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Uncertain FuturesImaginaries, Narratives, and Calculation in the Economy$
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Jens Beckert and Richard Bronk

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198820802

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198820802.001.0001

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The Interactional Foundations of Economic Forecasting

The Interactional Foundations of Economic Forecasting

(p.105) 5 The Interactional Foundations of Economic Forecasting
Uncertain Futures

Werner Reichmann

Oxford University Press

How do economic forecasters produce legitimate and credible predictions of the economic future, despite most of the economy being transmutable and indeterminate? Using data from a case study of economic forecasting institutes in Germany, this chapter argues that the production of credible economic futures depends on an epistemic process embedded in various forms of interaction. This interactional foundation—through ‘foretalk’ and ‘epistemic participation’ in networks of internal and external interlocutors—sharpens economic forecasts in three ways. First, it brings to light new imaginaries of the economic future, allowing forecasters to spot emerging developments they would otherwise have missed. Second, it ensures the forecasts’ social legitimacy. And finally, it increases the forecasts’ epistemic quality by providing decentralized information about the intentions and assumptions of key economic and political actors.

Keywords:   economic forecasting, epistemic participation, expectations, foretalk, future, herding, interaction

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