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Instructions

Complete FREDcast™ User Manual

FREDcast™ is an interactive forecasting game in which players make forecasts for four economic releases: GDP, inflation, employment, and unemployment. All forecasts are for the current month—or current quarter in the case of GDP. Forecasts must be submitted by the 20th of the current month. For real GDP growth, players submit a forecast for current-quarter GDP each month during the current quarter. Forecasts for each of the four variables are scored for accuracy, and a total monthly score is obtained from these scores. Scores for each monthly forecast are based on the magnitude of the forecast error. These monthly scores are weighted over time and accumulated to give an overall performance.

Higher scores reflect greater accuracy over time. Past months' performances are downweighted so that more-recent performance plays a larger part in the scoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there two leaderboards?

There are two types of scores in FREDcast™: monthly points and all-time scores. Monthly points are a measure of how well a player does in any one particular month. All-time scores are a weighted aggregation of monthly points. A player’s monthly points affect the all-time score, but the all-time score does not affect monthly points.

How are the monthly points calculated?

A player’s forecasts are scored separately for accuracy and then summed up to one monthly points score. A player can earn up to 250 points for each economic data series, for a potential total of 1,000 points each month. Points awarded are inversely related to the player’s absolute forecast error. A higher absolute forecast error (i.e., your forecast is farther away from the actual release) means fewer monthly points. Use the send feedback form to request exact formulas.

How are the all-time scores calculated?

The all-time score is a weighted sum of monthly points. In other words, a player’s all-time score is adjusted up or down by the points earned from previous forecasts. A player’s current monthly points receive the greatest weight in the all-time score, while prior monthly points diminish in weight. The effect of points earned from prior months’ forecasts on the all-time score lessens over time, but will never be zero. Use the send feedback form to request exact formulas.

For example, a user who earns the full 1,000 points in one month but who did poorly in previous months (or has not forecasted in the past) may receive a lower all-time score than someone whose forecasts consistently have smaller forecast errors.

Why is my all-time score less than my monthly points?

The all-time score is weighted, so the most recent monthly points are multiplied by approximately 0.5. If you do not have a long scoring history to add to your current monthly points, it is likely that your all-time score is lower than your current monthly points score.

Is a higher score better?

Yes. Negative scores are bad.

Do prior months’ forecasts affect a player’s monthly points?

No.

Do prior months’ forecasts affect a player’s all-time score?

Yes.

My forecasts for GDP and the unemployment rate both missed by 0.1 percentage points but my score for GDP was higher. Why is that?

The scores for forecasting different economic releases also take into account how difficult it is to forecast those specific releases. The sample variance of GDP is higher than the variance of unemployment, so the score for forecasting GDP is weighted higher in a player's overall score for the month.

Can two players end up with different all-time scores following identical monthly forecasts?

Yes. There are two scenarios where players may end up with different all-time scores following identical monthly forecasts.

  • If Player A and Player B forecast the same values in May resulting in the same monthly points for May, but Player B forecasted different values from Player A in April, then Player B’s all-time score will not equal Player A’s.
  • If two players have forecasted the same values in one month, but Player A has a longer history than Player B, their all-time scores will be different.

Why is my monthly points score negative?

Up to 250 points are awarded for each economic data series. The scoring formula starts with 250 and takes points away based on how far a player’s forecast is from the actual number. A larger distance means fewer points. If a forecast is sufficiently far away from the actual number, the total amount of points lost will exceed 250 and result in a negative score.

What are FREDcast™ badges?

You receive FREDcast™ badges for achieving certain in-game goals such as making your first forecast. The full list of badges is here.

Can I receive more than one badge per month for the same accomplishment?

No. For example, if you receive a badge for being in the top ten percent of the leaderboard in a month after one series is released and scored, you will not receive another badge if you stay in the top ten percent when a subsequent series is released and scored.

Do I receive a badge for every league I am in?

For some achievements, you can receive a badge for each league if the badge is league- specific. For example, being in the top ten percent of a league is a league-specific achievement. You can receive one badge for being in the top ten percent of each of your private leagues, which will display on your scoreboard for those leagues, and a different badge for being in the top ten percent of the public league.


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