Consumer Confidence Linkages Among European Union Countries: Which Countries Tend to Be Followers of Others?
In this study we use hierarchical cluster analysis to identify clusters in terms of consumer confidence and test the hypothesis whether Western and non-formerSoviet-Union Northern countries (Sweden, Denmark or Finland) may be “the core”, while Southern and former USSR countries may be considered as “periphery” in terms of consumer confidence (in respect with Krugman’s “core-periphery” model). Results show that consumer confidence similarities define clusters of EU countries, located in the same sub-region of Europe in cases of all Northern Europe countries and almost all Western Europe countries (excluding Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria). We find that Southern and Central–Eastern EU countries don’t have their united, single socio–economic behaviour pattern, but rather tend to distribute to various clusters in terms of consumer confidence. Our test for hypothesis of possible “core” and “periphery” countries in terms of consumer show that some of Western and non-former-Soviet-Union Northern countries (in this case we identified Sweden, United Kingdom and Luxembourg) may be considered as “the core”, while the rest Southern and former USSR EU countries may be considered as “periphery”.
Keywords: consumer confidence, cluster analysis, core-periphery
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