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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