Research and Policy Analysis
Practical Empirical Research: Forecasts and Research Applied to User Needs
Inforum pioneered the development and use of dynamic multisectoral models which use actual data from national economic accounts. Our flagship model for the United States is called LIFT, for Long-Term Interindustry Forecasting Tool. Inforum studies are distinguished by their ability to show how changes in the macroeconomic and policy environments can affect individual industries.
To keep users abreast of our forecasts and developments with our model, Inforum holds an Outlook Conference each year, usually in November. We report on the economic outlook, on industrial impacts of current developments -- such as tax reforms, changing exchange rates, or oil prices -- and on new features in our models. Users often present their applications to the group.
Model seminars can be conducted at any desired location, to discuss forecasts, applications, and other topics. Workshops can combine applications with the use of our software.
The Inforum model is a dynamic model that integrates industry relationships within the macroeconomy. This makes it ideal for the study of many types of policy questions that are of interest to businesses, trade associations, and government. Some examples include:
- What effect will reduced military spending have on employment and prices for certain industries?
- How will changes in immigration policies affect employment growth in the U.S. ?
- How will changes in Social Security and Medicare policies affect labor costs in the manufacturing sector?
- How will a repeal of the gasoline tax affect industries?
- What are the employment and output effects by industry stemming from the imposition of trade barriers on a certain good?
These questions are all examples of concern about the industrial impacts of macroeconomic developments. Many economists would use input-output analysis in some form and at some stage to answer these questions. The "top down" approach is to use an aggregate macroeconomic model to find the macroeconomic effects and then turn to input-output analysis to spell out the industrial consequences. In this approach, what happens at the industry level never affects the macro totals. Inforum uses a "bottom up" approach which is to build an integrated model that puts the input-output information and macroeconomic relationships into one model, so that the industry effects are built into the macro results. Inforum's LIFT model is uniquely qualified to answer policy questions in the following areas:
The needs of a user often go beyond a standard forecast and require special studies drawing on Inforum's strengths. Some recent studies include: