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The Determinants of Consumers' Inflation Expectations: Evidence from the US and Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Charles Bellemare
  • Rolande Kpekou Tossou
  • Kevin Moran

Abstract

We propose and estimate a dynamic and individual model of expectations formation that links individual consumers' inflation expectations to their own lagged forecasts as well as proxies for the rational expectation forecasts. The model builds on the existing rational inattention literature and extends it in several dimensions. We explicitly model the expectations updating rule which consumers use to incorporate new information in their experience and take seriously heterogeneity in inflation expectations extensively documented in the literature. We estimate the model using data from two important new surveys - the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Survey of Consumer Expectations and the Bank of Canada's Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations. We find that inflation expectations appear to correlate more strongly to measures of rational expectations forecasts in Canada than in the US, and conversely less to lagged expectations. More specifically, the median respondent assigns overall weights of roughly 75% to proxies for the rational expectation forecasts and 25% to lagged expectations in Canada, while these weights are around 50-50 for the US. We show that these differences in weights are not explained by differences in the characteristics of their stand-in consumers. Given this finding, one candidate explanation could be related to the explicit inflation target in Canada in comparison to the dual mandate in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Bellemare & Rolande Kpekou Tossou & Kevin Moran, 2020. "The Determinants of Consumers' Inflation Expectations: Evidence from the US and Canada," Staff Working Papers 20-52, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:20-52
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & James MacGee, 2020. "Has the Inflation Process Changed? Selective Review of Recent Research on Inflation Dynamics," Discussion Papers 2020-11, Bank of Canada.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central bank research; Econometric and statistical methods; Inflation and prices; Inflation targets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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