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Unemployment Expectations and the Business Cycle

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  • Tortorice Daniel Louis

    () (Brandeis University)

Abstract

I compare unemployment expectations from the Michigan Survey of Consumers to VAR forecastable movements in unemployment. I document three key facts: First, one-half to one-third of the population expects unemployment to rise when it is falling at the end of a recession, even though the VAR predicts the fall in unemployment. Second, more people expect unemployment to rise when it is falling at the end of a recession than expect it to rise when it is rising at the beginning of a recession even though the VAR predicts these changes. Finally, the lag change in unemployment is almost as important as the VAR forecast in predicting the fraction of the population that expects unemployment to rise. Professional forecasters do not exhibit these discrepancies. Least squares learning or real time expectations do little to help explain these facts. However, delayed updating of expectations can explain some of these facts, and extrapolative expectations explains these facts best. Individuals with higher income or education are only slightly less likely to have expectations which differ from the VAR, and those whose expect more unemployment when the VAR predicts otherwise are 8-10 percent more likely to believe it is a bad time to make a major purchase.

Suggested Citation

  • Tortorice Daniel Louis, 2012. "Unemployment Expectations and the Business Cycle," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-49, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:12:y:2012:i:1:n:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Fuster & Benjamin Hebert & David Laibson, 2012. "Natural Expectations, Macroeconomic Dynamics, and Asset Pricing," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-48.
    2. Basit Zafar & Theresa Kuchler, 2015. "Expectation Formation," 2015 Meeting Papers 678, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Schanne, Norbert, 2012. "The formation of experts' expectations on labour markets : do they run with the pack?," IAB Discussion Paper 201225, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Cozzi, Guido & Davenport, Margaret, 2017. "Extrapolative expectations and capital flows during convergence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 169-190.
    5. Andreas Fuster & David Laibson & Brock Mendel, 2010. "Natural Expectations and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 67-84, Fall.
    6. Michael J. Lamla & Lena Draeger & Damjan Pfajfar, 2013. "Are Consumer Expectations Theory-Consistent? The Role of Macroeconomic Determinants and Central Bank Communication," KOF Working papers 13-345, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    7. Kuchler, Theresa & Zafar, Basit, 2015. "Personal Experiences and Expectations about Aggregate Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 9444, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Escobari Diego & Mollick André Varella, 2013. "Output growth and unexpected government expenditures," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-33, September.
    9. Garz, Marcel, 2013. "Unemployment expectations, excessive pessimism, and news coverage," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 156-168.
    10. Marcel Garz, 2014. "Good news and bad news: evidence of media bias in unemployment reports," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 499-515, December.
    11. Carvalho, Carlos & Nechio, Fernanda, 2014. "Do people understand monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 108-123.
    12. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:66-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Massenot, Baptiste & Pettinicchi, Yuri, 2018. "Can firms see into the future? Survey evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 66-79.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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