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Rational Forecasts or Social Opinion Dynamics? Identification of Interaction Effects in a Business Climate Survey

  • Thomas Lux

This paper develops a methodology for estimating the parameters of dynamic opinion or expectation formation processes with social interactions. We study a simple stochastic framework of a collective process of opinion formation by a group of agents who face a binary decision problem. The aggregate dynamics of the individuals' decisions can be analyzed via the stochastic process governing the ensemble average of choices. Numerical approximations to the transient density for this ensemble average allow the evaluation of the likelihood function on the base of discrete observations of the social dynamics. This approach can be used to estimate the parameters of the opinion formation process from aggregate data on its average realization. Our application to a well-known business climate index provides strong indication of social interaction as an important element in respondents' assessment of the business climate

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/research/wfri/rsrchcentres/ferc/wrkingpaprseries/fwp07-11.pdf
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Paper provided by Warwick Business School, Finance Group in its series Working Papers with number wp07-11.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbs:wpaper:wp07-11
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  18. J. Scheinkman & U. Horst, 2003. "Equilibria in Systems of Social Interactions," Princeton Economic Theory Working Papers d5a39039d26e0b08775b915bf, David K. Levine.
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  23. Jaba Ghonghadze & Thomas Lux, 2009. "Modeling the Dynamics of EU Economic Sentiment Indicators: An Interaction-Based Approach," Kiel Working Papers 1487, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  24. Christopher D Carroll, 2002. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," Economics Working Paper Archive 477, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  25. Chen, Ping, 2002. "Microfoundations of macroeconomic fluctuations and the laws of probability theory: the principle of large numbers versus rational expectations arbitrage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 327-344, November.
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  27. Stan Hurn & J.Jeisman & K.A. Lindsay, 2006. "Teaching an old dog new tricks: Improved estimation of the parameters of SDEs by numerical solution of the Fokker-Planck equation," Stan Hurn Discussion Papers 2006-01, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  28. Gelper, S. & Lemmens, A. & Croux, C., 2007. "Consumer Sentiment and Consumer Spending : Decomposing the Granger Causal Relationship in the Time Domain," Other publications TiSEM 55ac7230-2985-41f1-a42c-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  29. Jones, Andrew M., 1994. "Health, addiction, social interaction and the decision to quit smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 93-110, March.
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