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Asymmetries in Inflation Expectation Formation Across Demographic Groups

  • Pfajfar, D.
  • Santoro, E.

Relying on University of Michigan data on expectations, we establish some stylized facts on the process of in.ation expectation formation across different demographic groups. Percentile time series models are employed to test for rationality and to study learning dynamics across the whole cross-sectional spectrum of responses. These display a significant degree of heterogeneity and asymmetry. Income, education, and gender seem to be rather important characteristics when forecasting inflation. In particular, high income, highly educated, and male agents produce lower mean squared errors. Moreover, socioeconomically "disadvantaged" respondents assume as a reference point their specific consumption basket, while more advantaged respondents actually observe the general price level. A common observation applying to all socioeconomic groups is that agents positioned around the center of the distribution behave roughly in line with the rational expectations hypothesis. Agents on the left hand side of the median (LHS) of the distribution update information very infrequently. As to agents on the right hand side of the median (RHS), we can affirm that their expectations are consistent with adaptive learning and staggered information updating. However, the speed of learning can vary significantly across percentiles and di¤erent demographic groups.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0824.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0824
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