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On the Accuracy of the Probability Method for Quantifying Beliefs about Inflation

This paper assesses the probability method for quantifying EU consumer survey data on perceived and expected inflation. Based on micro-data from the Swedish consumer survey that asks for both qualitative and quantitative responses, I find that the theoretical assumptions of the method do not hold. In particular, estimated models of response behavior indicate that qualitative inflation expectations are not ordered. Nevertheless, the probability method generates series that are highly correlated with the mean of actual quantitative beliefs. For quantifying the cross-sectional dispersion of beliefs, however, an index of qualitative variation outperforms the probability method.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 09-230.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:09-230
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  1. Sarah M. Lein & Thomas Maag, 2008. "The Formation of Inflation Perceptions – Some Empirical Facts for European Countries," KOF Working papers 08-204, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  2. Batchelor, R. A., 1981. "Aggregate expectations under the stable laws," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 199-210, June.
  3. Steffen Henzel & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2005. "Quantifying Inflation Expectations with the Carlson-Parkin Method: A Survey-based Determination of the Just Noticeable Difference," Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing,Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2005(3), pages 321-352.
  4. Ehrmann, Michael, 2006. "Rational inattention, inflation developments and perceptions after the euro cash changeover," Working Paper Series 0588, European Central Bank.
  5. Lamla, Michael J. & Lein, Sarah M., 2014. "The role of media for consumers’ inflation expectation formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 62-77.
  6. Jonung, Lars & Laidler, David E, 1988. "Are Perceptions of Inflation Rational? Some Evidence for Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1080-87, December.
  7. Lahiri, Kajal & Teigland, Christie, 1987. "On the normality of probability distributions of inflation and GNP forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 269-279.
  8. Defris, L. V. & Williams, R. A., 1979. "Quantitative versus qualitative measures of price expectations: The evidence from Australian consumer surveys," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 169-173.
  9. Michela Nardo, 2003. "The Quantification of Qualitative Survey Data : A Critical Assessment," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(5), pages 645-668, December.
  10. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Wioletta Dziuda, 2005. "The Euro Changeover and its Effects on Price Transparency and Inflation," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 26, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2006.
  11. Jan Marc Berk, 1999. "Measuring inflation expectations: a survey data approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(11), pages 1467-1480.
  12. McAleer, M. & Smith, J., 1990. "Alternative Procedures for Converting Qualitative Response Data to Quantitative Expectations: An Application to Australian Manufacturing," Papers 219, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  13. Magnus Forsells & Geoff Kenny, 2004. "Survey Expectations, Rationality and the Dynamics of Euro Area Inflation," Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing,Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2004(1), pages 13-41.
  14. Dasgupta, Susmita & Lahiri, Kajal, 1992. "A Comparative Study of Alternative Methods of Quantifying Qualitative Survey Responses Using NAPM Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(4), pages 391-400, October.
  15. Batchelor, Roy A & Orr, Adrian B, 1988. "Inflation Expectations Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(219), pages 317-31, August.
  16. Manfred Fluch & Helmut Stix, 2007. "The Development of Euro Prices – Subjective Perception and Empirical Facts," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 1, pages 55–84.
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