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What Do the Data Tell Us About Inflation Expectations?

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  • Francesco D’Acunto
  • Ulrike Malmendier
  • Michael Weber

Abstract

Inflation expectations are central to economics because they affect the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policy as well as realized inflation. We survey the recent literature with a focus on the inflation expectations of households. We first review standard data sources and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. We then document that household inflation expectations are biased upwards, dispersed across individuals, and volatile in the time series. We also provide evidence of systematic differences by gender, income, education, and race. Turning to the underlying expectations formation process, we highlight the role of individuals' exposure to price signals in their daily lives, such as price changes in groceries, the role of lifetime experiences, and the role of cognition. We then discuss the literature that links inflation expectations to economic decisions at the individual level, including consumption-savings and financial decisions. We conclude with an outlook for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco D’Acunto & Ulrike Malmendier & Michael Weber, 2022. "What Do the Data Tell Us About Inflation Expectations?," NBER Working Papers 29825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:29825
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    Cited by:

    1. Dräger, Lena & Lamla, Michael J. & Pfajfar, Damjan, 2024. "How to limit the spillover from an inflation surge to inflation expectations?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    2. Cars Hommes & Julien Pinter & Isabelle Salle, 2023. "What People Believe About Monetary Finance and What We Can(’t) Do About It: Evidence from a Large-Scale, Multi-Country Survey Experiment," Staff Working Papers 23-36, Bank of Canada.
    3. Jasmina Arifovic & Isabelle Salle & Hung Truong, 2023. "History-Dependent Monetary Regimes: A Lab Experiment and a Henk Model," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 23-028/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Boumans, Dorine & Gründler, Klaus & Potrafke, Niklas & Ruthardt, Fabian, 2024. "Political leaders and macroeconomic expectations: Evidence from a global survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 235(C).
    5. Dovern, Jonas & Müller, Lena Sophia & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2023. "Local information and firm expectations about aggregates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 1-13.
    6. Ascari, Guido & Fasani, Stefano & Grazzini, Jakob & Rossi, Lorenza, 2023. "Endogenous uncertainty and the macroeconomic impact of shocks to inflation expectations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(S), pages 48-63.
    7. Lena Dräger & Michael J. Lamla, 2024. "Consumers' macroeconomic expectations," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 427-451, April.
    8. Alistair Macaulay & Wenting Song, 2022. "Narrative-Driven Fluctuations in Sentiment: Evidence Linking Traditional and Social Media," Economics Series Working Papers 973, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Coleman, Winnie & Nautz, Dieter, 2023. "Inflation target credibility in times of high inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 222(C).
    10. Christiane Nickel & Gerrit Koester & Eliza Lis, 2022. "Inflation Developments in the Euro Area Since the Onset of the Pandemic," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 57(2), pages 69-75, March.
    11. Naveen Rai & Patrick Sabourin, 2023. "Why Consumers Disagree About Future Inflation," Discussion Papers 2023-11, Bank of Canada.
    12. Hie Joo Ahn & Choongryul Yang, 2022. "Effects of Monetary Policy on Household Expectations: The Role of Homeownership," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2022-065, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. Wellmann, Susanne, 2023. "The Phillips curve in the euro area: New evidence using country-level data," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 156, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
    14. Afunts, Geghetsik & Cato, Misina & Schmidt, Tobias, 2023. "Inflation Expectations in the Wake of the War in Ukraine," VfS Annual Conference 2023 (Regensburg): Growth and the "sociale Frage" 277577, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Michal Marencak, 2023. "State-dependent inflation expectations and consumption choices," Working and Discussion Papers WP 10/2023, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
    16. Olivier Armantier & Gizem Koşar & Jason Somerville & Giorgio Topa & Wilbert Van der Klaauw & John C. Williams, 2022. "The Curious Case of the Rise in Deflation Expectations," Staff Reports 1037, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    17. Lena Dräger & Klaus Gründler & Niklas Potrafke, 2022. "Political Shocks and Inflation Expectations: Evidence from the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine," ifo Working Paper Series 371, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    18. Cars Hommes & Julien Pinter & Isabelle Salle, 2024. "What people believe about monetary finance and what we can(‘t) do about it: Evidence from a large-scale, multi-country survey experiment," Working Papers 2024.9, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
    19. Goodhart, C. A. E. & Pradhan, Manoj, 2023. "A snapshot of Central Bank (two year) forecasting: a mixed picture," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 118680, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E71 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on the Macro Economy
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
    • G53 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Financial Literacy

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