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Communication and the Beliefs of Economic Agents

Author

Listed:
  • Bernardo Candia
  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

Abstract

New surveys provide a wealth of information on how economic agents form their expectations and how those expectations shape their decisions. We review recent evidence on how changes in macroeconomic expectations, particularly inflation expectations, affect households’ and firms’ actions. We show that the provision of information about inflation to households and firms can sometimes backfire in terms of their subsequent decisions. Whether or not this is the case hinges on how individuals interpret the news about inflation: supply-side interpretations (“inflation is bad for the economy”) lead to negative income effects, which can depress economic activity. We show that households in advanced economies, unlike professional forecasters, typically have such a supply-side interpretation, as do many firms. New communication strategies could avoid public misinterpretation of policy decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernardo Candia & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2020. "Communication and the Beliefs of Economic Agents," NBER Working Papers 27800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27800
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • 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

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