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EU Consumer Confidence and the New Modesty Hypothesis

Author

Listed:
  • Petar Sorić

    (University of Zagreb)

  • Mirjana Čižmešija

    (University of Zagreb)

  • Marina Matošec

    (University of Zagreb)

Abstract

Voices have been raised that the link between economic sentiment and hard macroeconomic data has considerably weakened over time, bringing agents’ macroeconomic assessments of normal growth to a more modest, new normal level. We empirically test this hypothesis by linking consumer confidence to consumption growth for all individual EU member states, as well as for the EU and the euro area. Applying a battery of nonlinear econometric techniques, we find that normal consumption growth rates (as assessed by consumers) have recorded a long-term decline in about half of countries (dominantly old EU member states), while all other economies either contradict such a hypothesis or exhibit intermittent intervals of increasing and decreasing normal growth. Our calculations reveal that normal consumption growth rates are highly positively related to macroeconomic volatility, reflecting the postulates of psychophysics. In that sense, the new modesty hypothesis can to some extent be attributed to the Great Moderation era, which has diminished consumers’ perceptive reactions to macroeconomic stimuli.

Suggested Citation

  • Petar Sorić & Mirjana Čižmešija & Marina Matošec, 2020. "EU Consumer Confidence and the New Modesty Hypothesis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 899-921, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:152:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-020-02449-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-020-02449-x
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer surveys; Time-varying parameter model; Structural break; Great Moderation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E71 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on the Macro Economy

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