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What's Behind "Inflation Perceptions"? A Survey-Based Analysis of Italian Consumers


  • Paolo del Giovane
  • Silvia Fabiani
  • Roberto Sabbatini

    () (Bank of Italy, Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy Department)


This study investigates inflation perceptions, and their relationship with factors likely to affect them, through a survey of a representative sample of Italian consumers. The results show that reported inflation is, on average, much higher than measured by official statistics. Inflation perceptions are higher for women, the unemployed and less educated individuals, as well as for consumers with some forms of financial distress. A very low knowledge of the inflation concept and related statistics and an inaccurate memory of past prices turn out to play a significant role in explaining the highest class of perceptions. These results suggest that when consumers express their opinions on what they report as “inflation”, they are incorporating a complex combination of forces that go well beyond the phenomena measured by official inflation statistics.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo del Giovane & Silvia Fabiani & Roberto Sabbatini, 2009. "What's Behind "Inflation Perceptions"? A Survey-Based Analysis of Italian Consumers," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 68(1), pages 25-52, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gde:journl:gde_v68_n1_p25-52

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    Cited by:

    1. Lena Dräger, 2015. "Inflation perceptions and expectations in Sweden – Are media reports the missing link?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 77(5), pages 681-700, October.
    2. Easaw, Joshy & Golinelli, Roberto & Malgarini, Marco, 2013. "What determines households inflation expectations? Theory and evidence from a household survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-13.
    3. Lena Vogel & Jan-Oliver Menz & Ulrich Fritsche, 2009. "Prospect Theory and Inflation Perceptions - An Empirical Assessment," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 200903, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.

    More about this item


    inflation; consumers; perceptions; euro;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation


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