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Can we measure inflation expectations using Twitter?

Author

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  • Angelico, Cristina
  • Marcucci, Juri
  • Miccoli, Marcello
  • Quarta, Filippo

Abstract

Drawing on Italian tweets, we employ textual data and machine learning techniques to build new real-time measures of consumers’ inflation expectations. First, we select keywords to identify tweets related to prices and expectations thereof. Second, we build a set of daily measures of inflation expectations around the selected tweets, combining the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) with a dictionary-based approach, using manually labeled bi-grams and tri-grams. Finally, we show that Twitter-based indicators are highly correlated with both monthly survey-based and daily market-based inflation expectations. Our new indicators anticipate consumers’ expectations, proving to be a good real-time proxy, and provide additional information beyond market-based expectations, professional forecasts, and realized inflation. The results suggest that Twitter can be a new timely source for eliciting beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelico, Cristina & Marcucci, Juri & Miccoli, Marcello & Quarta, Filippo, 2022. "Can we measure inflation expectations using Twitter?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 228(2), pages 259-277.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:228:y:2022:i:2:p:259-277
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2021.12.008
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation expectations; Twitter; Text mining; Big data; Forecasting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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