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Economic Discomfort and Consumer Sentiment


  • Michael C.

    () (Lovell Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)

  • Pao-Lin Tien

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)


This paper finds that the Economic Discomfort Index (aka "Misery Index"), defined by Arthur Okun as the sum of the unemployment rate plus the annual rate of inflation, provides a rough and read explanation of economic malaise as measured by the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment. A more precise explanation of Consumer Sentiment includes the rate of change in unemployment, the rate of change in the S&P and the growth rate of real GDP; but dummies indicating Presidents insignificant. Studying the determinants of Consumer Sentiments helps validate the procedure invoked by Okun for constructing his Economic Discomfort Index.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael C. & Pao-Lin Tien, 2000. "Economic Discomfort and Consumer Sentiment," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:26:y:2000:i:1:p:1-8

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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2003. "What is this thing called confidence? A comparative analysis of consumer confidence indices in eight major countries," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 484, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Abdul Saboor & Shumaila Sadiq & Atta Ullah Khan & Gulnaz Hameed, 2017. "Dynamic Reflections of Crimes, Quasi Democracy and Misery Index in Pakistan," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 31-45, August.
    3. Renata MADZINOVA, 2017. "Impact Of Government Spending On Income Inequality," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 210-220, December.
    4. Ivan K. Cohen & Fabrizio Ferretti & Bryan McIntosh, 2014. "Decomposing the misery index: A dynamic approach," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-8, December.
    5. Oliver Picek, 2017. "The "Magic Square" of Economic Policy measured by a Macroeconomic Performance Index," Working Papers 1702, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    6. Vuchelen, Jef, 2004. "Consumer sentiment and macroeconomic forecasts," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 493-506, August.
    7. Filip Premik & Ewa Stanisławska, 2017. "The Impact of Inflation Expectations on Polish Consumers’ Spending and Saving," Eastern European Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, January.
    8. Ivan Roberts & John Simon, 2001. "What do Sentiment Surveys Measure?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2001-09, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    9. Nestor Gandelman & Ruben Hernandez-Murillo, 2009. "The impact of inflation and unemployment on subjective personal and country evaluations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 91(May), pages 107-126.
    10. Sakiru Adebola Solarin & Luis A. Gil-Alana & Carmen Lafuente, 2020. "Persistence of the Misery Index in African Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 825-841, February.
    11. Beja, Edsel, 2014. "Measuring economic ill-being: Evidence for the ‘Philippine Misery Index’," MPRA Paper 59772, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Darren Grant, 2009. "What Makes a Good Economy? An Analysis of Survey Data," Working Papers 0909, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    13. Brigitte Desroches & Marc-André Gosselin, 2002. "The Usefulness of Consumer Confidence Indexes in the United States," Staff Working Papers 02-22, Bank of Canada.
    14. Yadollah Dadgar & Rouhollah Nazari, 2018. "The impact of economic growth and good governance on misery index in Iranian economy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 175-193, February.
    15. Josefa Ramoni-Perazzi & Giampaolo Orlandoni-Merli, 2013. "El índice de miseria corregido por informalidad: una aplicación al caso de Venezuela," Revista Ecos de Economía, Universidad EAFIT, December.
    16. Bahram Adrangi & Joseph Macri, 2019. "Does the Misery Index Influence a U.S. President’s Political Re-Election Prospects?," Journal of Risk and Financial Management, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-11, February.
    17. K. Moses Tule & Eunice Ngozi Egbuna & Eme Dada & Godday Uwawunkonye Ebuh, 2017. "A dynamic fragmentation of the misery index in Nigeria," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 1336295-133, January.
    18. E. Philip Howrey, 2001. "The Predictive Power of the Index of Consumer Sentiment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 175-216.
    19. Luis Rene Caceres, 2019. "Determinants of trust in government in Latin America," Remef - Revista Mexicana de Economía y Finanzas Nueva Época REMEF (The Mexican Journal of Economics and Finance), Instituto Mexicano de Ejecutivos de Finanzas, IMEF, vol. 14(3), pages 329-351, Julio - S.

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    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis


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