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Consumer confidence as a predictor of consumption spending: Evidence for the United States and the Euro area

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  • Stephane Dees
  • Pedro Soares Brinca

Abstract

For most academics and policy makers, the depth of the 2008–09 financial crisis, its longevity and its impacts on the real economy resulted from an erosion of confidence. This paper proposes to assess empirically the link between consumer sentiment and consumption expenditures for the United States and the euro area. It shows under which circumstances confidence indicators can be a good predictor of household consumption even after controlling for information in economic fundamentals. Overall, the results show that, the consumer confidence index can be in certain circumstances a good predictor of consumption. In particular, out-of-sample evidence shows that the contribution of confidence in explaining consumption expenditures increases when household survey indicators feature large changes, so that confidence indicators can have some increasing predictive power during such episodes. Moreover, there is some evidence of a “confidence channel” in the international transmission of shocks, as U.S. confidence indices help predicting consumer sentiment in the euro area.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephane Dees & Pedro Soares Brinca, 2013. "Consumer confidence as a predictor of consumption spending: Evidence for the United States and the Euro area," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 134, pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:cii:cepiie:2013-q2-134-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Easaw, Joshy Z. & Heravi, Saeed M., 2004. "Evaluating consumer sentiments as predictors of UK household consumption behavior: Are they accurate and useful?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 671-681.
    4. 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.
    5. Claveria, Oscar & Pons, Ernest & Ramos, Raul, 2007. "Business and consumer expectations and macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 47-69.
    6. Burbidge, John & Harrison, Alan, 1985. "An historical decomposition of the great depression to determine the role of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 45-54, July.
    7. Fagan, Gabriel & Henry, Jérôme & Mestre, Ricardo, 2001. "An area-wide model (AWM) for the euro area," Working Paper Series 0042, European Central Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer confidence; Consumption; International linkages; Non-linear modeling;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • F37 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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