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Forecasting Private Consumption by Consumer Surveys

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  • Christian Dreger
  • Konstantin A. Kholodilin

Abstract

Survey-based indicators such as the consumer confidence are widely seen as leading indicators for economic activity, especially for the future path of private consumption. Although they receive high attention in the media, their forecasting power appears to be very limited. Therefore, this paper takes a fresh look on the survey data, which serve as a basis for the consumer confidence indicator (CCI) reported by the EU Commission for the euro area and individual member states. Different pooling methods are considered to exploit the information embedded in the consumer survey. Quantitative forecasts are based on Mixed Data Sampling (MIDAS) and bridge equations. While the CCI does not outperform an autoregressive benchmark for the majority of countries, the new indicators increase the forecasting performance. The gains over the CCI are striking for Italy and the entire euro area (20 percent). For Germany and France the gains seem to be lower, but are nevertheless substantial (10 to 15 percent). The best performing indicator should be built upon pre-selection methods, while data-driven aggregation methods should be preferred to determine the weights of the individual ingredients.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1066.

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Length: 27 p.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1066

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Keywords: Consumer confidence; consumption; nowcasting; mixed frequency data;

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References

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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "How Should We Measure Consumer Confidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 51-66, Spring.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Scott, Andrew, 1994. "Consumer Confidence and Rational Expectations: Are Agents' Beliefs Consistent with the Theory?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(422), pages 1-19, January.
  3. Jason Bram & Sydney Ludvigson, 1997. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure?: A sentiment index horse race," Research Paper 9708, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Christian Dreger & Christian Schumacher, 2005. "Out-of-sample Performance of Leading Indicators for the German Business Cycle: Single vs. Combined Forecasts," Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing,CIRET, vol. 2005(1), pages 71-87.
  5. Peter Reinhard Hansen & Asger Lunde & James M. Nason, 2005. "Model confidence sets for forecasting models," Working Paper 2005-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Christian Dreger & Hans-Eggert Reimers, 2009. "The Role of Asset Markets for Private Consumption: Evidence from Paneleconometric Models," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 872, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Eric Ghysels & Arthur Sinko & Rossen Valkanov, 2007. "MIDAS Regressions: Further Results and New Directions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 53-90.
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Cited by:
  1. Paradiso, Antonio & Rao, B. Bhaskara & Margani, Patrizia, 2011. "Time Series Estimates of the Italian Consumer Confidence Indicator," MPRA Paper 28395, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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