Inflation Expectations and Readiness to Spend: Cross-Sectional Evidence
AbstractThere have recently been suggestions for monetary policy to engineer higher inflation expectations so as to stimulate current spending. But what is the empirical relationship between inflation expectations and spending? We use the underlying micro data from the Michigan Survey of Consumers to test whether increased inflation expectations are indeed associated with greater reported readiness to spend. Cross-sectional data deliver the necessary variation to test whether the relationship between inflation expectations and spending changes in the recent zero lower bound regime compared to normal times, as suggested by many standard models. We find that the impact of inflation expectations on the reported readiness to spend on durable goods is statistically insignificant and small in absolute value when compared to other variables, such as household income or expected business conditions. Moreover, it appears that higher expected price changes have an adverse impact on the reported readiness to spend. A one percent increase in expected inflation reduces the probability that households have a positive attitude towards spending by about 0.1 percentage points. At the zero lower bound this small adverse effect remains, and is, if anything, slightly stronger. We also extend our analysis to the reported readiness to spend on cars and houses and obtain similar results. Altogether our results tell a cautionary tale for monetary (or fiscal) policy designed to engineer inflation expectations in order to generate greater current spending.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17958.
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Note: EFG ME
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Other versions of this item:
- Eric R. Sims, 2012. "Inflation Expectations and Readiness to Spend, Cross-Sectional Evidence," Working Papers 015, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2012.
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
- E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
- E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-04-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-MAC-2012-04-10 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-MON-2012-04-10 (Monetary Economics)
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- Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Koustas, Dmitri, 2013. "Amerisclerosis? The Puzzle of Rising U.S. Unemployment Persistence," IZA Discussion Papers 7715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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