Logemann, Jan (2020):
"Measuring and Managing Expectations: Consumer Confidence as an Economic Indicator, 1920s–1970s." Futures Past. Economic Forecasting in the 20th and 21st Century. Eds. Fritsche, Ulrich; Köster, Roman; Lenel, Laetitia. Berlin: Peter Lang. 43-74. Literature - Culture - Economy; 5.
Article in Anthology

This chapter explores the origins of consumer confidence measurements as a prognostic tool. Commercial consumer studies had gained in importance since the interwar decades as a “scientific” means of predicting market developments for corporations and advertisers. In the years surrounding World War II, government economists became equally interested in forecasting consumer behavior. Such forecasts required a new understanding of consumers, their attitudes and expectations, and of the role that psychological factors play in economic behavior. The chapter focuses on George Katona and several other European émigré scholars in this field to highlight the importance of transnational knowledge transfers. Finally, it considers consumer research as a means of economic forecasting in the context of attempts to socially engineer mass consumption and to “manage” consumer expectations on both sides of the Atlantic during the middle of the twentieth century.