The sum and its parts: Judgmental hierarchical forecasting

Mirko Kremer, Enno Siemsen, Douglas J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Firms require demand forecasts at different levels of aggregation to support a variety of resource allocation decisions. For example, a retailer needs store-level forecasts to manage inventory at the store, but also requires a regionally aggregated forecast for managing inventory at a distribution center. In generating an aggregate forecast, a firm can choose to make the forecast directly based on the aggregated data or indirectly by summing lower-level forecasts (i.e., bottom up). Our study investigates the relative performance of such hierarchical forecasting processes through a behavioral lens. We identify two judgment biases that affect the relative performance of direct and indirect forecasting approaches: a propensity for random judgment errors and a failure to benefit from the informational value that is embedded in the correlation structure between lowerlevel demands. Based on these biases, we characterize demand environments where one hierarchical process results in more accurate forecasts than the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2745-2764
Number of pages20
JournalManagement Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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