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Beating the Business Cycle: Can Turning Points in the Economy be Predicted?

Thursday, June 23, 2005 12:30-2:00 p.m.
(light refreshments will be served)
IMF Meeting Hall B (Visitors enter via the IMF Center)
720 19th St. NW, Washington, DC

Transcript of the book forum

This Book Forum is free and open to the public.

For security reasons, please RSVP to or
(202) 623-7001. A picture ID will be required; persons and bags will be screened.

Please arrive 15-20 minutes early to allow for these additional measures. Visitors should enter through the IMF Center, 720 19th St. NW.

Only IMF/World Bank Staff ID holders should use IMF main entrance at 700 19th St. NW.

Economists have a dismal record of predicting turning points in the economy. The record of failure to predict recessions is virtually unblemished. But in their new book, Beating the Business Cycle: How to Predict and Profit from Turning Points in the Economy, Lakshman Achuthan and Anirvan Banerji claim that it is possible to design an "economic dashboard" to predict turning points in the U.S. and other economies. According to The Economist, the method used by Achuthan and Banerji has given "advance warning of each of the past three [U.S.] recessions; just as impressive, it has never issued a false alarm."

Anirvan Banerji
, Director of Research, Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI)


Fred Joutz, Associate Professor of Economics, George Washington University, and Director, Research Program on Forecasting

Robert Lenzner, National Editor, Forbes

Moderated by:
Subir Lall
, Deputy Division Chief, Research Department, IMF.

* * * *

Anirvan Banerji helped establish ECRI in 1996 after a decade of working at Columbia University with the noted economist Geoffrey Moore on the construction of leading indicators. Banerji is a member of the OECD Expert Group on Leading Indicators, and is Forecast Chair of the Forecasters Club of New York. He received his education at the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur), the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) and Columbia University.

Frederick Joutz is Associate Professor and Director of the Research Program on Forecasting at George Washington University. He contributes forecasts to the Survey of Professional Forecasters, produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington. He joined GWU in 1988 and his research interests are macroeconometrics, energy economics, time series analysis and forecasting.

Subir Lall is Deputy Division Chief of the World Economic Studies division, which produces the IMF's biannual World Economic Outlook. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Delhi, and a Master's and Ph.D. in Economics from Brown University. His research interests include speculation and currency crises, capital flows and financial crises, and financial market microstructure.

Robert Lenzner is National Editor of Forbes magazine, which he joined as a Senior Editor in 1992. Prior to joining Forbes, Mr. Lenzner was with the Boston Globe and Goldman Sachs & Co. He is the author of The Great Getty, a biography of J. Paul Getty, which spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Mr. Lenzner has a B.A. (cum laude) from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.