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The forecasting power of consumer attitudes for consumer spending

Author

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  • Barnes, Michelle L.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

  • Olivei, Giovanni P.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

Abstract

The widely studied Reuters/Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment is constructed from the answers to five questions from the more comprehensive Reuters/Michigan Surveys of Consumers. Yet little work has been done on what predictive power the information taken from this more thorough compilation of consumer attitudes and expectations may have for forecasting consumption expenditures. The authors construct a limited set of real-time summary measures for 42 questions selected from these broader Surveys corresponding to three broad economic determinants of consumption—income and wealth, prices, and interest rates, and then use regression analysis to evaluate and test the ability of these summary measures to predict future changes in real consumer expenditures, even when controlling for current and future fundamentals. They explain a nontrivial portion of consumption and other real activity forecast errors from professional forecasts. This is consistent with these measures' ability to predict consumption even when conditioning on a broader set of fundamentals as well as professional forecasters' judgmental forecast adjustments.

Suggested Citation

  • Barnes, Michelle L. & Olivei, Giovanni P., 2014. "The forecasting power of consumer attitudes for consumer spending," Working Papers 14-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:14-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
    2. Barnes, Michelle L. & Olivei, Giovanni P., 2013. "The Michigan Surveys of Consumers and consumer spending," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1990. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 265-279, July.
    5. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hamilton, James D., 2003. "What is an oil shock?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 363-398, April.
    7. Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Consumer Confidence and Consumer Spending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 29-50, Spring.
    8. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Harvey S. Rosen & Paul S. Willen, 2010. "The Impact of Deregulation and Financial Innovation on Consumers: The Case of the Mortgage Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(1), pages 333-360, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions

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