Non-macro-based Google searches, uncertainty, and real economic activity

Michael Donadelli, Luca Gerotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a set of novel non-macro-based uncertainty indicators that rely on the frequency of Google searches (NM-GSIs) for the following health-, environmental-, security-, and political-related topics: “Symptom” “Pollution” “Terrorism” and “Election”. By means of VAR investigations, we document that an intensification of people interest in non-macro-based topics harms the US real economic activity. In particular, NM-GSI shocks generate (i) a significant drop in consumer credit and (ii) a mild decrease (increase) in production (unemployment) levels. Noteworthy, rising non-macro-based uncertainty is found to have stronger influence on the outstanding level of consumer credit than rising macro-based uncertainty. Our findings suggest that increasing interest in specific non-macro-based topics might be associated with raising people's anxiety. A battery of robustness checks confirms our main findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-142
Number of pages32
JournalResearch in International Business and Finance
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Anxiety
  • Business cycle
  • Consumer credit
  • Google searches
  • Non-macro-based uncertainty


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