How well do U.S. consumers predict the direction of change in interest rates?
The Michigan survey asks U.S. consumers about their 1-year expected directional change in interest rates. For 1978-1983 when interest rates are volatile, we find a strong association between the actual and predicted changes, with no asymmetry (the proportions of incorrectly predicted upward and downward moves are statistically the same.) For 1984-2005 when interest rates are relatively stable, we find asymmetry (consumers do not accurately predict the downward moves in interest rates.) We conclude that consumer borrowing based on such expectations can undermine monetary policy effectiveness, depending both on the directional change in policy and interest rate volatility.
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- Peter M. Summers, 2005. "What caused the Great Moderation? : some cross-country evidence," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-32.
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- Mark Greer, 2005. "Combination forecasting for directional accuracy: An application to survey interest rate forecasts," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(6), pages 607-615.
- Joutz, Fred & Stekler, H. O., 2000. "An evaluation of the predictions of the Federal Reserve," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 17-38.
- Henriksson, Roy D & Merton, Robert C, 1981. "On Market Timing and Investment Performance. II. Statistical Procedures for Evaluating Forecasting Skills," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 513-33, October.
- Feige, Edgar L & Pearce, Douglas K, 1976. "Economically Rational Expectations: Are Innovations in the Rate of Inflation Independent of Innovations in Measures of Monetary and Fiscal Policy?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 499-522, June.
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