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Managing Households' Expectations with Salient Economic Policies

Author

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  • Francesco D'Acunto
  • Daniel Hoang
  • Michael Weber
  • Michael Weber

Abstract

The empirical effectiveness of economic policies that operate theoretically through similar channels differs substantially. We document this fact by comparing an easy-to-grasp expectations-based policy, unconventional fiscal policy, with a policy whose implications are harder to understand by non-expert consumers, forward guidance. Both policies aim to stimulate consumption via managing inflation expectations based on the Euler equation. Unconventional fiscal policy uses trivial announcements of future consumer-price increases to boost inflation expectations and consumption expenditure on impact. Instead, forward guidance requires that agents understand the inflationary effects of future low interest rates to increase their inflation expectations and spending today. We find households’ inflation expectations and readiness to spend react substantially to unconventional fiscal policy announcements. The reaction is homogeneous across households with different levels of sophistication. Instead, households do not react after forward guidance announcements. These results support recent work stressing the importance of limited cognition for the effectiveness of policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco D'Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber & Michael Weber, 2019. "Managing Households' Expectations with Salient Economic Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 7793, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7793
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Coibion & Dimitris Georgarakos & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Michael Weber, 2020. "Forward Guidance and Household Expectations," Working Papers 2020-07, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    2. Francesco D’Acunto & Ulrike Malmendier & Juan Ospina & Michael Weber, 2019. "Exposure to Daily Price Changes and Inflation Expectations," NBER Working Papers 26237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Wei Dong & Geoffrey Dunbar & Christian Friedrich & Dmitry Matveev & Romanos Priftis & Lin Shao, 2021. "Complementarities Between Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy—Literature Review," Discussion Papers 2021-4, Bank of Canada.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    expectations; natural experiments; consumption; fiscal policy; monetary policy; macroeconomics with micro data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • 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
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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