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Predicting the macroeconomic effects of abstract and concrete events

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  • Roos, Michael W.M.

Abstract

This paper presents experimental evidence that non-experts do not distinguish between macroeconomically relevant and irrelevant events in the way economic theory would suggest. Students were asked to predict the likely consequences of several events in fictitious newspaper reports on GDP, inflation, unemployment, and aggregate sales. They overestimate the effects of irrelevant events, especially if those events are easy to imagine. The magnitudes of the predicted effects are clearly related to the concreteness of the events. The results are compatible with the use of the availability heuristic in the process of forming economic expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Roos, Michael W.M., 2008. "Predicting the macroeconomic effects of abstract and concrete events," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 192-201, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:192-201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jörg Döpke & Jonas Dovern & Ulrich Fritsche & Jiri Slacalek, 2008. "Sticky Information Phillips Curves: European Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(7), pages 1513-1520, October.
    2. John Duffy & Eric O'N. Fisher, 2005. "Sunspots in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 510-529, June.
    3. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298.
    4. Slacalek, Jirka & Fritsche, Ulrich & Dovern, Jonas & Döpke, Jörg, 2005. "European inflation expectations dynamics," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,37, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Michael W. M. Roos, 2005. "TV Weather Forecast or Look through the Window? Expert and Consumer Expectations about Macroeconomic Conditions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 415-437, July.
    6. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2006. "Seemingly Irrelevant Events Affect Economic Perceptions and Expectations: The FIFA World Cup 2006 as a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2275, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Leiser, David & Benita, Rinat & Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha, 2016. "Differing conceptions of the causes of the economic crisis: Effects of culture, economic training, and personal impact," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 154-163.
    2. Tideman, T. Nicolaus & Plassmann, Florenz, 2010. "Pricing externalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 176-184, June.

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