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Measuring and assessing economic uncertainty

Oscar Claveria ()

No 202011, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

Abstract: This paper evaluates the dynamic response of economic activity to shocks in agents’ perception of uncertainty. The study focuses on the comparison between manufacturers 'and consumers' perception of economic uncertainty. Since uncertainty is not directly observable, we approximate it using the geometric discrepancy indicator of Claveria et al. (2019). This approach allows us quantifying the proportion of disagreement in business and consumer expectations of eleven European countries and the Euro Area. First, we compute three independent indices of discrepancy corresponding to three dimensions of uncertainty (economic, inflation and employment) and we average them to obtain aggregate disagreement measures for businesses and for consumers. Next, we use a bivariate Bayesian vector autoregressive framework to estimate the impulse response functions to innovations in disagreement in every country. We find that the effect on economic activity of shocks to the perception of uncertainty differ markedly between manufacturers and consumers. On the one hand, shocks to consumer discrepancy tend to be of greater magnitude and duration than those to manufacturer discrepancy. On the other hand, innovations in disagreement between the two collectives have an opposite effect on economic activity: shocks to manufacturer discrepancy lead to a decrease in economic activity, as opposed to shocks to consumer discrepancy. This finding is of particular relevance to researchers when using cross-sectional dispersion of survey-based expectations, since the effect on economic growth of shocks to disagreement depend on the type of agent.

Keywords: Economic uncertainty; Production; Inflation; Employment; Expectations; Disagreement. JEL classification: C32; E23; E24; E31. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2020-07, Revised 2020-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
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