Does Big Data Improve Financial Forecasting? The Horizon Effect

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See all articles by Olivier Dessaint

Olivier Dessaint


Thierry Foucault

HEC Paris - Finance Department

Laurent Frésard

Universita della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano); Swiss Finance Institute

Date Written: September 30, 2020


We study how data abundance affects the informativeness of financial analysts' forecasts at various horizons. Analysts produce forecasts of short-term and long-term earnings and choose how much information to collect about each horizon to minimize their expected forecasting error, net of information acquisition costs. When the cost of obtaining short-term information drops (i.e., more data becomes available), analysts change their information collection strategy in a way that renders their short-term forecasts more informative but that possibly reduces the informativeness of their long-term forecasts. Using a large sample of analysts' forecasts at various horizons and novel measures of their exposure to abundant data (e.g., social media data), we provide empirical support for this prediction, which implies that data abundance can impair the quality of long-term forecasts.

Keywords: Big data, Financial analysts' forecasts, Forecasting horizon, Forecasts' informativeness, Social media

JEL Classification: D84, G14, G17, M41

Suggested Citation

Dessaint, Olivier and Foucault, Thierry and Frésard, Laurent, Does Big Data Improve Financial Forecasting? The Horizon Effect (September 30, 2020). Available at SSRN:

Olivier Dessaint


Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex

Thierry Foucault

HEC Paris - Finance Department ( email )

1 rue de la Liberation
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
(33)139679569 (Phone)
(33)139677085 (Fax)


Laurent Frésard (Contact Author)

Universita della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano) ( email )

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4

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