Policymaking is invariably uncertain. I created a new index of ‘policymaker’s uncertainty’ based on a textual search of the minutes of the MPC meetings since 1997. The index is constructed by simply calculating the number of references to the word ‘uncertainty’ (and its derivatives, including ‘not certain’ and ‘far from certain’) as a share of the total word count. To avoid double-counting, it also excludes the Monetary Policy Summary that was introduced in 2015. One caveat of this approach is that it doesn’t distinguish instances of low or falling uncertainty from those where uncertainty was high. That aside, this measure can offer a new insight into uncertainty compared to indicators based on media references or business surveys.
Continue reading “Bitesize: What can the MPC minutes tell us about the policymaker’s uncertainty?”
Alastair Cunningham, David Bradnum and Alastair Firrell.
Uncertainty is a hot topic for economists at the moment. Have business leaders become more uncertain as a result of the EU referendum? If so, has that uncertainty had any effect on their plans? The Bank’s analysts look at lots of measures of economic uncertainty, from complex financial market metrics to how often newspaper articles mention it. But few of those measures are sourced directly from the trading businesses up and down the country whose investment and employment plans affect the UK economy. This blog reports on recent efforts to draw out what the Bank’s wide network of business contacts are telling us about uncertainty – comparing what we’re hearing now to trends seen in recent years.
Continue reading “The U Word: What can text analytics tell us about how far uncertainty has risen during 2016?”
David Bradnum, Christopher Lovell, Pedro Santos and Nick Vaughan.
Could Twitter help predict a bank run? That was the question a group of us were tasked with answering in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum. To investigate, we built an experimental system in just a few days, to collect and analyse tweets in real time. In the end, fears of a bank run were not realised, so the jury is still out on Twitter. But even so we learnt a lot about social media analysis (and a little about American Football) and argue that text analytics more generally has much potential for central banks.
Continue reading “Tweets, Runs and the Minnesota Vikings”