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Household inflation expectations and consumer spending: evidence from panel data

Author

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  • Burke, Mary A.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

  • Ozdagli, Ali K.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

Abstract

With nominal interest rates at the zero lower bound, an important question for monetary policy is whether, as predicted in prior theoretical work, an increase in inflation expectations would boost current consumer spending. Using survey panel data for the period from April 2009 to November 2012, we examine the relationship between a household's inflation expectations and its current spending, taking into account other factors such as the household's wage growth expectations, the uncertainty surrounding its inflation expectations, macroeconomic conditions, and unobserved heterogeneity at the household level. We examine spending behavior for large consumer durables as well as for nondurable goods. No evidence is found that consumers increase their spending on large home appliances and electronics in response to an increase in their inflation expectations. In most models, the estimated effects are small, negative, and statistically insignificant. However, consumers do appear more likely to purchase a car as their short-run inflation expectations rise. Additionally, in some models, spending on nondurable goods increases with short-run expected inflation. These estimated effects on nondurables spending are modest, not highly robust, and appear to be driven by the behavior of homeowners who did not have a mortgage. These findings are surprising because theory predicts that consumption of durable goods should be more sensitive to real interest rates than consumption of nondurable goods. In addition, consumers in our sample, on average, did not expect their nominal income growth to match inflation, and therefore an increase in expected inflation would create a negative income effect that discourages spending in both the present and the future. The findings suggest that, as a policy measure, raising inflation expectations may not be effective in boosting present consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:13-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Austin Nichols, 2010. "Regression for nonnegative skewed dependent variables," BOS10 Stata Conference 2, Stata Users Group.
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    3. Hibiki Ichiue & Shusaku Nishiguchi, 2015. "Inflation Expectations And Consumer Spending At The Zero Bound: Micro Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 1086-1107, April.
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    6. Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2013. "Measuring Total Household Spending in a Monthly Internet Survey: Evidence from the American Life Panel," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 365-387 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Manning, Willard G., 1998. "The logged dependent variable, heteroscedasticity, and the retransformation problem," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 283-295, June.
    8. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco D'Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber, 2016. "Unconventional Fiscal Policy, Inflation Expectations, and Consumption Expenditure," CESifo Working Paper Series 5793, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Lena Dräger, 2016. "Are Consumers Planning Consumption According to an Euler Equation?," Working Papers 1621, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    3. Francesco D’Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber, 2017. "The Effect of Unconventional Fiscal Policy on Consumption Expenditure," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(1), pages 09-11, April.
    4. repec:prg:jnlpol:v:2017:y:2017:i:3:id:1148:p:351-369 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Crump, Richard K. & Eusepi, Stefano & Tambalotti, Andrea & Topa, Giorgio, 2015. "Subjective intertemporal substitution," Staff Reports 734, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Filip Premik & Ewa Stanisławska, 2017. "The impact of inflation expectations on Polish consumers’ spending and saving," NBP Working Papers 255, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    7. repec:eee:jmacro:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:238-251 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Julio Garín & Robert Lester & Eric Sims, 2016. "Are Supply Shocks Contractionary at the ZLB? Evidence from Utilization-Adjusted TFP Data," NBER Working Papers 22311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Eva Arnold & Lena Dräger & Ulrich Fritsche, 2014. "Evaluating the Link between Consumers' Savings Portfolio Decisions, their Inflation Expectations and Economic News," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201402, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.
    10. 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.
    11. Djuric, Uros & Neugart, Michael, 2017. "Helicopter money: survey evidence on expectation formation and consumption behavior," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168062, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Michael Weber & Daniel Hoang & Francesco D'Acunto, 2015. "Inflation Expectations and Consumption Expenditure," 2015 Meeting Papers 1266, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi & Nasim Khoshkhou, 2015. "Government Economic Policy, Sentiments, and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 21316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Yuichiro Ito & Sohei Kaihatsu, 2016. "Effects of Inflation and Wage Expectations on Consumer Spending: Evidence from Micro Data," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 16-E-7, Bank of Japan.
    15. repec:mes:eaeuec:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:3-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Lena Dräger & Giang Nghiem, 2016. "Are Consumers’ Spending Decisions in Line With an Euler Equation?," Working Papers 1802, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 26 Jan 2018.

    More about this item

    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
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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