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A Note on Monitoring Daily Economic Activity Via Electronic Transaction Data

12 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2009  

John W. Galbraith

McGill University - Department of Economics; Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

Greg Tkacz

Bank of Canada

Date Written: May 1, 2009

Abstract

Economists have traditionally relied on monthly or quarterly data supplied by central statistical agencies for macroeconomic monitoring. However, technological advances of the past several years have resulted in new high-frequency data sources that could potentially provide more accurate and timely information on the current level of economic activity. In this paper we explore the usefulness of electronic transactions as real-time indicators of economic activity, using Canadian debit card data, and using two potentially important economic events as examples. In particular we are able to analyze expenditure patterns around the September 11 terrorist attacks and the August 2003 electrical blackout, and are able to note qualitative differences in the effects of these events which could not be observed through aggregate measures.

Keywords: debit cards, electronic transactions, monitoring

JEL Classification: E17, E27, E66

Suggested Citation

Galbraith, John W. and Tkacz, Greg, A Note on Monitoring Daily Economic Activity Via Electronic Transaction Data (May 1, 2009). CIRANO - Scientific Publications Paper No. 2009s-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1504102 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1504102

John W. Galbraith (Contact Author)

McGill University - Department of Economics ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO) ( email )

2020 rue University, 25th floor
Montreal H3C 3J7, Quebec
Canada

Greg Tkacz

Bank of Canada ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G9
Canada

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