Welcome to the Forecasting Center of the Kiel Institute
The Forecasting Center is the Kiel Institute’s macroeconomic think tank and business cycle analysis unit. Based on an ongoing extensive diagnosis of global economic developments and policy challenges, the team’s routine activity focuses on quarterly forecasts for the world economy, the European economy, and the German economy in particular (2-year horizon). Twice a year, the German short-run forecasts are complemented by medium-term projections (5-year horizon) including an in-depth analysis of potential output. We also publish a battery of indicators covering various aspects of economic activity on a regular basis.
Boxes covering special hot topics and methodological background material are integrated into our business cycle reports. They are also separately available in the IfW-Box series. Every two months, researchers from the Forecasting Center contribute to the business cycle highlight column of the Wirtschaftsdienst, Germany’s leading monthly journal on applied economic research and policy analysis. By various other publications we continuously bring our expertise and research results into the scientific debate and prepare policy recommendations. Informing the wider public via the media is an important part of our daily work.
The center cooperates with partners all over the world and is a member of the major European research networks in its field of expertise (EUROFRAME and AIECE). The bi-annual Kieler Konjunkturgespräche (KKG) is our flagship conference on international business cycle analysis. Here we share our research outcomes and discuss global macroeconomic issues with other forecasters, policy makers, and business leaders.
Next to our regular work on business cycle analysis, we are heavily involved in research and consulting projects for policy makers, international organizations, and corporates. On an annual basis, researchers from the Forecasting Center organize solution-oriented sessions on global macroeconomic issues for the Global Economic Symposium.
As a part of applied economic research, economic forecasting combines theoretical reasoning with empirical research. Thinking ahead of the present based on sound economics and relevant data is our passion. Of course, no matter how hard economists try, the future remains inherently uncertain. As business cycle researchers we strive for detecting typical patterns in economic development, not for deterministic paths. Economic processes are driven by human action that – framed by the institutional environment – remains open to individual choices. However, the results are typically not left to pure chance. The regular patterns of macroeconomic trends and fluctuations are the basis of our scientific work and the predictions we derive from it. Forecasting exercises are important for systematic economic decision making (both for governments and corporates) and by producing foresight they serve as an early warning system for unsustainable developments.
Scientific forecasting does not excel by being always right but by allowing for inter-subjective comprehension. Explaining the methodology, clarifying assumptions, and assessing risks are indispensable to an adequate understanding of forecasts. In our comprehensive business cycle reports you find all that. Clearly, forecasting as we see it is much more than number crunching.
In the economic sphere, an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.
(Frédéric Bastiat: What Is Seen and What is Not Seen)