Inforum, or the Interindustry Forecasting Project at the University of Maryland, was founded 40 years ago by Dr. Clopper Almon, now Professor Emeritus of the University. It is dedicated to improving business planning, government policy analysis, and the general understanding of the economic environment. Inforum accomplishes this mission through:
- Building and using structural economic models of U.S. and other economies. Inforum pioneered the construction of dynamic, interindustry, macroeconomic models which portray the economy in a unique "bottom-up" fashion.
- Working with government and private sector research sponsors to investigate a variety of issues. Economic projections and analysis using Inforum econometric models are distinguished by detail at the industrial and product level.
- Serving as a training crucible for University of Maryland graduate students who receive valuable training in empirical economics. Indeed, Inforum graduate research assistants have completed over 40 PhD dissertations, most of which have contributed directly to the infrastructure of Inforum.
- Maintaining active and productive ties with a world-wide network of research associates, each of which uses Inforum modeling methods and software. The Inforum partners have held annual conferences since 1993.
Most of Inforum's analyses involve the development and use of Interindustry-Macroeconomic (IM) models that combine input-output structure with econometric equations in a dynamic and detailed framework. Because of their ability to portray the detailed structure of economies over actual time periods, these models fill an important gap in the inventory of existing models of the U.S. and foreign economies. For example, the models are used to answer "what if" questions on the impact across industries of fluctuation in the macroeconomic environment, such as changes in exchange rate or tax policy. The effects on demands, revenue, production, and trade can be described at a level of 97 sectors, or for many scenarios, at the 360 sector-level.
Inforum researchers explore economic phenomena and principles in a nonpartisan fashion, according to generally accepted economic theory and econometric methods, regardless of the implications for public policy or private strategy. It is known for proficiency with specific economic data and methodologies, especially for industry-level data, input-output techniques, global data sets, international comparisons, and modeling software. Using this expertise, Inforum also builds industrial forecasting and "satellite" models to connect data for more detailed sectors to a more aggregated environment. Indeed, many sponsors use Inforum software and models on their computers for routine analysis or issue-specific research.