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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm not a big fan of Larry Summers, director of President Obama's National Economic Council (NEC), but I always thought he was still a reputable economist. However, my opinion on him may be shifting for the worse after reading the data he cited in defense of the NEC's charted course for economic recovery.

Summers stated that U.S. citizens are gaining confidence on the government's path to recovery, citing the decline in Google searches for "economic depression." Click here to see the Google Trends data Summers cited.

As you can see, Summers was correct in stating that searches for "economic depression" declined. However, after he made this statement, searches for the term spiked to their highest levels in four months. The reason: people have short attention spans! I'm amazed that the high number of searches continued for as long as they did. People quickly forget history, which is evidence why the government continues to believe increased spending is a good idea.

Summers' statement also had me thinking about why he chose the term "economic depression." After running a few sample Google Trends searches, the answer became obvious. The results look the most favorable for the Administration's economic recovery plans. The decline in search volume for "economic depression" was more than twice as sharp as "economic recession," "recession," or "depression."

Now, I don't honestly believe Summers was paid to promote Google, but it would certainly make me feel better about his economic credentials than if he honestly believes search volume data is a good indicator of U.S. confidence.

Edit: I have learned that people are promoting via Twitter to "Google bomb" the search term "economic depression" in response to Larry Summers' statement. While this may account for the entire recent increase, it does not add credence to the statement.

Posted by Eleutherian

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1 Responses to Was Larry Summers Paid to Promote Google?

  1. newsy Says:
  2. Here's a video clip about how multiple media outlets reacted towards Summers Google quote. Needless to say, they weren't too pleased. http://www.newsy.com/videos/economy_and_the_search_terms


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