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Determinants of Consumer Sentiment: Evidence from Household Survey Data

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  • Kajal Lahiri
  • Yongchen Zhao

Abstract

We study the information content of the five components of the University of Michigan¡¯s Index of Consumer Sentiment and identify the main determinants of these measures, using semiparametric ordered choice models and household data from the Surveys of Consumers from January 1978 to September 2012. Our findings suggest that consumers¡¯ own perceptions and expectations, as measured by other survey questions in the Surveys of Consumers, are the most important determinants of the sentiment index. After this set of factors is controlled for, consumers¡¯ demographic characteristics, aggregate macroeconomic variables, and professional forecasts account for little in addition. We also find that the sentiment components about the overall economic conditions are less sensitive to consumers¡¯ own views and characteristics than the components about consumers¡¯ household financial situations. These findings could motivate the use of consumer sentiment measures in a variety of applications, including forecasting consumption expenditures.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 13-12.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:13-12

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Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
Phone: (518) 442-4735
Fax: (518) 442-4736

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Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
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Web: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/index.shtml

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  1. Berg Lennart & Bergström Reinhold, 1996. "Consumer Confidence and Consumption in Sweden," Working Paper Series 1996:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Gabler, Siegfried & Laisney, Francois & Lechner, Michael, 1993. "Seminonparametric Estimation of Binary-Choice Models with an Application to Labor-Force Participation," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(1), pages 61-80, January.
  3. Jason Bram & Sydney Ludvigson, 1998. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure? a sentiment index horse race," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 59-78.
  4. C. Alan Garner, 1991. "Forecasting consumer spending: should economists pay attention to consumer confidence surveys?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 57-71.
  5. Breslaw, Jon A. & McIntosh, James, 1998. "Simulated latent variable estimation of models with ordered categorical data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 25-47, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Dilyara Ibragimova, 2014. "Consumer Expectations Of Russian Populations: Cohort Analysis (1996–2009)," HSE Working papers WP BRP 41/SOC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

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