The Usefulness of Consumer Confidence Indexes in the United States
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 02-22.
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:
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Domestic demand and components; Economic models; International topics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
- E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
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