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The inflation expectations of firms: what do they look like, are they accurate, and do they matter?

Author

Listed:
  • Bryan, Michael F.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

  • Meyer, Brent

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

  • Parker, Nicholas B.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to answer the three questions in the title. Using a large monthly survey of businesses, we investigate the inflation expectations and uncertainties of firms. We document that, in the aggregate, firm inflation expectations are very similar to the predictions of professional forecasters for national inflation statistics, despite a somewhat greater heterogeneity of expectations that we attribute to the idiosyncratic cost structure firms face. We also show that firm inflation expectations bear little in common with the “prices in general” expectations reported by households. Next we show that, during our three-year sample, firm inflation expectations appear to be unbiased predictors of their year-ahead observed (perceived) inflation. We also show that firms know what they don’t know—that the accuracy of firm inflation expectations is significantly and negatively related to their uncertainty about future inflation. And lastly, we demonstrate, by way of a cross-sectional Phillips curve, that firm inflation expectations are a useful addition to a policymaker’s information set. We show that firms’ inflation perceptions depend (importantly) on their expectations for inflation and their perception of firm-level slack.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan, Michael F. & Meyer, Brent & Parker, Nicholas B., 2014. "The inflation expectations of firms: what do they look like, are they accurate, and do they matter?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2014-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, revised 01 Jan 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2014-27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kouki Inamura & Kazunori Hiyama & Kyosuke Shiotani, 2017. "Inflation outlook and business conditions of firms: evidence from the Tankan Survey," IFC Bulletins chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Statistical implications of the new financial landscape, volume 43 Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Boneva, Lena & CLoyne, James & Weale, Martin & Wieladek, Tomasz, 2016. "Firms’ expectations and price-setting: evidence from micro data," Discussion Papers 48, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
    3. Domit, Sílvia & Jackson, Chris & Roberts-Sklar , Matt, 2015. "Do inflation expectations currently pose a risk to inflation?," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 55(55), pages 165-180.
    4. Simon Richards & Matthieu Verstraete, 2016. "Understanding Firms' Inflation Expectations Using the Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 6090, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Sohei Kaihatsu & Noriyuki Shiraki, 2016. "Firms' Inflation Expectations and Wage-setting Behaviors," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 16-E-10, Bank of Japan.
    6. Simon Richards & Matthieu Verstraete, 2016. "Understanding Firms' Inflation Expectations Using the Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey," Staff Working Papers 16-7, Bank of Canada.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inflation; survey inflation expectations; price formation;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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