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Business Cycle Narratives

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  • Vegard H. Larsen
  • Leif Anders Thorsrud

Abstract

Research about narratives’ role in economics is scarce, while real word experience and research in other sciences suggest they matter a lot. This article proposes a view and methodology for quantifying the epidemiology of media narratives relevant to business cycles in the US, Japan, and Europe. We do so by first constructing quantitative measures of narratives based on the news topics the media writes about. We then estimate daily business cycle indexes using this type of data, derive virality indexes capturing the extent to which narratives relevant for business cycles go viral, and finally use so called “Graphical Granger causality” modeling to cast light on cross-country spillovers and whether or not narratives carry news or noise. Our results highlight the informativeness of narratives for describing economic fluctuations, have a clear practical relevance for high-frequency business cycle monitoring, and suggest that narratives capture more than the market’s animal spirits.

Suggested Citation

  • Vegard H. Larsen & Leif Anders Thorsrud, 2019. "Business Cycle Narratives," CESifo Working Paper Series 7468, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7468
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    Cited by:

    1. Vegard H. Larsen & Leif Anders Thorsrud & Julia Zhulanova, 2019. "News-driven inflation expectations and information rigidities," Working Paper 2019/5, Norges Bank.
    2. Keiichi Goshima & Hiroshi Ishijima & Mototsugu Shintani & Hiroki Yamamoto, 2019. "Forecasting Japanese inflation with a news-based leading indicator of economic activities," CARF F-Series CARF-F-458, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycles; narratives; Dynamic Factor Model (DFM); Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA);

    JEL classification:

    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E71 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on the Macro Economy
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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