Conference on the History of Business and Economic Forecasting

11 02 2013


Friday 22 March 2013

University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading

Forecasts have had a profound impact on economic behaviour. Optimistic forecasts can generate booms, whilst pessimistic forecasts can tip an economy into recession. In the twentieth century forecasting has become big business, with governments, banks and private consultancies all producing regular annual, monthly or even weekly forecasts. Forecasts cover commodity prices, equity prices, interest rates, inflation rates, gross domestic product, and so on.  Forecasts influence the policies of governments, the strategies of firms and the positions taken by speculators.

This conference reviews that growth of the forecasting industry, with special reference to the US and UK. It addresses the philosophical roots of forecasting, the development of practical forecasting methods, the evolution of the commercial market for forecasts, and the impact of forecasting on business consultancy. The conference brings together experts from a range of relevant disciplines, including business and economic history, economics and econometrics and mathematics and statistics.

Whilst there is no charge for attendance at this conference it is recommended that you register early to secure a place. Please contact Amanda Harvey by email

 Draft Programme


  • From 9:30

Session 1 Chair: Professor Peter Scott (Henley Business School, University of Reading)

  • 10.00  Professor Walter Friedman (Harvard Business School) ‘The rise of business forecasting in the United States’

11.00   Coffee

Session 2 Chair: Mr. John Aldrich (Department of Economics, University of Southampton)

  • 11.30  Professor Kerry Patterson (Department of Economics, University of Reading) and Professor Terence C. Mills (School of Business and Economics, University of Loughborough)‘The development of econometric techniques and their influence on economic forecasting in Britain [provisional]
  • 12.15  Professor Mark Wardman (Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds) ‘Forecasting railway passenger demand’

1.00 Lunch

Session 3: Chair: Dr. Eileen Magnello (Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London)

  • 2.00 Professor Marcel Boumans (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam) ‘Model-based expert consensus in economic forecasting’
  • 2.45 Professor Nick Bingham (Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London) ‘The impact of probability and statistical theory on the development of forecasting’ [provisional] 

3.30     Tea

Session 4: Chair: Dr. Lisa Bud-Frierman (Centre for Institutional Performance, University of Reading)

  • 4.00 Dr Christopher McKenna (Said Business School, University of Oxford) and Mr Antonio E. Weiss (Birkbeck College, University of London) ‘Management Consulting and Market for Economic Forecasting’ [provisional]

4.45     General discussion

5.00     Drinks

6.00    Dinner



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: