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Expectations with Endogenous Information Acquisition: An Experimental Investigation


  • Andreas Fuster
  • Ricardo Perez-Truglia
  • Mirko Wiederholt
  • Basit Zafar


Information frictions play an important role in many theories of expectation formation. We use a survey experiment to generate direct evidence on how people select, acquire and process information. Participants can buy different information signals that could help them forecast future national home prices. We elicit their willingness to pay for information, and introduce exogenous variation in the cost of information. We find that participants put substantial value on their preferred signal and, when acquired, incorporate the signal in their beliefs. However, they disagree on which signal to buy. As a result, making information cheaper does not decrease the cross-sectional dispersion of expectations. We further document that numeracy and the revealed “taste” for accurate expectations are important correlates of heterogeneity in all stages of the process. We provide a model with costly acquisition and processing of information, which can match most of our empirical results.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Fuster & Ricardo Perez-Truglia & Mirko Wiederholt & Basit Zafar, 2018. "Expectations with Endogenous Information Acquisition: An Experimental Investigation," NBER Working Papers 24767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24767
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    Cited by:

    1. Hobler, Stephan, 2022. "Multi-layered rational inattention and time-varying volatility," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    2. Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "How Do Expectations about the Macroeconomy Affect Personal Expectations and Behavior?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 731-748, October.
    3. Haaland, Ingar & Roth, Christopher & Wohlfart. Johannes, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1275, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. D'Acunto, Francesco & Hoang, Daniel & Paloviita, Maritta & Weber, Michael, 2019. "IQ, Expectations, and Choice," Research Discussion Papers 2/2019, Bank of Finland.
    5. Chopra, Felix & Haaland, Ingar & Roth, Christopher, 2021. "The Demand for FactChecking," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 563, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Elisabeth Grewenig & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2019. "Incentives, search engines, and the elicitation of subjective beliefs: evidence from representative online survey experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 7556, CESifo.
    7. Francesco D'Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Maritta Paloviita & Michael Weber, 2020. "Effective Policy Communication: Targets versus Instruments," Working Papers 2020-148, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    8. Matteo Bobba & Veronica Frisancho, 2020. "Self-Perceptions about Academic Achievement: Evidence from Mexico City," Post-Print hal-03597939, HAL.
    9. Brad C. Nathan & Ricardo Perez-Truglia & Alejandro Zentner, 2020. "My Taxes are Too Darn High: Why Do Households Protest their Taxes?," NBER Working Papers 27816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Darya Korlyakova, 2021. "Learning about Ethnic Discrimination from Different Information Sources," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp689, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    11. Mackowiak, Bartosz Adam & Matejka, Filip & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2020. "Rational Inattention: A Review," CEPR Discussion Papers 15408, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Broer, Tobias & Kohlhas, Alexandre, 2018. "Forecaster (Mis-)Behavior," CEPR Discussion Papers 12898, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Felix Chopra & Ingar K. Haaland & Christopher Roth, 2019. "Do People Value More Informative News?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8026, CESifo.
    14. Nicolas L. Bottan & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2020. "Betting on the House: Subjective Expectations and Market Choices," NBER Working Papers 27412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Jesper Akesson & Sam Ashworth-Hayes & Robert Hahn & Robert D. Metcalfe & Itzhak Rasooly, 2020. "Fatalism, Beliefs, and Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 27245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Marcelo L. Bérgolo & Rodrigo Ceni & Guillermo Cruces & Matias Giaccobasso & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2017. "Tax Audits as Scarecrows: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Wenting Song & Samuel Stern, 2022. "Firm Inattention and the Efficacy of Monetary Policy: A Text-Based Approach," Staff Working Papers 22-3, Bank of Canada.
    18. Fehr, Dietmar & Vollmann, Martin, 2020. "Misperceiving Economic Success: Experimental Evidence on Meritocratic Beliefs and Inequality Acceptance," Working Papers 0695, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    19. Annika Weber & Christine Laudenbach & Johannes Wohlfart, 2021. "Beliefs About the Stock Market and Investment Choices: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CEBI working paper series 21-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    20. Tobin Hanspal & Annika Weber & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Exposure to the Covid-19 Stock Market Crash and its Effect on Household Expectations," CESifo Working Paper Series 8244, CESifo.
    21. Zoë B. Cullen & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2018. "The Salary Taboo: Privacy Norms and the Diffusion of Information," NBER Working Papers 25145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Christine Laudenbach & Annika Weber & Johannes Wohlfart, 2021. "Beliefs About the Stock Market and Investment Choices: Evidence from a Field Experiment," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 128, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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