Roy L. Nersesian challenges traditional forecasting methods that rely strictly on ecometric models, arguing that they igre a fundamental aspect of the business cycle--human emotional responses to ecomic stimuli. Nersesian advocates instead the development of forecasting models that incorporate human behavior into the process, and he provides a tool--computer simulation--which can be used for this purpose. As Nersesian demonstrates, such consumer attitudes as confidence in the future, fear of depression, even passing fads can have a profound effect on business activity and are often far more predictive of the future than are the thousands of mathematical equations used to develop a forecast built upon ecometrics. By using simulation to factor potential consumer responses into the forecasting process, Nersesian is able to tie forecasting to the consequences of human behavior and thereby determine the way in which attitudes play a role in affecting the future course of business. Nersesian's study is organized around a series of questions about the business cycle: If ecomic activity is influenced by the nature of decisions, and if decisions are based partly on human responses to such things as prices and costs, and partly on human emotions, shouldn't the forecasting process itself incorporate human behavior? If human behavior in turn is influenced by factors such as price, cost, and inventory, and the general level of confidence in the future, should these t be incorporated in the forecasting process? In order to address these questions, Nersesian creates a simple island society and demonstrates how to use simulation to assess the effects of elements that might cause a change of consumer sentiment during the forecast period. As Nersesian concludes, a change of consumer sentiment at any time during the forecast period can have significant implications for the accuracy or usefulness of a forecast used in the corporate planning process. Both students of forecasting and corporate planners will find Nersesian's work illuminating reading.
ROY L. NERSESIAN is Chair of the Management Department at the School of Business Administration, Monmouth College. He is the author of Computer Simulation in Business Decision Making also published by Quorum Books.