Does Alternative Data Improve Financial Forecasting? The Horizon Effect

68 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2021

See all articles by Olivier Dessaint

Olivier Dessaint

INSEAD

Thierry Foucault

HEC Paris - Finance Department

Laurent Frésard

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

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Date Written: February 2021

Abstract

We analyze the effect of alternative data on the informativeness of financial forecasts. Our starting hypothesis is that the emergence of alternative data reduces the cost of obtaining information about firms' short-term cash-flows more than their long-term cash-flows. If correct, and forecasting short-term and long-term cash-flows are distinct tasks, analysts will reduce effort to process long-term information when alternative data become available. Alternative data thus makes long-term forecasts less informative, while increasing the informativeness of short-term forecasts. We confirm this prediction using variations in analysts' exposure to social media data and a new measure of forecast informativeness at various horizons.

JEL Classification: D84, G14, G17, M41

Suggested Citation

Dessaint, Olivier and Foucault, Thierry and Frésard, Laurent, Does Alternative Data Improve Financial Forecasting? The Horizon Effect (February 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15786, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3784024

Olivier Dessaint (Contact Author)

INSEAD

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Thierry Foucault

HEC Paris - Finance Department ( email )

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

HOME PAGE: http://thierryfoucault.com/

Laurent Frésard

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
Switzerland

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