Archive by topic: Are you smarter than an economist?

Smarter than the Apple Analysts?

January 20th, 2011

As you may recall, last Spring, I held a contest, “Are you smarter than an economist?” My two winners, who received $1,000 each for their on-target predictions, were “ordinary” people–well, definitely not economists.

Now, according to, financial bloggers did better than professional analysts in predicting Apple’s revenue, earnings, gross margins, and unit sales for Q1 2011.

Hmmmm…what does this say about professional economists and stock analysts?

And the winners are……

November 2nd, 2010

The results are in!  The checks, $1,000 each, are in the mail.  The two winners of my contest, “Are you smarter than an economist?” are Gary Ritner, a Bellevue, Washington-based investment banker and co-founder of the Puget Sound Venture Club and Jeff Smith, a Project Manager for Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois.

As you may recall, winners needed to predict correctly when GDP would improve at least 2% from the prior quarter and when unemployment would be the same or better than the same month in the prior year.

Jeff predicted 3rd quarter ’09 and June ’10, for GDP and unemployment, respectively; Gary, 4th quarter ’09 and June ’10.

You may well be asking yourself:  If they had two different GDP predictions, how could both of them be winners?  The answer?  After the contest started, the Bureau of Economic Analysis apparently changed the formula for calculating GDP.  As of 3/26/10, the BEA website reported GDP improvement in Q3 ‘09 in chained dollars was 2.2%; as of 8/27/10, however, the website showed only 1.6% for Q3, but improvement of 5.0% in Q4.

So…that’s that—except I think the press should be asking Jeff and Gary what they predict for the future of the economy!  They were smarter than many economists!

Finalists for “Are you smarter than an economist?

May 31st, 2010

As you  know, I offered a prize of $1,000 to the person who accurately predicted an improvement in two measures: change in GDP and employment. Entries are closed, but the winner–and whether there will be one– is still unknown.

  • 130 people entered the contest.
  • The first measure, growth in GDP, was reached in the 3rd quarter of last year.
  • 13 guessed right on GDP.
  • Of those,  only 6 may still be correct on unemployment (Unemployment predictions for the 13 varied from September 2009 through October of 2011.)
  • Stay tuned–I’ll let you know the outcome, but at the rate things are going, it could be a while; e.g., April unemployment has gone from 5.0% in ’08 to 8.9% in ’09 to 9.9% this year.

Are you smarter than an economist? An update

May 17th, 2009

Are you smarter than an economist?

May 11th, 2009
Click here to go to the new contest page we created so we could add an entry form and a graph showing what people have predicted so far.  (You can still see the first entries and comments below this post.)
Good luck with your entry!