The measurement of consumer expectations using survey data
Surveys of consumers collect considerable information on consumer expectations. However, the simple categorical structure of the questions -- such as "Do you expect your income to rise, fall, or stay the same?" -- makes their value for research uncertain. This paper analyzes the information content of the survey measures. I draw on Manski's finding that, while categorical questions do not identify the probability of an event occurring, they do provide information on probability bounds. I analyze data from two well-known surveys, showing that, although the bounds are often wide, for some measures they move closely with the series they are intended to track or predict.
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