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Forecasting the Consumer Confidence Index with tree-based MIDAS regressions

Yue Qiu

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 91, issue C, 247-256

Abstract: The macroeconomic literature has recently uncovered the importance of the consumer confidence variations at driving business cycles. However, it remains a challenge to predict changes in agents'confidence by exploiting the information from ultra high-frequency sentiment data extracted from social media. Based on the mixed data sampling (MIDAS) literature, we propose a new MIDAS method that introduces regression tree-based algorithms into the MIDAS framework. Our method is more flexible at sampling high-frequency lagged regressors compared to existing MIDAS models with tightly parametrized functions of lags. In an out-of-sample forecasting exercise for the Consumer Confidence Index, our results reveal that (i) the proposed procedure exploits more fully the information from historical sentiment data and (ii) our method substantially improves the forecast accuracy and confirms the role of social media at affecting the consumer confidence.

Keywords: Consumer confidence forecast; Twitter sentiment; MIDAS regression; Machine learning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C53 D83 E27 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2020.06.003

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