Sunday, 8 March 2009

Zeitgeist analysis, 8 March 2009

Analysis of the economics zeitgeist word cloud, posted earlier today.

This week's economics blogs look fairly different to last week's. Obvious rising topics include 'money' and 'time' which imply that concerns about either inflation or deflation are surfacing, and money creation is clearly becoming a hot topic.

The rankings show that the top ten words are almost identical, with 'government' falling from second to third place (after 'one' and 'new' which are not really content words - I may remove them from future analyses). The only new entry in the top ten is 'money' which has jumped from position 18 to 9, replacing 'banks' which is down to 25.

A little further down the list, 'rate' has moved up from 47 to 13 and 'rates' from 139 to 65, indicating a continuing concern with either inflation or interest rates - or else coverage of interest rate cuts by the Bank of England and ECB this week. 'ECB' itself has appeared in the list for the first time at number 203 (previously not in the top 800 words at all) and 'Bank' (capitalised) is up from 82 to 47. 'credit' is up from 62 to 30, 'real' from 59 to 42 and 'interest' from 76 to 21.

Falling are some fiscal-related terms: 'tax' down from 10 to 38, 'Obama' from 13 to 40, 'policy' from 33 to 50, and 'fiscal' from 127 to 195. 'Oil' fell from 29 to 66 and 'Maturity' from 41 to 68.

Some other terms that have moved noticeably upwards: 'markets' from 116 up to 72, 'global' from 106 to 73, 'growth' from 118 to 76, 'crisis' from 103 to 79, 'inflation' from 250 to 206 and 'unemployment' from 243 to 147.

And downwards: 'investment' from 116 to 129, 'capital' from 56 to 134, 'spending' from 64 to 135 and 'cost' from 88 to 154.

Some notable movements lower down the ranks; 'paper' is up from 332 to 184, 'President' down from 79 to 187, 'budget' from 52 to 139 and 'fall' has risen (ironically) from 314 to 200.

Apart from 'ECB', new entries also include 'AIG' at 246, 'employment' at 274, 'default' at 389, 'deflation' at 444, 'bankruptcy' at 450 and 'GE' at 469. What a depressing collection. On the other hand, 'preferred' disappeared from the list (225 last week), 'Bush' (349), 'environmental' (458) and 'car' (460). 'Citi' also disappeared and 'Citigroup' fell from 289 to 673.

No identifiable bloggers' names appear in the list. 'Paul' does show up, but this includes Volcker, O'Neill, Romer and Samuelson as well as Krugman. If the ranking is extended from 800 to 1000, Krugman is in position 931. But in any case the word cloud only shows the top 250, so anyone other than the President who wants to show up in there has some work to do.

A simple summary, then, is that this week the money supply, and monetary issues of all kinds, have taken over as the dominant theme from the budget, the stimulus and fiscal concerns.

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