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Surveys of Consumer Attitudes and Spending on Durable Goods

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Surveys of consumer attitudes attempt to measure shifts in attitudes, expectations, and intentions to purchase durable goods. Attitude surveys originated in the belief that changes in attitudes affect consumer behavior in the marketplace. Underlying these surveys is the supposition that attitudes and expectations are affected by a wide variety of changes, some of which may not be reflected in objective economic measures, such as income, unemployment, stock prices, or wealth. Proponents of consumer attitude surveys claim that past trends of income and prices do not adequately serve as proxies for income and price expectations. Consequently, attitude surveys reflect independent information that is not solely a function of objective economic variables. Moreover, most attitudes are not elusive, not dependent on the momentary mood of the respondents, and not cancelled out by changes in attitudes among different individuals. Consequently, it is argued that consumer attitude surveys are a reliable and meaningful measure of consumer attitudes and expectations and can be used in forecasting consumer spending.

Suggested citation: Austrian, Ziona, and Michael L. Bagshaw. “Surveys of Consumer Attitudes and Spending on Durable Goods,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Review, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 14-28, 04.01.1980.

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