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Replacing Judgment by Statistics: Constructing Consumer Confidence Indicators on the basis of Data-driven Techniques. The Case of the Euro Area

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Gayer

    () (European Commission, DG-ECFIN)

  • Alessandro Girardi

    () (ISTAT)

  • Andreas Reuter

    () (European Commission, DG-ECFIN)

Abstract

This article compares the properties of the European Commission (EC) Consumer Confidence Indicator (CCI) for the euro area with three alternative indices which differ from the former in that they (i) consider a richer set of survey questions and (ii) are the result of data-driven statistical techniques, rather than the simple arithmetic mean of the input series. The alternative indicators are shown to fail to produce significantly better forecasts of expansions and contractions in private consumption, once information from relevant, timely available hard data is controlled for. The conclusions change, however, if the analysis is re-conducted on well-defined subsets of survey questions. Concretely, the application of the alternative construction techniques to a data set which is limited to questions about consumers' personal finances produces an indicator which, combined with relevant macro-economic time series, yields significant improvements in forecasting expansions and contractions in private consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Gayer & Alessandro Girardi & Andreas Reuter, 2016. "Replacing Judgment by Statistics: Constructing Consumer Confidence Indicators on the basis of Data-driven Techniques. The Case of the Euro Area," Working Papers LuissLab 16125, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
  • Handle: RePEc:lui:lleewp:16125
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    File URL: http://www.luiss.it/RePEc/pdf/lleewp/16125.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumer surveys; composite indicators; euro area; principal components analysis; partial least squares; ridge regression; macroeconomic forecasting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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