What do Sentiment Surveys Measure?
Indices of business and consumer sentiment receive widespread media coverage and are closely watched by market economists despite their limited success as leading indicators. In this paper we ask what explains ‘sentiment’ and find that lagged economic indicators (such as changes in GDP, job vacancies and the cash rate) can explain a substantial proportion of the variation in a number of backward and forward-looking sentiment indices. This does not rule out the possibility that they may be useful for forecasting. We find, however, that when currently available economic information is appropriately ‘filtered’ from the sentiment indices, in most cases they fail even rudimentary Granger-causality tests of predictive ability. On a more positive note, we find that the Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating, NAB actual business conditions, NAB expected employment outlook over the next three months and the second question in the Roy Morgan and Westpac/MI consumer surveys all provide some, albeit small, contribution to forecasting employment growth. The second question of both consumer confidence surveys (which asks about anticipated personal financial conditions over the coming year) also appears to have some ability to predict recessions. Outside of these results there is little evidence that the surveys tell us anything we didn’t already know. Thus, there is reason to suspect that surveyed respondents’ forecasts offer little more information about the future path of the economy than a weighted average of lagged economic variables.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2001|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: GPO Box 3947, Sydney NSW 2001|
Web page: http://www.rba.gov.au/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Eric M. Leeper, 1992. "Consumer attitudes: king for a day," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Jul, pages 1-15.
- Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1998.
"Predicting U.S. Recessions: Financial Variables As Leading Indicators,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 45-61, February.
- Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "Predicting U.S. Recessions: Financial Variables as Leading Indicators," NBER Working Papers 5379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1996. "Predicting U.S. recessions: financial variables as leading indicators," Research Paper 9609, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- 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.
- Christopher D. Carroll & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer & David W. Wilcox, 1991. "Does consumer sentiment affect household spending? If so why?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 168, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Christopher D. Carroll & Jeffery C. Fuhrer & David W. Wilcox, 1994. "RATS code for Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," QM&RBC Codes 49, Quantitative Macroeconomics & Real Business Cycles.
- Jason Bram & Sydney Ludvigson, 1998. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure? a sentiment index horse race," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 59-78.
- 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.
- Saul H. Hymans, 1970. "Consumer Durable Spending: Explanation and Prediction," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(2), pages 173-206.
- Estrella, Arturo, 1998. "A New Measure of Fit for Equations with Dichotomous Dependent Variables," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 198-205, April.
- Arturo Estrella, 1997. "A new measure of fit for equations with dichotomous dependent variables," Research Paper 9716, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- F. Thomas Juster & Paul Wachtel, 1974. "Anticipatory and Objective Models of Durable Goods Demand," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in Economic Research, Volume 1, number 2, pages 136-188 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Juster, F Thomas & Wachtel, Paul, 1972. "Anticipatory and Objective Models of Durable Goods Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 564-579, September.
- Joanne Loundes & Rosanna Scutella, 2000. "Consumer Sentiment and Australian Consumer Spending," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2000n21, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
- Michael C. & Pao-Lin Tien, 2000. "Economic Discomfort and Consumer Sentiment," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, Winter.
- Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-247, February. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2001-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paula Drew)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.