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Last Updated : Aug 24, 2019 08:34 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

There's an increasing interest in the 'r-word' – recession, data suggests

Trends show that the 'recession' has become a much-searched word on Google in the recent times, with data reflecting a spike in search for the term in the month of August.

Tanya Khandelwal @TanyaKhandelw15

Amid ongoing fears of an economic slowdown, the much-feared word - recession- has crept back into discourse on the health of the economy.

Trends show that “recession” has become a much-searched word on Google in recent times, with data reflecting a spike in search for the term in the month of August.

Studying data on the search trends on Google, spanning over the past three months, as well as the past one year, shows that Indians are increasingly looking up the word recession online. This could be read as an indication of the fear that has gained ground, but not necessarily a representation of the economic situation.

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Figure 1: Data on how much the word recession has been Googled in India over the past three months

Figure 2: Data on how much the word recession has been Googled in India over the past 12 months

A similar trend has been observed in the United States where the search word is becoming a “popular” one, particularly in the month of August.

Figure 3: Data on how much the word recession has been Googled in the United States over the past three months

Figure 3: Data on how much the word recession has been Googled in the United States over the past 12 months

More and more people have raised concerns about the existing financial health of the two economies and, hence, the increased interest in the same.

For 1,400 global business leaders surveyed, recession is the primary concern for 2019, according to a report by Quartz.

Another such survey by Boston Consulting Group in October 2018 revealed that nearly 82 percent of the investors surveyed were preparing for an economic slowdown while another 73 percent anticipated a recession in the next two years, the report said.

One could also look at it from eminent sociologist Robert K Merton's lens of what he called a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is how the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy works: it begins with a false definition of a situation, most often evoking a fear and leading to a new behavior being adopted by the larger society. This, in turn, makes the original false conception come true.

So, basically, we could look at it this way. A fear of recession could actually lead to one if consumers start altering their spending patterns for a fear of an impending economic downturn. This could eventually lead to the fear becoming a reality due to decreased demand amid an already slowing economy.

Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has called the recent slowdown in the economy “very worrisome”, adding that the need of the hour is that the government must focus on fixing problems in various ailing sectors.


Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar has also joined the chorus, calling the financial crisis an “unprecedented” one. According to him, India is witnessing such an economic downturn for the first time in 70 years. The current situation, he said, is one where businesses are being forced to survive on cash as a loss in faith has led to a liquidity crisis where lenders have stopped funding businesses.

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First Published on Aug 24, 2019 08:28 am
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