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On the accuracy of the probability method for quantifying beliefs about inflation


  • Thomas Maag


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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  • Thomas Maag, 2009. "On the accuracy of the probability method for quantifying beliefs about inflation," KOF Working papers 09-230, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:09-230

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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 1080-1087, December.
    3. Smith, Jeremy & McAleer, Michael, 1995. "Alternative Procedures for Converting Qualitative Response Data to Quantitative Expectations: An Application to Australian Manufacturing," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 165-185, April-Jun.
    4. Jan Marc Berk, 1999. "Measuring inflation expectations: a survey data approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(11), pages 1467-1480.
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    6. Wioletta Dziuda & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2009. "The Euro Changeover and Its Effects on Price Transparency and Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(1), pages 101-129, February.
    7. Ehrmann, Michael, 2006. "Rational inattention, inflation developments and perceptions after the euro cash changeover," Working Paper Series 588, European Central Bank.
    8. 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.
    9. Sarah M. Lein & Thomas Maag, 2011. "The Formation Of Inflation Perceptions: Some Empirical Facts For European Countries," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(2), pages 155-188, May.
    10. Steffen Henzel & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2006. "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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Batchelor, Roy A & Orr, Adrian B, 1988. "Inflation Expectations Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(219), pages 317-331, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lena Draeger & Michael J. Lamla, 2015. "Disagreement à la Taylor: Evidence from Survey Microdata," KOF Working papers 15-380, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    2. Oscar Claveria & Enric Monte & Salvador Torra, 2017. "Let the data do the talking: Empirical modelling of survey-based expectations by means of genetic programming," IREA Working Papers 201711, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised May 2017.
    3. Maurizio Bovi, 2016. "The tale of two expectations," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2677-2705, November.
    4. Michael J. Lamla & Thomas Maag, 2012. "The Role of Media for Inflation Forecast Disagreement of Households and Professional Forecasters," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(7), pages 1325-1350, October.
    5. Breitung, Jörg & Schmeling, Maik, 2013. "Quantifying survey expectations: What’s wrong with the probability approach?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 142-154.
    6. Siklos, Pierre, 2017. "What Has Publishing Inflation Forecasts Accomplished? Central Banks And Their Competitors," LCERPA Working Papers 0098, Laurier Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis, revised 01 Apr 2017.
    7. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0416-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Lena Dräger & Jan-Oliver Menz & Ulrich Fritsche, 2014. "Perceived inflation under loss aversion," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 282-293, January.
    9. Maurizio Bovi, 2014. "Shocks and the Expectations Formation Process. A Tale of Two Expectations," Natural Field Experiments 00390, The Field Experiments Website.
    10. Kajal Lahiri & Yongchen Zhao, 2013. "Quantifying Heterogeneous Survey Expectations: The Carlson-Parkin Method Revisited," Discussion Papers 13-08, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.

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    Quantification; Inflation expectations; Inflation perceptions; Qualitative response data; Belief formation;

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