Measures of consumer confidence, such as the Index of Consumer Sentiment, have gained an important pragmatic role in describing the economic climate of a country. Being a quantitative measure, the nature of the index has long been taken for granted, without questioning what is the real meaning of «consumer confidence» for the actors involved, how do they define the idea of being confident about the economy, and why do they respond in a certain way to the items of the index. Given the lack of qualitative studies that could help understanding better the point of view of the respondents, the present explorative and cross-cultural study aims to deepen and compare the meaning of consumer confidence and the processes that lie behind the answers given by the interviewers to the index items. In order to accomplish this, semi-structured interviews have been conducted in two countries with contrasting economic conditions: Italy and Australia. Although the nature of this research is explorative and circumstantial, results show a multifaceted interpretation of the «consumer confidence» and slightly different cognitive processes in answering the items of the index; this suggests a possible revision of the index itself.
- consumer confidence, index of consumer sentiment, economic crisis, cross cultural qualitative research