypotheses through the comparison of forecasts with reality, and explained how the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia was taking over the survey.
Variables and data sources
The forecasts made by the Livingston Survey of its variables are compared with actual values reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (in its Survey of Current Business), Federal Reserve Board, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Forecasts are made for the values of all variables six months from now and twelve months from now (i.e., coinciding in time with the next two administrations of the survey). The variables forecast are subdivided into variables reported quarterly, monthly, and daily. For variables reported quarterly, forecasts for the values two quarters from now and four quarters from now are recorded. For variables reported monthly, forecasts for the values six months from now and twelve months from now are recorded. Similarly, for variables reported daily, forecasts are recorded for the value on the last day of the month six months and twelve months from now.
- The June survey includes forecasts for the annual average for the current year and for the next year.
- The December survey includes forecasts for the annual average for the current year and for the next two years.
Beginning with the survey of June 1990 (and excluding December 1990) two other long-range forecast questions were included in the survey:
- The 10-year annual-average rate of consumer price index inflation.
- The 10-year annual-average rate of growth in real GDP.
The main variables are as follows:
- The quarterly variables include various measures of gross domestic product (including real GDP and nominal GDP).
- The monthly variables include measures of the consumer price index, housing starts, industrial production, and unemployment.
- The daily variables include various interest rate measures and the S&P 500 index value.
There is extensive academic research citing the Livingston Survey, including some devoted to evaluating the accuracy and bias in the forecasts. For instance, a 1983 paper by Dietrich and Joines began with the observation: "For more than a decade, researchers have been using the Livingston survey data on inflationary expectations in empirical work."
The heyday of use for the Livingston Survey was the late 1970s and early 1980s, because it was the main survey of forecasts that had been around for a sufficiently long time at the time. Around 1990, research on forecast accuracy switched to using the Survey of Professional Forecasters and Blue Chip Economic Indicators, and more recent research has focused on the Consensus Forecasts.
Reception in the press and blogs
- "Livingston Survey". Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- "Livingston Survey Documentation" (PDF). Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. November 26, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- Croushure, Dean (March–April 1997). "The Livingston Survey: Still Useful After All These Years" (PDF). Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- "Data Sources and Descriptions" (PDF). Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- "Academic Bibliography". Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- Figlewski, Stephen; Wachtel, Paul (February 1981). "The Formation of Inflationary Expectations". The Review of Economics and Statistics. MIT Press. 63 (1): 1–10. doi:10.2307/1924211. JSTOR 1924211.
- Dietrich, Kimball; Joines, Douglas (August 1983). "Rational Expectations, Informational Efficiency, and Tests Using Survey Data: A Comment". The Review of Economics and Statistics. MIT Press. 65: 525–529. JSTOR 1924203.
- Kavadas, Ted. "S&P500 Price Projections – Livingston Survey December 2013". EconomicGreenfield.
- "Livingston Survey: Cut Predictions for Growth Early Next Year". Global Economic Intersection. December 12, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2014.