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How Do Firms Form Their Expectations? New Survey Evidence

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  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko
  • Saten Kumar

Abstract

We implement a new survey of firms’ macroeconomic beliefs in New Zealand and document a number of novel stylized facts from this survey. Despite nearly twenty-five years under an inflation targeting regime, there is widespread dispersion in firms’ beliefs about both past and future macroeconomic conditions, especially inflation, with average beliefs about recent and past inflation being much higher than those of professional forecasters. Much of the dispersion in beliefs can be explained by firms’ incentives to collect and process information, i.e. rational inattention motives. Using experimental methods, we find that firms update their beliefs in a Bayesian manner when presented with new information about the economy. But few firms seem to think that inflation is important to their business decisions and therefore they tend to devote few resources to collecting and processing information about inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Saten Kumar, 2015. "How Do Firms Form Their Expectations? New Survey Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21092
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    1. Olivier Armantier & Scott Nelson & Giorgio Topa & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2016. "The Price Is Right: Updating Inflation Expectations in a Randomized Price Information Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 503-523, July.
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    5. Saten Kumar & Hassan Afrouzi & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Inflation Targeting Does Not Anchor Inflation Expectations: Evidence from Firms in New Zealand," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(2 (Fall)), pages 151-225.
    6. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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