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The Effect of Elections on Consumer Confidence in Europe

Bertrand Marc and Andreas Reuter

No 90, European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - from Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission

Abstract: In line with the growing prominence of consumer confidence as a leading indicator of economic activity, a body of literature has built up which aims to explain its drivers. While all studies seem to agree that consumer confidence can be partially explained by variables reflecting economic fundamentals, there is less agreement on the role played by potentially relevant, non-economic events. This paper focusses on the effect of elections. Considering that they occur regularly they pose a repetitive challenge to analysts and forecasters eager to distil the right signals from the data. In this article, we analyse the impact of elections on consumer confidence in a selection of EU Member States, using error correction models, which control for a variety of relevant background variables. Proxying consumer confidence by data from the Joint Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys, our analysis allows for a high degree of cross-country comparability. The presented results show elections in Austria, France and Germany to have a significant, positive effect on consumers' expectations regarding the general economic situation. The estimated cumulative effect on the level of the indicator from the beginning of the election period to the actual election (or month thereafter) is far from negligible, close to 1.0 standard deviation of the level of the dependent variable. The time it takes for the effect to build up differs across countries, with results ranging between four and nine months. In Belgium, by contrast, the results of our analysis do not provide indications of any kind of election effect on consumer expectations.

JEL-codes: E71 E32 C22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-mac
Date: 2018-11
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