Specific features of studying the Image of the economic recession in the media in the context of structural changes in consumer confidence of the population of Lithuania, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia and Russia (2013-2016)

Stanislav Pashkov

Contact: spashkov@hse.ru

The focus of the study is the ongoing discussion about what affects changes in consumer attitudes of the population of the EU and Russia. They are understood as changes in the level of financial situation, expectations from the economic situation, etc. Through the use of the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) it is possible not only to monitor people's reactions and expectations to current economic changes, but also to compare them with a number of important macroeconomic indicators like GDP, consumer price and production index, unemployment rate. According to the OECD, over the past 6 years, ambiguous changes in the economies of several countries can be observed. In particular, during the period of 2014-2015 in Russia there was a serious deterioration in consumer confidence amid declining production rates and increased inflation. On the contrary, the continued growth in production and declining unemployment rate in Lithuania and Portugal showed that the level of consumer confidence was also very negative. The question arises as to how much the media is involved in these changes. Existing studies often appeal to the image of economic recession in the analysis of CCI, but the conclusions drawn are formed at the level of macro-analysis, which does not allow a qualitative understanding of the relationship of these messages with changes in consumer confidence. Usage of semantic network approach can help to solve this problem. However, one may encounter difficulties in selecting a conceptual framework for analysis and as well as choosing a coding strategy for texts. Using applied software packages (Automap, ORA, Gephi and R), I reviewed a series of news from print publications (which topic was the image of economic recession in various aspects) and compared them with the macroeconomic situation of Lithuania, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Russia in 2013-2016. As conclusions, we obtained an idea of what key concepts and models of their integration into the discourse can determine and clarify people's perception of the economic situation at a certain level and in a particular context.

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