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How Do Firms Form Their Expectations? New Survey Evidence

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  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko
  • Saten Kumar

Abstract

We survey New Zealand firms and document novel facts about their macroeconomic beliefs. There is widespread dispersion in beliefs about past and future macroeconomic conditions, especially inflation. This dispersion in beliefs is consistent with firms' incentives to collect and process information. Using experimental methods, we find that firms update their beliefs in a Bayesian manner when presented with new information about the economy and that changes in their beliefs affect their decisions. Inflation is not generally perceived as being important to business decisions so firms devote few resources to collecting and processing information about inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Saten Kumar, 2018. "How Do Firms Form Their Expectations? New Survey Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(9), pages 2671-2713, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:9:p:2671-2713
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20151299
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carvalho, Carlos & Nechio, Fernanda, 2014. "Do people understand monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 108-123.
    2. Olivier Armantier & Scott Nelson & Giorgio Topa & Wilbert Van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2012. "The price is right: updating of inflation expectations in a randomized price information experiment," Staff Reports 543, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Ricardo Reis, 2006. "Inattentive Producers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 793-821.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
    5. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
    6. Andrade, Philippe & Le Bihan, Hervé, 2013. "Inattentive professional forecasters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 967-982.
    7. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "What Can Survey Forecasts Tell Us about Information Rigidities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(1), pages 116-159.
    8. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Is the Phillips Curve Alive and Well after All? Inflation Expectations and the Missing Disinflation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 197-232, January.
    9. Christian Hellwig & Laura Veldkamp, 2009. "Knowing What Others Know: Coordination Motives in Information Acquisition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 223-251.
    10. Saten Kumar & Hassan Afrouzi & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Inflation Targeting Does Not Anchor Inflation Expectations: Evidence from Firms in New Zealand," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(2 (Fall)), pages 151-225.
    11. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Imperfect Common Knowledge and the Effects of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    16. Jonung, Lars, 1981. "Perceived and Expected Rates of Inflation in Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 961-968, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • 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

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