Accuracy of Projections
CBO’s Projections of Federal Health Care Spending
In a letter to Senator Whitehouse, CBO gauges the accuracy of its projections of federal health care spending over time. In 2010, CBO overestimated mandatory spending for health care in its projections for the 2010–2020 period.
CBO’s Projections of Realized Capital Gains Subject to the Individual Income Tax
This slide deck provides additional information about CBO’s February 2023 baseline projections of capital gains realizations, which decrease from an estimated high of 8.7 percent of GDP in 2021 down to 3.7 percent of GDP by 2033.
The Accuracy of CBO’s Budget Projections for Fiscal Year 2022
In its July 2021 projections for fiscal year 2022, CBO underestimated revenues by 10 percent and outlays by 5 percent. CBO’s projection of the federal budget deficit for 2022 was more than the actual amount by 0.8 percent of GDP.
The Accuracy of CBO’s Budget Projections for Fiscal Year 2021
In its March 2020 projections for fiscal year 2021, CBO underestimated revenues by 15 percent and overestimated outlays by 4 percent. CBO’s projection of the federal budget deficit in 2021 was more than the actual amount by 3.9 percent of GDP.
The Accuracy of CBO’s Budget Projections for Fiscal Year 2020
In its 2019 projections for fiscal year 2020, CBO underestimated revenues by 9 percent and outlays by 3 percent. CBO’s projection of the federal budget deficit in 2020 was more than the actual amount by 0.5 percent of GDP.
An Evaluation of CBO’s Past Revenue Projections
The average error for CBO’s budget-year revenue projections is 1.2 percent, indicating the agency has tended to slightly overestimate revenues. For the agency’s sixth-year revenue projections, the average error is greater—5.6 percent.
- Working Paper
CBO's Oil Price Forecasting Record: Working Paper 2020-03
Oil prices are one of the economic variables that underlie CBO's projections of the federal budget. This paper describes CBO's methods to forecast oil prices and evaluates the quality of the agency's historical forecasts.
The Accuracy of CBO’s Baseline Estimates for Fiscal Year 2019
In its 2018 projections for fiscal year 2019, CBO overestimated revenues and underestimated outlays by 0.8 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. CBO’s projection of the federal budget deficit in 2019 was less than the actual amount by 0.1 percent of GDP.
An Evaluation of CBO’s Past Deficit and Debt Projections
CBO analyzes its baseline projections of deficits and debt held by the public that were made each year beginning in 1984. In this report, CBO reviews its projections for the first and fifth years after the fiscal year already under way.
A Review of CBO’s Estimate of the Effects of the Recovery Act on SNAP
In 2009, the Recovery Act boosted monthly benefits for SNAP. The resulting increase in spending on SNAP benefits from 2009 to 2013 was greater than CBO had estimated. This report discusses that underestimate and the reasons for it.