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How Does Consumption Respond to News about Inflation? Field Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial

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  • Coibion, Olivier
  • Georgarakos, Dimitris
  • Gorodnichenko, Yuriy
  • van Rooij, Maarten

Abstract

We implement a survey of Dutch households in which random subsets of respondents receive information about inflation. The resulting exog-enously generated variation in inflation expectations is used to assess how expectations affect consumption decisions. The causal effects of reduced inflation expectations on nondurable spending are imprecisely estimated, but there is a sharp positive effect on durable spending. This is likely driven by the fact that Dutch households seem to become more optimistic about their real income and aggregate spending when they decrease their inflation expectations. We find little role for cognitive or financial constraints in explaining spending responses. (JEL C83, D12, D83, D84, E21, E31)
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Suggested Citation

  • Coibion, Olivier & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & van Rooij, Maarten, 2019. "How Does Consumption Respond to News about Inflation? Field Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3zh865pj, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt3zh865pj
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    survey data; inflation expectations; households; durable and non-durable consumption; randomized control trial;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • 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

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