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Personal Experiences and Expectations about Aggregate Outcomes

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  • THERESA KUCHLER
  • BASIT ZAFAR

Abstract

Using novel survey data, we document that individuals extrapolate from recent personal experiences when forming expectations about aggregate economic outcomes. Recent locally experienced house price movements affect expectations about future U.S. house price changes and higher experienced house price volatility causes respondents to report a wider distribution over expected U.S. house price movements. When we exploit within‐individual variation in employment status, we find that individuals who personally experience unemployment become more pessimistic about future nationwide unemployment. The extent of extrapolation is unrelated to how informative personal experiences are, is inconsistent with risk adjustment, and is more pronounced for less sophisticated individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Theresa Kuchler & Basit Zafar, 2019. "Personal Experiences and Expectations about Aggregate Outcomes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 74(5), pages 2491-2542, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:74:y:2019:i:5:p:2491-2542
    DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12819
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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