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Forecasting Consumption in Real Time: The Role of Consumer Confidence Surveys

  • Kajal Lahiri
  • George Monokroussos
  • Yongchen Zhao

We study the role of consumer confidence surveys in forecasting personal consumption expenditure. We reexamine existing models of consumption and consumer confidence using both quarterly and monthly data in real time. Additionally, we produce forecasts of consumption expenditures with and without consumer confidence measures using a dynamic factor model and a real-time, jagged-edge data set. We establish in a robust way that consumer confidence significantly improves the accuracy of consumption forecasts. Furthermore, traditional macroeconomic theories seem to be unable to fully account for these results.

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File URL: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/2012/lmz-consent.pdf
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Paper provided by University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 12-02.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:12-02
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
Phone: (518) 442-4735
Fax: (518) 442-4736

Order Information: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
Web: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/index.shtml Email:


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  1. Eric M. Leeper, 1992. "Consumer attitudes: king for a day," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Jul, pages 1-15.
  2. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H Small, 2007. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real-Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 164, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  3. Jason Bram & Sydney Ludvigson, 1997. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure?: A sentiment index horse race," Research Paper 9708, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  5. E. Philip Howrey, 2001. "The Predictive Power of the Index of Consumer Sentiment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 175-216.
  6. 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.
  7. Kajal Lahiri & George Monokroussos, 2011. "Nowcasting US GDP: The role of ISM Business Surveys," Discussion Papers 11-01, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  8. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1993. "What role does consumer sentiment play in the U.S. macroeconomy?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 32-44.
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