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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, 1997. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure?: A sentiment index horse race," Research Paper 9708, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Croushore, Dean, 2005. "Do consumer-confidence indexes help forecast consumer spending in real time?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 435-450, December.
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