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Survey Data and Subjective Beliefs in Business Cycle Models

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  • Anmol Bhandari
  • Jaroslav Borovicka
  • Paul Ho

Abstract

This paper develops a theory of subjective beliefs that departs from rational expectations, and shows that biases in household beliefs have quantitatively large effects on macroeconomic aggregates. The departures are formalized using model-consistent notions of pessimism and optimism and are disciplined by data on household forecasts. The role of subjective beliefs is quantified in a business cycle model with goods and labor market frictions. Consistent with the survey evidence, an increase in pessimism generates upward biases in unemployment and inflation forecasts and lowers economic activity. The underlying belief distortions reduce aggregate demand and propagate through frictional goods and labor markets. As a by-product of the analysis, solution techniques that preserve the effects of time-varying belief distortions in the class of linear solutions are developed.

Suggested Citation

  • Anmol Bhandari & Jaroslav Borovicka & Paul Ho, 2019. "Survey Data and Subjective Beliefs in Business Cycle Models," Working Paper 19-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:19-14
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective beliefs; pessimism; business cycles; survey data;

    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E71 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on the Macro Economy

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