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Financial Forecasting in the Global Economy Highlights 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting
Global climate change, political elections, Wall Street accounting and sports outcomes among other topics at world's premier forecasting conference, June 24-27

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 20, 2007) -- More than 400 forecasters, including economists, financial analysts, climatologists, political scientists and psychologists, will gather beginning on June 24 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting (ISF). The symposium, presented by the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) and organized by the University at Albany's Kajal Lahiri and Terrence Kinal, will bring internationally recognized forecasting researchers, practitioners and students to the financial center of the world for a four-day summit.

"Financial Forecasting in the Global Economy" is the theme for the conference, but presentations will be given on global climate change, predicting political outcomes (including the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election), sports forecasting as well as discussions on Wall Street accounting and public health crises.

"This conference is unique in that it isn't simply a gathering of economists or financial analysts," said Lahiri, conference co-organizer and Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University at Albany. "This is truly a gathering of the world's foremost forecasters across a spectrum of disciplines: health and psychology, accounting, global energy consumption and climate change, and sports forecasting. This is also an opportunity to learn in what ways these subjects overlap, and what methods can be shared."

More than 300 papers will be presented at the conference, which will feature participants from 50 countries.
 
Highlights:

Monday, June 25, 1 p.m.: Presidential Election
 
"The Time for Change Model and the 2008 Presidential Election" by Alan I. Abramowitz (Emory University):  Using the "time for change" model, which has correctly predicted the popular vote winner in the last four presidential elections with an average margin of error of less than 2 percentage points, to examine the outlook for the 2008 presidential election and to make conditional forecasts of the outcome of that contest.  According to the model, 2008 will be a time for change election since the Republican Party will have held the presidency for eight years, making it much more difficult for the incumbent party to maintain its hold on the White House.  Moreover, given the likely values of the other two predictors in the model, real GDP growth and net presidential approval, the model suggests that a change in party control of the White House is highly likely in 2008 regardless of the identities of the major party nominees. Other presentations include: "Forecasting Tests: the 2008 Presidential Election" by Charles Tien (Hunter College) and Michael Lewis-Beck (University of Iowa); "The Economy and the Presidential Vote: What Leading Indicators Reveal Well in Advance" by Christopher Wlezien (Temple University)

Tuesday, June 26, 8 a.m.: Issues and Prospects for prediction of Climate on Multiple Time Scales

Keynote speaker Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research will discuss climate systems and predictability of long-term climate change, including impact of El Niņo.

Tuesday, June 26, 9 a.m.: Economic Outlook for 2007-2008

Panelists Gail Fosler (The Conference Board), Jason Benderly (Benderly Economics Inc.) and Chris Varvares (Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC) will discuss where the U.S. Economy is headed in the coming year - Did the housing sector hit rock bottom? Will slower economic growth continue?

Tuesday, June 26, 9 a.m.: A Survey of Results from Sports Forecasts

Featured Speaker Herman Stekler, research professor of economics at George Washington University, will look at horse racing, football, baseball and basketball among other sports to look at the biases of market forecasts, models that describe the factors determining the outcomes of sporting events, and comparisons to other specialized forecasting fields.

Tuesday, June 26, 2:15 p.m.: Financial forecasting and valuation: accounting for the Future

Featured speaker Stephen H. Penman, the George O. May Professor of Accounting and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Research Scholar at the Columbia Business School, will talk about how accounting is incorporated into forecasting and equity valuation. The focus is not only for forecasting and equity analysis but for setting accounting standards for reporting information to equity investors.

Wednesday, June 27, 8 a.m.: Anticipating Correlations: New Results

Keynote speaker Robert Engle, the Michael Armellino Professor of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business and winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics, will discuss factors behind Wall Street risk, financial volatility and optimal portfolio selections.

Wednesday, June 27, 10:45 a.m.: Auditing Public Policy Forecasting: Climate Change, Gun Control, and Other Issues

Keynote speaker J. Scott Armstrong, professor of marketing at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, looks at the methods, often unfounded, that have led people to argue for major interventions by governments with respect to climate change. Armstrong will formally issue a $20,000 challenge to Al Gore, star of An Inconvenient Truth (2006), that he will be able to make more accurate forecasts of global warming temperatures than those produced by the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group at the symposium.

For more information, visit the conference Web site or contact Kajal Lahiri, conference chair, at (518) 894-4777, or Geoff Allen, IIF president, at (413) 575-5607.


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