US Monthly Index

July 2014 Revision

As of July 1 2014, we replaced the New York Times with the Houston Chronicle in constructing our monthly Economic Policy Uncertainty Index for the United States. We also revised the previously reported index values downward from January to May 2014.

We made these changes in light of two observations. First, the digital archive from which we obtain article counts for the New York Times yielded implausibly large swings in the first several months of 2014. Second, these article counts were not stable over time. Instead, the article counts for certain months in 2014 changed sharply when redone at a later date.

The Houston Chronicle has the largest daily circulation among newspapers not previously covered by our U.S. monthly index, excluding papers that focus mainly on celebrities, entertainment, and local news. Like the other nine newspapers that enter into the construction of our monthly U.S. EPU Index (but unlike the New York Times), the Houston Chronicle is searchable on a real-time basis from a news aggregator service that covers many newspapers. The search platforms provided by these news aggregator services yield reliable and stable article counts in our experience.

In making the changeover from the New York times to The Houston Chronicle, we rescale the data for the latter to the same mean and variance as the New York Times prior to 2014. The revised monthly EPU Index for the United States now relies on data from the New York Times through December 2013, and it relies on rescaled data from the Houston Chronicle from January 2014 to the present.