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The Structure of Economic News

Author

Listed:
  • Leland Bybee
  • Bryan T. Kelly
  • Asaf Manela
  • Dacheng Xiu

Abstract

We propose an approach to measuring the state of the economy via textual analysis of business news. From the full text content of 800,000 Wall Street Journal articles for 1984{2017, we estimate a topic model that summarizes business news as easily interpretable topical themes and quantifies the proportion of news attention allocated to each theme at each point in time. We then use our news attention estimates as inputs into statistical models of numerical economic time series. We demonstrate that these text-based inputs accurately track a wide range of economic activity measures and that they have incremental forecasting power for macroeconomic outcomes, above and beyond standard numerical predictors. Finally, we use our model to retrieve the news-based narratives that underly “shocks” in numerical economic data.

Suggested Citation

  • Leland Bybee & Bryan T. Kelly & Asaf Manela & Dacheng Xiu, 2020. "The Structure of Economic News," NBER Working Papers 26648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26648
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis
    • C58 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Financial Econometrics
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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