Is economic uncertainty really higher today than 8 years ago?

  1. how often selected newspapers mention ‘uncertain’ or ‘uncertainty’ in reference to the economy and economic policy. I would dub this “news uncertainty”;
  2. the number of federal tax code provisions which will expire in future years; and
  3. a measure of how much economists disagree on key economic projections.
  • Economic uncertainty during the Trump administration so far has been significantly lower than in the corresponding period of the Obama administration (an average of 109 for February 2017-March 2018 versus 141 for February 2009-March 2010) and lower than the average for President Obama’s two terms in office (134 for February 2009-January 2017; the results are similar if you take January as the starting month instead of February).
  • Economic uncertainty during January-February 2018 was slightly lower than the 1985–2010 average (101 vs 103); for January-March it was slightly higher (106). I calculated all numbers based on the raw data that can be freely downloaded from Baker, Bloom and Davis, Economic Policy Uncertainty Index
The media underplayed uncertainty at the start of President Obama’s tenure, and are overplaying it now

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Economics & innovation at www.AnnunziataDesai.com; Co-host, M4Edge Tech podcast; Former Chief Economist & head of business innovation strategy at GE.

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Marco Annunziata

Marco Annunziata

Economics & innovation at www.AnnunziataDesai.com; Co-host, M4Edge Tech podcast; Former Chief Economist & head of business innovation strategy at GE.

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