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Spend today or spend tomorrow? The role of inflation expectations in consumer behaviour

Author

Listed:
  • Concetta Rondinelli

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Roberta Zizza

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether Italian households’ actual expenditure and willingness to buy durables (cars) are related to their inflation expectations. In a high-inflation regime, as in the early 1990s, consumers with higher inflation expectations tend to have higher current than future expenditure, suggesting that an inter-temporal substitution mechanism is at work. Conversely, in a low-inflation environment, such as the one after the global financial crisis, higher expected inflation lowers households’ purchasing power and, thereby, spending (income effect). We also find that the composition of household balance sheets matters for explaining how inflation expectations shape spending behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Concetta Rondinelli & Roberta Zizza, 2020. "Spend today or spend tomorrow? The role of inflation expectations in consumer behaviour," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1276, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_1276_20
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    readiness to spend; intertemporal substitution effect; income effect; financial constraints;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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