Expectations of inflation: The biasing effect of thoughts about specific prices
National surveys follow consumers’ expectations of future inflation, because these may directly affect the economic choices they make, indirectly affect macro-economic outcomes, and are considered in monetary policy. Yet, relatively little is known about how individuals form the inflation expectations they report on consumer surveys. Medians of reported inflation expectations tend to track official estimates of realized inflation, but show large heterogeneity between respondents, due to some expecting seemingly extreme inflation. We present two studies to examine whether individuals who consider specific price changes when forming their inflation expectations report more extreme and disagreeing inflation expectations due to focusing on specific extreme price changes. In Study 1, participants who were instructed to recall any price changes or to recall the largest price changes both thought of items for which price changes were perceived to have been extreme. Moreover, they reported more extreme year-ahead inflation expectations and showed more disagreement than did a third group that had been asked to recall the average change in price changes. Study 2 asked participants to report their year-ahead expectations of inflation, without first prompting them to recall specific price changes. Half of participants nevertheless thought of specific prices when generating their inflation expectations. Those who thought of specific prices reported more extreme and more disagreeing inflation expectations, because they were biased towards various items associated with more extreme perceived price changes. Our findings provide new insights into expectation formation processes and have implications for the design of survey-based measures of inflation.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hafer, R W & Hein, Scott E, 1985.
"On the Accuracy of Time-Series, Interest Rate, and Survey Forecasts of Inflation,"
The Journal of Business,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(4), pages 377-398, October.
- R. W. Hafer & Scott E. Hein, 1984. "On the accuracy of time series, interest rate and survey forecasts of inflation," Working Papers 1984-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Antonides, Gerrit, 2008. "How is perceived inflation related to actual price changes in the European Union?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 417-432, August.
- Jonung, Lars, 1981. "Perceived and Expected Rates of Inflation in Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 961-968, December.
- Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2006.
"Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2006-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Wei, Min, 2007. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1163-1212, May.
- Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2005. "Do Macro Variables, Asset Markets or Surveys Forecast Inflation Better?," NBER Working Papers 11538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David G. Blanchflower & Conall MacCoille, 2009. "The formation of inflation expectations: an empirical analysis for the UK," NBER Working Papers 15388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christandl, Fabian & Fetchenhauer, Detlef & Hoelzl, Erik, 2011. "Price perception and confirmation bias in the context of a VAT increase," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 131-141, February.
- Ranyard, Rob & Missier, Fabio Del & Bonini, Nicolao & Duxbury, Darren & Summers, Barbara, 2008. "Perceptions and expectations of price changes and inflation: A review and conceptual framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 378-400, August.
- Helmut Jungermann & Hans Brachinger & Julia Belting & Katarzyna Grinberg & Elisabeth Zacharias, 2007. "The Euro Changeover and the Factors Influencing Perceived Inflation," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 405-419, December.
- Manfred Fluch & Helmut Stix, 2005. "Perceived Inflation in Austria – Extent, Explanations, Effects," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 22-47.
- 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.
- Brachinger, Hans Wolfgang, 2008. "A new index of perceived inflation: Assumptions, method, and application to Germany," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 433-457, August.
- Jordi Galí, 2008. "Introduction to Monetary Policy, Inflation, and the Business Cycle: An Introduction to the New Keynesian Framework," Introductory Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, Inflation, and the Business Cycle: An Introduction to the New Keynesian Framework Princeton University Press.
- Hall, Robert E. (ed.), 2009. "Inflation," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226313252.
- Michael F. Bryan & Guhan Venkatu, 2001. "The demographics of inflation opinion surveys," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Oct.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:834-845. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.