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Inflation at the Household Level

Author

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  • Greg Kaplan

    (University of Pennsylvania
    National Bureau of Economic Research
    University of Chicago
    Princeton University)

  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

We use scanner data to estimate inflation rates at the household level. Households' inflation rates are remarkably heterogeneous, with an interquartile range of 6.2 to 9.0 percentage points on an annual basis. Most of the heterogeneity comes not from variation in broadly defined consumption bundles but from variation in prices paid for the same types of goods - a source of variation that previous research has not measured. The entire distribution of household inflation rates shifts in parallel with aggregate inflation. Deviations from aggregate inflation exhibit only slightly negative serial correlation within each household over time, implying that the difference between a household's price level and the aggregate price level is persistent. Together, the large cross-sectional dispersion and low serial correlation of household-level inflation rates mean that almost all of the variability in a household's inflation rate over time comes from variability in household-level prices relative to average prices for the same goods, not from variability in the aggregate inflation rate. We provide a characterization of the stochastic process for household inflation that can be used to calibrate models of household decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2016. "Inflation at the Household Level," Working Papers 731, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, revised 11 Apr 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:731
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David E. Lebow & Ekaterina V. Peneva & Sandor Axelrod, 2018. "Perceptions and Expectations of Inflation by U.S. Households," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-073, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 25 Oct 2018.
    2. Goldfayn-Frank, Olga & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2018. "How do consumers adapt to a new environment in their economic forecasting? Evidence from the German reunification," IMFS Working Paper Series 129, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Saten Kumar & Mathieu Pedemonte, 2019. "Inflation Expectations as a Policy Tool?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Claudio Michelacci & Andrea Pozzi & Luigi Paciello, 2018. "The extensive margin of aggregate consumption demand," 2018 Meeting Papers 1008, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Helen Hughson & Gianni La Cava & Paul Ryan & Penelope Smith, 2016. "The Household Cash Flow Channel of Monetary Policy," RBA Bulletin (Print copy discontinued), Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 21-30, September.
    6. Jess Diamond & Kota Watanabe & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2018. "The Formation of Consumer Inflation Expectations: New Evidence From Japan's Deflation Experience," CARF F-Series CARF-F-442, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    7. Berge, Travis J., 2018. "Understanding survey-based inflation expectations," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 788-801.
    8. Javier Cravino & Ting Lan & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2018. "Price Stickiness along the Income Distribution and the Effects of Monetary Policy," Working Papers 661, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    9. Francesco D’Acunto & Ulrike Malmendier & Juan Ospina & Michael Weber, 2019. "Exposure to Daily Price Changes and Inflation Expectations," NBER Working Papers 26237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Cogoljević, Dušan & Gavrilović, Milan & Roganović, Miloš & Matić, Ivana & Piljan, Ivan, 2018. "Analyzing of consumer price index influence on inflation by multiple linear regression," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 505(C), pages 941-944.
    11. Jess Diamond & Kota Watanabe & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2018. "The Formation of Consumer Inflation Expectations: New Evidence From Japan's Deflation Experience," Working Papers on Central Bank Communication 001, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.
    12. Kim, Seongeun, 2019. "Quality, price stickiness, and monetary policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-1.
    13. Jess Diamond & Kota Watanabe & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2019. "The Formation of Consumer Inflation Expectations: New Evidence From Japan's Deflation Experience," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 19-E-13, Bank of Japan.
    14. Karolina Tura-Gawron & Maria Siranova & Karol Fisikowski, 2018. "ARE CONSUMER INFLATION EXPECTATIONS AN INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON? Results of spatial panel regressions models," GUT FME Working Paper Series A 50, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heterogeneity; Inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General

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