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How Does Consumption Respond to News about Inflation? Field Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial

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  • Olivier Coibion
  • Dimitris Georgarakos
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko
  • Maarten van Rooij

Abstract

We implement a survey of Dutch households in which random subsets of respondents receive information about inflation. The resulting exogenously generated variation in inflation expectations is used to assess how expectations affect subsequent monthly consumption decisions relative to those in a control group. The causal effects of elevated inflation expectations on non-durable spending are imprecisely estimated but there is a sharp negative effect on durable spending. We provide evidence that this is likely driven by the fact that Dutch households seem to become more pessimistic about their real income as well as aggregate spending when they increase their inflation expectations. There is little evidence to support the idea that the degree to which respondents change their beliefs or their spending in response to information treatments depends on their level of cognitive or financial constraints.

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  • Olivier Coibion & Dimitris Georgarakos & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Maarten van Rooij, 2019. "How Does Consumption Respond to News about Inflation? Field Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial," NBER Working Papers 26106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26106
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    1. > Macroeconomics > Monetary Theory

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    1. Bui, Dzung & Dräger, Lena & Hayo, Bernd & Nghiem, Giang, 2020. "Consumer Sentiment During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Others‘ Beliefs," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-680, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, revised Apr 2021.
    2. Coibion, Olivier & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Kenny, Geoff & Weber, Michael, 2021. "The Effect of Macroeconomic Uncertainty on Household Spending," IZA Discussion Papers 14213, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Weber, Michael, 2020. "Does Policy Communication during COVID-19 Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 13355, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Gabriele Galati & Richhild Moessner & Maarten van Rooij, 2020. "The anchoring of long-term inflation expectations of consumers: insights from a new survey," DNB Working Papers 688, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    5. Ewa Stanisławska & Maritta Paloviita, 2021. "Medium- vs. short-term consumer inflation expectations: evidence from a new euro area survey," NBP Working Papers 338, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    6. Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Weber, Michael, 2020. "Does Policy Communication During COVID Work?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt19b8p8g1, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    7. Candia, Bernardo & Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy, 2021. "The Inflation Expectations of U.S. Firms: Evidence from a New Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 14378, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Mary A. Burke & Ali K. Ozdagli, 2013. "Household inflation expectations and consumer spending: evidence from panel data," Working Papers 13-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    9. Dräger, Lena & Bui, Dzung & Nghiem, Giang & Hayo, Bernd, 2021. "Consumer Sentiment During the COVID-19 Pandemic," VfS Annual Conference 2021 (Virtual Conference): Climate Economics 242375, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Ewa Stanisławska & Maritta Paloviita, 2021. "Medium- vs. short-term consumer inflation expectations: evidence from a new euro area survey," NBP Working Papers 338, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    11. Cecion, Martina & Coenen, Günter & Gerke, Rafael & Le Bihan, Hervé & Motto, Roberto & Aguilar, Pablo & Ajevskis, Viktors & Giesen, Sebastian & Albertazzi, Ugo & Gilbert, Niels & Al-Haschimi, Alexander, 2021. "The ECB’s price stability framework: past experience, and current and future challenges," Occasional Paper Series 269, European Central Bank.
    12. Duca-Radu, Ioana & Kenny, Geoff & Reuter, Andreas, 2021. "Inflation expectations, consumption and the lower bound: Micro evidence from a large multi-country survey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 120-134.
    13. Bernardo Candia & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2020. "Communication and the Beliefs of Economic Agents," NBER Working Papers 27800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Armantier, Olivier & Koşar, Gizem & Pomerantz, Rachel & Skandalis, Daphné & Smith, Kyle & Topa, Giorgio & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2021. "How economic crises affect inflation beliefs: Evidence from the Covid-19 pandemic," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 443-469.
    15. Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Kumar, Saten & Pedemonte, Mathieu, 2020. "Inflation expectations as a policy tool?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    16. Buchheim, Lukas & Dovern, Jonas & Krolage, Carla & Link, Sebastian, 2020. "Firm-level Expectations and Behavior in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 13253, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Conrad, Christian & Enders, Zeno & Glas, Alexander, 2020. "The role of information and experience for households' inflation expectations," Working Papers 20, German Research Foundation's Priority Programme 1859 "Experience and Expectation. Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour", Humboldt University Berlin.
    18. Sara Cecchetti & Davide Fantino & Alessandro Notarpietro & Marianna Riggi & Alex Tagliabracci & Andrea Tiseno & Roberta Zizza, 2021. "Inflation expectations in the euro area: indicators, analyses and models used at Banca d’Italia," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 612, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    19. Hanspal, Tobin & Weber, Annika & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2020. "Exposure to the COVID-19 stock market crash and its effect on household expectations," SAFE Working Paper Series 279, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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