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Unemployment Expectations and the Business Cycle

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  • Tortorice Daniel Louis

    ()
    (Brandeis University)

Abstract

I compare unemployment expectations from the Michigan Survey of Consumers to VAR forecastable movements in unemployment. I document three key facts: First, one-half to one-third of the population expects unemployment to rise when it is falling at the end of a recession, even though the VAR predicts the fall in unemployment. Second, more people expect unemployment to rise when it is falling at the end of a recession than expect it to rise when it is rising at the beginning of a recession even though the VAR predicts these changes. Finally, the lag change in unemployment is almost as important as the VAR forecast in predicting the fraction of the population that expects unemployment to rise. Professional forecasters do not exhibit these discrepancies. Least squares learning or real time expectations do little to help explain these facts. However, delayed updating of expectations can explain some of these facts, and extrapolative expectations explains these facts best. Individuals with higher income or education are only slightly less likely to have expectations which differ from the VAR, and those whose expect more unemployment when the VAR predicts otherwise are 8-10 percent more likely to believe it is a bad time to make a major purchase.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-49

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:12:y:2012:i:1:n:1

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  1. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2008. "What Can Survey Forecasts Tell Us About Informational Rigidities?," NBER Working Papers 14586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon Van_Norden, 2000. "The Reliability of Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0768, Econometric Society.
  3. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2002. "The 6D Bias and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1947, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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Cited by:
  1. Schanne, Norbert, 2012. "The formation of experts' expectations on labour markets : do they run with the pack?," IAB Discussion Paper 201225, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  2. Garz, Marcel, 2013. "Unemployment expectations, excessive pessimism, and news coverage," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 156-168.
  3. Andreas Fuster & David Laibson & Brock Mendel, 2010. "Natural Expectations and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 67-84, Fall.
  4. Escobari Diego & Mollick André Varella, 2013. "Output growth and unexpected government expenditures," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 33, September.
  5. Andreas Fuster & Benjamin Hebert & David Laibson, 2011. "Natural Expectations, Macroeconomic Dynamics, and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 17301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael J. Lamla & Lena Dräger & Damjan Pfajfar, 2013. "Are Consumer Expectations Theory-Consistent? The Role of Macroeconomic Determinants and Central Bank Communication," KOF Working papers 13-345, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  7. Fernanda Nechio & Carlos Carvalho, 2012. "Do People Understand Monetary Policy?," 2012 Meeting Papers 426, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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