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Inflation Expectations, Learning and Supermarket Prices: Evidence from Survey Experiments

Author

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  • Alberto Cavallo
  • Guillermo Cruces
  • Ricardo Perez-Truglia

Abstract

Information frictions play a central role in the formation of household inflation expectations, but there is no consensus about their origins. We address this question with novel evidence from survey experiments. We document two main findings. First, individuals in lower-inflation contexts have significantly weaker priors about the inflation rate. This finding suggests that rational inattention may be an important source of information frictions. Second, cognitive limitations also appear to be a source of information frictions: even when information about inflation statistics is made readily available, individuals still place a significant weight on less accurate sources of information, such as their memories of the price changes of the supermarket products they purchase. We discuss the implications of these findings for macroeconomic models and policy-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Cavallo & Guillermo Cruces & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2016. "Inflation Expectations, Learning and Supermarket Prices: Evidence from Survey Experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00542, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00542
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "What Can Survey Forecasts Tell Us about Information Rigidities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(1), pages 116-159.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexis Grigorieff & Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal, 2016. "Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments," Working Papers 590, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. Stefano DellaVigna & Devin Pope, 2016. "Predicting Experimental Results: Who Knows What?," NBER Working Papers 22566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Buchheim, Lukas & Link, Sebastian, 2017. "The Effect of Disaggregate Information on the Expectation Formation of Firms," Discussion Papers in Economics 41214, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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