What is this thing called confidence? A comparative analysis of consumer confidence indices in eight major countries
The paper examines the evolution of consumer confidence indices in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America since the 1970s, by modelling them in a multivariate framework of common macroeconomic variables for each country. Results suggest that: (a) the main economic determinants of consumer confidence cannot be summarized only on the basis of some macroeconomic variables; (b) consumer confidence indices have some ability to forecast economic activity, provided that both their coincident nature is taken into account and that a number of data-coherent parameter restrictions are imposed. A number of analyses (both insample and out-of-sample) are devoted to assessing the robustness of previous findings.
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