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Disagreement about Inflation Expectations

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  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Ricardo Reis
  • Justin Wolfers

Abstract

Analyzing 50 years of inflation expectations data from several sources, we document substantial disagreement among both consumers and professional economists about expected future inflation. Moreover, this disagreement shows substantial variation through time, moving with inflation, the absolute value of the change in inflation, and relative price variability. We argue that a satisfactory model of economic dynamics must speak to these important business cycle moments. Noting that most macroeconomic models do not endogenously generate disagreement, we show that a simple “sticky-information” model broadly matches many of these facts. Moreover, the sticky-information model is consistent with other observed departures of inflation expectations from full rationality, including autocorrelated forecast errors and insufficient sensitivity to recent macroeconomic news.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2011.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2011

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  1. Levi, Maurice D & Makin, John H, 1979. "Fisher, Phillips, Friedman and the Measured Impact of Inflation on Interest," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(1), pages 35-52, March.
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  3. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations Of Households And Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298, February.
  4. Dean Croushore, 1997. "The Livingston Survey: still useful after all these years," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 15-27.
  5. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "Monetary Policy for Inattentive Economies," NBER Working Papers 9491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1993. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Working Papers 4303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Makin, John H, 1983. "Real Interest, Money Surprises, Anticipated Inflation and Fiscal Deficits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 374-84, August.
  8. Christopher D Carroll, 2001. "The Epidemiology of Macroeconomic Expectations," Economics Working Paper Archive 462, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Cukierman, Alex & Wachtel, Paul, 1979. "Differential Inflationary Expectations and the Variability of the Rate of Inflation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 595-609, September.
  11. Bomberger, William A & Frazer, William J, Jr, 1981. "Interest Rates, Uncertainty and the Livingston Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(3), pages 661-75, June.
  12. Makin, John H, 1982. "Anticipated Money, Inflation Uncertainty and Real Economic Activity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 126-34, February.
  13. Laurence Ball & Dean Croushore, 1995. "Expectations and the effects of monetary policy," Working Papers 95-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  14. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information: A Model of Monetary Nonneutrality and Structural Slumps," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1941, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. Dean Croushore, 1993. "Introducing: the survey of professional forecasters," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 3-15.
  16. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-rationality and inflation in two monetary regimes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  17. Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Consumer Sentiment: Its Rationality and Usefulness in Forecasting Expenditure - Evidence from the Michigan Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 8410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Zarnowitz, Victor & Lambros, Louis A, 1987. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 591-621, June.
  19. William T. Gavin, 2003. "FOMC forecast: is all the information in the central tendency?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 27-46.
  20. Hashmat Khan & Zhenhua Zhu, 2002. "Estimates of the Sticky-Information Phillips Curve for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom," Working Papers 02-19, Bank of Canada.
  21. John H. Makin, 1981. "Anticipated Money, Inflation Uncertainty, and Real Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 0760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Mullineaux, Donald J, 1980. "Inflation Expectations and Money Growth in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 149-61, March.
  23. 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.
  24. Brenner, Menachem & Landskroner, Yoram, 1983. "Inflation Uncertainties and Returns on Bonds," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(200), pages 463-68, November.
  25. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
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