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Title: Online intentions and actual behavior : facts from Google trends
Authors: Ang, Wan Sheng
Chia, Joshua Tee Hiang
Sia, Edwin You Xiang
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Economic theory
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: In the current Internet age, in what seems like an innocent online search on a search engine, what users are actually doing is to announce to the world their very intentions. These intentions can not only tell us extraordinary things about who we are and what we want as a culture, it can also be harvested and exploited to no ends. However, this novel concept will remain just a concept unless otherwise proven. It is therefore the purpose of this study to establish if online intentions are indeed consistent with actual behavior – are these intentions actually realized? This study focuses on the 47 Asian countries. Data on Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and Human Development Index (HDI) are collected from official sources and plotted to graphically illustrate actual behavior. Online intentions are obtained and quantified via Google Trends index data of online search terms. The online search terms of interest in this study are terms that represent Contraception and Educational Attainment, both of which are determinants of TFR. The quantified online intentions are subsequently plotted against HDI and compared with actual behavior to observe for consistencies. A linear regression model estimated by the Ordinary Least Squares method is adopted to empirically validate graphical observations. The findings show that with a large enough sample size quantified online intentions are able to exhibit consistency with actual behavior, which demonstrates that online intentions are indeed consistent with actual behavior. This establishment of consistency suggests that online data can be used as proxies to actual activities to (1) bypass costly information collection and (2) conduct research previously not possible.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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