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Economic literacy and inflation expectations: evidence from a laboratory experiment

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  • Mary A. Burke
  • Michael Manz

Abstract

We present new experimental evidence on heterogeneity in the formation of inflation expectations and relate the variation to economic literacy and demographics. The experimental design allows us to investigate two channels through which expectations-formation may vary across individuals: (1) the choice of information and (2) the use of given information. Subjects who are more economically literate perform better along both dimensions—they choose more-relevant information and make better use of given information. Compared with survey data on inflation expectations, fewer demographic factors are associated with variation in inflation expectations, and economic literacy in most cases accounts for demographic variation in expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary A. Burke & Michael Manz, 2011. "Economic literacy and inflation expectations: evidence from a laboratory experiment," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:11-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. Pfajfar, Damjan & Žakelj, Blaž, 2014. "Experimental evidence on inflation expectation formation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 147-168.
    11. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 269-298.
    12. Pfajfar, D. & Santoro, E., 2008. "Asymmetries in Inflation Expectation Formation Across Demographic Groups," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0824, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    13. Jonung, Lars, 1981. "Perceived and Expected Rates of Inflation in Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 961-968, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xu, Lisa & Zia, Bilal, 2012. "Financial literacy around the world : an overview of the evidence with practical suggestions for the way forward," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6107, The World Bank.
    2. Michael J. Lamla & Lena Draeger & Damjan Pfajfar, 2013. "Are Consumer Expectations Theory-Consistent? The Role of Macroeconomic Determinants and Central Bank Communication," KOF Working papers 13-345, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    3. Malka de Castro Campos & Federica Teppa, 2016. "Individual inflation expectations in a declining-inflation environment: Evidence from survey data," DNB Working Papers 508, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    4. Georganas, Sotiris & Healy, Paul J. & Li, Nan, 2014. "Frequency bias in consumers׳ perceptions of inflation: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 144-158.
    5. Menz, Jan-Oliver & Poppitz, Philipp, 2013. "Household`s Disagreement on Inflation Expectations and Socioeconomic Media Exposure in Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80006, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Thomas A. Garrett, 2011. "A Federal Reserve System conference on research in applied microeconomics," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 455-462.
    7. Alberto Cavallo & Guillermo Cruces & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2014. "Inflation Expectations, Learning and Supermarket Prices," NBER Working Papers 20576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pfajfar, Damjan, 2013. "Formation of rationally heterogeneous expectations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1434-1452.
    9. Alberto Cavallo & Guillermo Cruces & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2016. "Learning from Potentially-Biased Statistics: Household Inflation Perceptions and Expectations in Argentina," NBER Working Papers 22103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Dräger, Lena & Lamla, Michael J. & Pfajfar, Damjan, 2016. "Are survey expectations theory-consistent? The role of central bank communication and news," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 84-111.
    11. Deversi, Marvin, 2014. "Do Macroeconomic Shocks Affect Intuitive Inflation Forecasting? An Experimental Investigation," Ruhr Economic Papers 528, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Lena Dräger & Ulrich Fritsche, 2013. "Don't Worry, Be Right! Survey Wording Effects on In flation Perceptions and Expectations," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201308, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.
    13. Burke, Mary A. & Ozdagli, Ali K., 2013. "Household inflation expectations and consumer spending: evidence from panel data," Working Papers 13-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    Keywords

    Inflation (Finance) ; Financial literacy;

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