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More than a feeling: confidence, uncertainty and macroeconomic fluctuations

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  • Nowzohour, Laura
  • Stracca, Livio

Abstract

Economists, observers and policy-makers often emphasize the role of sentiment as a potential driver of the business cycle. In this paper we provide three contributions to this debate. First, we give a concise overview of the recent literature on sentiment (considering both confidence and uncertainty) and economic activity. Second, we review existing empirical measures of sentiment, in particular consumer confidence, stock market volatility (SMV) and Economic Policy Uncertainty (EPU), on monthly data for 27 countries, 1985-2016. Third, we identify some new stylized facts based on international evidence. While different measures are surprisingly lowly correlated on average in each country, they are typically highly positively correlated across countries, suggesting the existence of a global factor. Consumer confidence has the closest co-movement with economic and financial variables, and most of the correlations are contemporaneous or forward-looking, consistent with the view that economic sentiment is indeed a driver of activity. JEL Classification: E32, E71, F44, G15, G41

Suggested Citation

  • Nowzohour, Laura & Stracca, Livio, 2017. "More than a feeling: confidence, uncertainty and macroeconomic fluctuations," Working Paper Series 2100, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20172100
    Note: 335958
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    10. Douglas de Medeiros Franco, 2022. "Expectations, Economic Uncertainty, and Sentiment," RAC - Revista de Administração Contemporânea (Journal of Contemporary Administration), ANPAD - Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Administração, vol. 26(5), pages 210029-2100.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    animal spirits; business cycle; confidence; dynamic correlations; uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G41 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making in Financial Markets

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