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Heterogeneous inflation expectations, learning, and market outcomes

  • Carlos Madeira
  • Basit Zafar

Using the panel component of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, we show that individuals, in particular women and ethnic minorities, are highly heterogeneous in their expectations of inflation. We estimate a model of inflation expectations based on learning from experience that also allows for heterogeneity in both private information and updating. Our model vastly outperforms existing models of inflation expectations in explaining the heterogeneity in the data. We find that women, ethnic minorities, and less educated agents have a higher degree of heterogeneity in their private information, and are also slower to update their expectations. In addition, we show that personal income forecasts are positively related to subjective inflation expectations. During the 2000s, consumers believe inflation to be more persistent in the short term, but temporary fluctuations in inflation have less effect on income and long-term inflation expectations. Finally, we find evidence that sticky expectations and the heterogeneity of new information received by consumers generate higher mark-ups and inflation.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 536.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:536
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  1. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
  2. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky information versus sticky prices: a proposal to replace the New-Keynesian Phillips curve," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
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  9. Athanasios Orphanides & John Williams, 2004. "Imperfect Knowledge, Inflation Expectations, and Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 201-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Souleles, Nicholas S, 2004. "Expectations, Heterogeneous Forecast Errors, and Consumption: Micro Evidence from the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Surveys," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 39-72, February.
  13. Robert W. Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2006. "The relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty: evidence from matched point and density forecasts," Staff Reports 253, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  14. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-35, September.
  15. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298.
  16. Roland Bénabou & Robert Gertner, 1993. "Search with Learning from Prices: Does Increased Inflationary Uncertainty Lead to Higher Markups?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 69-93.
  17. Chryssi Giannitsarou, 2003. "Heterogeneous Learning," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 885-906, October.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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