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US Consumer Inflation Expectations: Evidence Regarding Learning, Accuracy and Demographics


  • Robert D. J. Anderson


Central banks have become increasingly aware of the importance of consumer inflation expectations in meeting monetary policy objectives. US consumer year-ahead inflation expectations data is available as measured by the Michigan 'Survey of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior'. Using the detailed demographic information recorded as part of the interview process to accommodate forecast heterogeneity, results suggest the accuracy of forecasts is linked to the demographic characteristics of the respondent. This survey also contains a short-rotating panel dimension, with most respondents being reinterviewed six months after the initial interview. Uniquely, this paper uses these matched interviews to examine whether consumers learn about inflation, improving the accuracy of their forecast from initial to reinterview. Results suggest, having corrected for attrition bias, that being reinterviewed stimulates agents to learn and improve forecast accuracy, the level of improvement being dependent on the demographic characteristic of the interviewee.

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  • Robert D. J. Anderson, 2008. "US Consumer Inflation Expectations: Evidence Regarding Learning, Accuracy and Demographics," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 99, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:99

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    6. Souleles, Nicholas S, 2004. "Expectations, Heterogeneous Forecast Errors, and Consumption: Micro Evidence from the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Surveys," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 39-72, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Golden, Brian & Monks, Allen, 2009. "Measuring Inflation Expectations in the Euro Area," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 67-84, January.
    2. Michael Ehrmann & Damjan Pfajfar & Emiliano Santoro, 2017. "Consumers' Attitudes and Their Inflation Expectations," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 13(1), pages 225-259, February.
    3. Carlos Madeira & Basit Zafar, 2015. "Heterogeneous Inflation Expectations and Learning," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(5), pages 867-896, August.
    4. Olivier Armantier & Scott Nelson & Giorgio Topa & Wilbert Van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2012. "The price is right: updating of inflation expectations in a randomized price information experiment," Staff Reports 543, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    5. Carlos Madeira & Basit Zafar, 2012. "Heterogeneus Inflation Expectations Learning and Market Outcomes," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 667, Central Bank of Chile.

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