Analyzing Economic Effects of Extreme Events Using Debit and Payments System Data

17 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2011  

John W. Galbraith

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

Greg Tkacz

Saint Francis Xavier University - Economics

Date Written: November 23, 2011

Abstract

This paper uses payments system data to study the impact on personal consumption expenditure, and therefore on economic activity, of occasional extreme events. The usual quarterly data supplied by central statistical agencies are of little use to policy makers for monitoring effects of transitory events, as the impacts of events lasting a few days or weeks may be obscured in time-aggregated data. 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 economic activity. Here we use daily Canadian debit transaction volume data, and business-day (five times per week) debit and check transaction volume and value data, to investigate the impact on consumer expenditure of several extreme events: the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, the SARS epidemic in the spring of 2003, and the August 2003 electrical blackout. Contrary to initial perceptions of these events, we find only small and transitory effects.

Keywords: debit card transactions, macroeconomic monitoring, real-time data

JEL Classification: E21, G21

Suggested Citation

Galbraith, John W. and Tkacz, Greg, Analyzing Economic Effects of Extreme Events Using Debit and Payments System Data (November 23, 2011). CIRANO - Scientific Publications 2011s-70. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1963812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1963812

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

Saint Francis Xavier University - Economics ( email )

Nicholson Hall, Room 505
P.O. Box 5000
Nova Scotia
Canada

Paper statistics

Downloads
19
Abstract Views
186