Words are the New Numbers: A Newsy Coincident Index of Business Cycles
53 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2017
Date Written: December 22, 2016
I construct a daily business cycle index based on quarterly GDP and textual information contained in a daily business newspaper. The newspaper data are decomposed into time series representing newspaper topics using a Latent Dirichlet Allocation model. The business cycle index is estimated using the newspaper topics and a time-varying Dynamic Factor Model where dynamic sparsity is enforced upon the factor loadings using a latent threshold mechanism. The resulting index is shown to be not only more timely but also more accurate than commonly used alternative business cycle indicators. Moreover, the derived index provides the index user with broad based high frequent information about the type of news that drive or reflect economic fluctuations.
Keywords: Business cycles, Dynamic Factor Model, Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA)
JEL Classification: C11, C32, E32
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