News Sentiment in the Time of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing severe disruptions to daily life and economic activity. Reliable assessments of the economic fallout in this rapidly evolving situation require timely data. Existing sentiment indexes are useful indicators of current and future spending but are only available with a lag or have a short history. A new Daily News Sentiment Index provides a way to measure sentiment in real time from 1980 to today. Compared with survey-based measures of consumer sentiment, this index shows an earlier and more pronounced drop in sentiment in recent weeks.
Taking the Fed at its Word: A New Approach to Estimating Central Bank Objectives Using Text Analysis
We propose a new approach to estimating central bank objectives, including the implicit inflation target, that requires no priors on the underlying macroeconomic structure nor observation of monetary policy actions. Our approach entails directly estimating the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) objective function from the tone used by participants at the internal meetings. The results challenge two key aspects of conventional wisdom regarding FOMC preferences. First, the FOMC had an implicit inflation target of approximately 1 1/2 percent on average over our baseline 2000 ? 2013 sample ...
Monitoring the Inflationary Effects of COVID-19
Inflation fell dramatically following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dividing the underlying price data according to spending category reveals that a majority of the drop in core personal consumption expenditures inflation comes from a large decline in consumer demand. This demand effect far outweighs upward price pressure from COVID-related supply constraints. A new monthly data page from the San Francisco Fed tracks how sensitivity to the economic disruptions of COVID-19 affects different categories of inflation over time.
Foreclosures, house-price changes, and subprime mortgages in Massachusetts cities and towns
This module shows: The changing patterns in foreclosure rates and subprime mortgage originations across Massachusetts cities and towns over time; How movements in these rates compare with movements in house prices for any user-selected city or town; The association between foreclosure rates and median income in these cities and towns.
The impact of competition on technology adoption: an apples-to-PCs analysis
We study the effect of market structure on a personal computer manufacturer?s decision to adopt new technology. This industry is unusual because there exist two horizontally segmented retail markets with different degrees of competition: the IBM-compatible (or PC) platform and the Apple platform. We first document that, relative to Apple, producers of PCs typically have more frequent technology adoption, shorter product cycles, and steeper price declines over the product cycle. We then develop a parsimonious vintage-capital model that matches the prices and sales of PC and Apple products. The ...
The Evolution of the FOMC’s Explicit Inflation Target
Analyzing the narrative of historical Federal Open Market Committee meeting transcripts provides insights about how inflation target preferences of participants have evolved over time. From around 2000 until the Great Recession, there was general consensus among participants that their inflation target should be about 1%, significantly below both average inflation over the period and survey measures of longer-run inflation expectations. By the end of the recession in 2009, however, the consensus had shifted up to 2%, which became the official target announced to the public in January 2012.
Measuring News Sentiment
This paper demonstrates state-of-the-art text sentiment analysis tools while developing a new time-series measure of economic sentiment derived from economic and financial newspaper articles from January 1980 to April 2015. We compare the predictive accuracy of a large set of sentiment analysis models using a sample of articles that have been rated by humans on a positivity/negativity scale. The results highlight the gains from combining existing lexicons and from accounting for negation. We also generate our own sentiment-scoring model, which includes a new lexicon built specifically to ...
Physician competition and the provision of care: evidence from heart attacks
We study the impact of competition among physicians on service provision and patients? health outcomes. We focus on cardiologists treating patients with a first time heart attack treated in the emergency room. Physician concentration has a small, but statistically significant effect on service utilization. A one-standard deviation increase in cardiologist concentration causes a 5 percent increase in cardiologist service provision. Cardiologists in more concentrated markets perform more intensive procedures, particularly, diagnostic procedures?services in which the procedure choice is more ...
Using Brexit to Identify the Nature of Price Rigidities
Using price quote data that underpin the official U.K. consumer price index (CPI), we analyze the effects of the unexpected passing of the Brexit referendum to the dynamics of price adjustments. The sizable depreciation of the British pound that immediately followed Brexit works as a quasi-experiment, enabling us to study the transmission of a large common marginal cost shock to inflation as well as the distribution of prices within granular product categories. A large portion of the inflationary effect is attributable to the size of price adjustments, implying that a time-dependent ...
Why do measures of inflation disagree?
Inflation as measured by the personal consumption expenditures price index is near historical low levels, below the Federal Reserve?s 2% longer-run goal. Another common inflation measure, the consumer price index, is also historically low, but remains closer to 2%. The recent gap between these two measures is due largely to the cost of shelter, which makes up a larger proportion of the CPI consumption basket. Based on history, the gap between the two inflation measures should close at a rate of 0.05 percentage point per month.