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Nowcasting With Google Trends in an Emerging Market

  • Yan Carrière-Swallow
  • Felipe Labbé

Most economic variables are released with a lag, making it difficult for policy-makers to make an accurate assessment of current conditions. This paper explores whether observing Internet browsing habits can inform practitioners about real-time aggregate consumer behavior in an emerging market. Using data on Google search queries, we introduce a simple index of interest in automobile purchases in Chile and test whether it improves the fit and efficiency of nowcasting models for automobile sales. We also examine to what extent our index helps us identify turning points in sales data. Despite relatively low rates of Internet usage among the population, we find that models incorporating our Google Trends Automotive Index outperform benchmark specifications in both in-sample and outof- sample nowcasts while providing substantial gains in information delivery times.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 588.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:588
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  1. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 1999. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Research Working Paper 99-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  2. repec:rwi:repape:0155 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Kenneth D. West & Todd Clark, 2006. "Approximately Normal Tests for Equal Predictive Accuracy in Nested Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Simeon Vosen & Torsten Schmidt, 2011. "Forecasting private consumption: survey‐based indicators vs. Google trends," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(6), pages 565-578, September.
  5. Della Penna, Nicolas & Huang, Haifang, 2009. "Constructing Consumer Sentiment Index for U.S. Using Google Searches," Working Papers 2009-26, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Feb 2010.
  6. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  7. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ashley, R & Granger, C W J & Schmalensee, R, 1980. "Advertising and Aggregate Consumption: An Analysis of Causality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1149-67, July.
  9. Henriksson, Roy D & Merton, Robert C, 1981. "On Market Timing and Investment Performance. II. Statistical Procedures for Evaluating Forecasting Skills," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 513-33, October.
  10. Shiu-Sheng Chen, 2005. "A note on in-sample and out-of-sample tests for Granger causality," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(6), pages 453-464.
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