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Forecasting Private Consumption: Survey-based Indicators vs. Google Trends

  • Torsten Schmidt
  • Simeon Vosen

    ()

In this study we introduce a new indicator for private consumption based on search query time series provided by Google Trends. The indicator is based on factors extracted from consumption-related search categories of the Google Trends application Insights for Search. The forecasting performance of the new indicator is assessed relative to the two most common survey-based indicators - the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index. The results show that in almost all conducted in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting experiments the Google indicator outperforms the survey-based indicators. This suggests that incorporating information from Google Trends may off er signifi cant benefi ts to forecasters of private consumption.

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File URL: http://repec.rwi-essen.de/files/REP_09_155.pdf
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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0155.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0155
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  1. 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.
  2. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
  3. Nikolaos Askitas & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Google Econometrics and Unemployment Forecasting," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 55(2), pages 107-120.
  4. Croushore, Dean, 2004. "Do Consumer Confidence Indexes Help Forecast Consumer Spending in Real Time?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2004,27, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  5. Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Consumer Confidence and Consumer Spending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 29-50, Spring.
  6. James A Wilcox, 2007. "Forecasting Components of Consumption with Components of Consumer Sentiment," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(4), pages 22-32, October.
  7. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
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