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Rational forecasts or social opinion dynamics? Identification of interaction effects in a business climate survey

  • Lux, Thomas

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://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/4309/1/EWP-2008-07.pdf
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Paper provided by Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2008,07.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:7327
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Web page: http://www.wiso.uni-kiel.de/econ/

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  1. Alfarano, Simone & Lux, Thomas, 2007. "A Noise Trader Model As A Generator Of Apparent Financial Power Laws And Long Memory," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(S1), pages 80-101, November.
  2. J. Scheinkman & U. Horst, 2003. "Equilibria in Systems of Social Interactions," Princeton Economic Theory Working Papers d5a39039d26e0b08775b915bf, David K. Levine.
  3. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Diebold, Francis X & Gunther, Todd A & Tay, Anthony S, 1998. "Evaluating Density Forecasts with Applications to Financial Risk Management," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 863-83, November.
  5. Souleles, Nicholas S, 2004. "Expectations, Heterogeneous Forecast Errors, and Consumption: Micro Evidence from the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Surveys," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 39-72, February.
  6. 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.
  7. Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Consumer Confidence and Consumer Spending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 29-50, Spring.
  8. Thomas Lux, 2009. "Mass Psychology in Action: Identification of Social Interaction Effects in the German Stock Market," Kiel Working Papers 1514, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
  10. Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
  11. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. David H. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "What Moves Stock Prices?," Working papers 487, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Lux, Thomas, 1995. "Herd Behaviour, Bubbles and Crashes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 881-96, July.
  15. Brian Krauth, 2006. "Social interactions in small groups," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(2), pages 414-433, May.
  16. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521637695 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Follmer, Hans, 1974. "Random economies with many interacting agents," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 51-62, March.
  18. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
  19. Kirman, Alan, 1993. "Ants, Rationality, and Recruitment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 137-56, February.
  20. 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.
  21. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  22. 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.
  23. Horst, Ulrich & Rothe, Christian, 2008. "Queuing, Social Interactions, And The Microstructure Of Financial Markets," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 211-233, April.
  24. Lee, Lung-fei, 2007. "Identification and estimation of econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 333-374, October.
  25. Sarah Gelper & Aurelie Lemmens & Christophe Croux, 2007. "Consumer sentiment and consumer spending: decomposing the Granger causal relationship in the time domain," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 1-11.
  26. Karl Taylor & Robert McNabb, 2007. "Business Cycles and the Role of Confidence: Evidence for Europe," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(2), pages 185-208, 04.
  27. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations Of Households And Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298, February.
  28. 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.
  29. Lux, Thomas, 1997. "Time variation of second moments from a noise trader/infection model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-38, November.
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