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The Epidemiology of Macroeconomic Expectations

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  • Christopher D Carroll

Abstract

Since the foundational work of Keynes (1936) macroeconomists have emphasized the importance of agents' expectations in determining macroeconomic outcomes Yet in recent decades macroeconomists have devoted almost no effort to modeling actual empirical expectations data instead assuming all agents' expectations are rational This paper takes up the challenge of modeling empirical household expectations data and shows that a simple standard model from epidemiology does a remarkably good job of explaining the deviations of household inflation and unemployment expectations from the rational expectations benchmark Furthermore a microfoundations or agent-based version of the model may be able to explain in a way that still permits aggregation stark rejections of the pure rational expectations framework like Souleles's (2002) finding that members of different demographic groups have sharply different predictions for macroeconomic aggregates like the inflation rate

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher D Carroll, 2001. "The Epidemiology of Macroeconomic Expectations," Economics Working Paper Archive 462, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:462
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dean Croushore, 1998. "Evaluating inflation forecasts," Working Papers 98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    3. Nicholas S. Souleles, "undated". "Household Securities Purchases, Transactions Costs, and Hedging Motives," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 24-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    4. George A. Akerlof & William T. Dickens & George L. Perry, 2000. "Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 1-60.
    5. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
    6. Mankiw, N Gregory, 2001. "The Inexorable and Mysterious Tradeoff between Inflation and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages 45-61, May.
    7. Chris Carroll & Wendy Dunn, 1997. "Unemployment Expectations, Jumping (S,s) Triggers, and Household Balance Sheets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 165-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dean Croushore, 1993. "Introducing: the survey of professional forecasters," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 3-15.
    9. repec:fth:jonhop:386 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-984, November.
    11. Roberts, John M., 1997. "Is inflation sticky?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-196, July.
    12. Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Consumer Sentiment: Its Rationality and Usefulness in Forecasting Expenditure - Evidence from the Michigan Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 8410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
    14. Barsky, Robert B., 1987. "The Fisher hypothesis and the forecastability and persistence of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-24, January.
    15. John M. Roberts, 1998. "Inflation expectations and the transmission of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    16. Bryan, Michael F & Gavin, William T, 1986. "Models of Inflation Expectations Formation: A Comparison of Household and Economist Forecasts: A Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(4), pages 539-544, November.
    17. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-rationality and inflation in two monetary regimes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    18. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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