The effect of question wording on reported expectations and perceptions of inflation
AbstractPublic expectations and perceptions of inflation may affect economic decisions, and have subsequent effects on actual inflation. The Michigan Survey of Consumers uses questions about "prices in general" to measure expected and perceived inflation. Median responses track official measure of inflation, showing some tendency toward overestimation and considerable disagreement between respondents. Possibly, responses reflect how much respondents thought of salient personal experiences with specific prices when being asked about "prices in general." Here, we randomly assigned respondents to questions about "prices in general," as well as "the rate of inflation" and "price you pay." Reported expectations and perceptions were higher and more dispersed for "prices in general" than for "the rate of inflation," with "prices you pay" and "prices in general" showing similar responses patterns. Compared to questions about "the rate of inflation," questions about "prices in general" and "prices you pay" focused respondents relatively more on personal price experiences--and elicited expectations that were more strongly correlate to the expected price increases for food and transportation, which were relatively large and likely salient, but not to the expected price increases for housing, which were relatively small and likely less salient. Our results have implications for survey measures of inflation expectations.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 443.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-05-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBA-2010-05-02 (Central Banking)
- NEP-MAC-2010-05-02 (Macroeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stix, Helmut & Fluch, Manfred, 2005. "Perceived Inflation in Austria – Extent, Explanations, Effects," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 22â47.
- Williamson, Maureen R. & Wearing, Alexander J., 1996. "Lay people's cognitive models of the economy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-38, February.
- Svenson, Ola & Nilsson, Goran, 1986. "Mental economics: Subjective representations of factors related to expected inflation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 327-349, September.
- Jonung, Lars, 1981. "Perceived and Expected Rates of Inflation in Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 961-68, December.
- Brachinger, Hans Wolfgang, 2008. "A new index of perceived inflation: Assumptions, method, and application to Germany," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 433-457, August.
- Antonides, Gerrit, 2008. "How is perceived inflation related to actual price changes in the European Union?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 417-432, August.
- Lloyd B. Thomas, 1999. "Survey Measures of Expected U.S. Inflation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 125-144, Fall.
- Bates, John M. & Gabor, Andre, 1986. "Price perception in creeping inflation: Report on an enquiry," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 291-314, September.
- Mark Doms & Norman Morin, 2004. "Consumer sentiment, the economy, and the news media," Working Paper Series 2004-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Michael F. Bryan & Guhan Venkatu, 2001. "The demographics of inflation opinion surveys," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Oct.
- Mark Doms & Norman Morin, 2004. "Consumer sentiment, the economy, and the news media," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Leiser, David & Drori, Shelly, 2005. "NaIve understanding of inflation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 179-198, March.
- Helmut Jungermann & Hans Brachinger & Julia Belting & Katarzyna Grinberg & Elisabeth Zacharias, 2007. "The Euro Changeover and the Factors Influencing Perceived Inflation," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 405-419, December.
- Ranyard, Rob & Missier, Fabio Del & Bonini, Nicolao & Duxbury, Darren & Summers, Barbara, 2008. "Perceptions and expectations of price changes and inflation: A review and conceptual framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 378-400, August.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
- Wändi Bruine de Bruin & Simon Potter & Robert Rich & Giorgio Topa & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2010. "Improving survey measures of household inflation expectations," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 16(Aug/Sep).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Farber).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.