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The Usefulness of Consumer Confidence Indexes in the United States

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  • Brigitte Desroches
  • Marc-André Gosselin
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 02-22.

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    Length: 34 pages Abstract: This paper assesses the usefulness of consumer confidence indexes in forecasting aggregate consumer spending in the United States. The literature generally dismisses the relevance of these indexes. Without formal modelling, however, some researchers (Garner 1991 and Throop 1992) suggest that the indexes could be helpful during periods of major economic or political shocks. Such periods are usually associated with high volatility of consumer confidence, suggesting that large swings in confidence could be useful indicators of consumption. Our work distinguishes itself from previous research in that we provide a rigorous assessment of this possibility by estimating a consumption function in which only large variations of confidence can affect spending. Our results show that economists and forecasters should pay attention to consumer confidence, especially in times of elevated economic or political uncertainty.
    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:02-22

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    Keywords: Domestic demand and components; Economic models; International topics;

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    Cited by:
    1. Loría, Eduardo & Brito, L., 2004. "Is the Consumer Confidence Index a Sound Predictor of the Private Demand in the United States?," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 22, pages 1-15, Diciembre.
    2. Bahram Adrangi & Joseph Macri, 2011. "Consumer Confidence and Aggregate Consumption Expenditures in the United States," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 1, pages 1-18, February.
    3. Claudia Godbout & Jocelyn Jacob, 2010. "Le pouvoir de prévision des indices PMI," Discussion Papers 10-3, Bank of Canada.
    4. Easaw, Joshy Z. & Ghoshray, Atanu, 2007. "Confidence or competence: Do presidencies matter for households' subjective preferences?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1025-1037, December.
    5. Dudek, Sławomir, 2008. "Consumer Survey Data and short-term forecasting of households consumption expenditures in Poland," MPRA Paper 19818, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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