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Irrational Bias in Inflation Forecasts

  • Kim, Insu
  • Kim, Minsoo
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This paper investigates the issue of rational expectations using inflation forecasts from the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) and the Green Book. We provide an alternative test of rational expectations hypothesis by measuring the degree of persistence of potential systematic mistakes. The test is obtained by solving a signal extraction problem that distinguishes between systematic and non-systematic forecast errors. The findings indicate highly persistent systematic mistakes, which are driven by the inefficient use of available information, and reject the rational expectations hypothesis. The estimated time-varying bias can be used to improve the SPF and Green Book inflation forecast performance by at least 13.4%. This paper also documents evidence that the real interest rate plays a crucial role in explaining the level of bias that leads to under- and over predictions of actual inflation.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16447.

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Date of creation: 23 Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16447
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  1. Lovell, Michael C, 1986. "Tests of the Rational Expectations Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 110-24, March.
  2. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Laurence Ball & Dean Croushore, 1995. "Expectations and the effects of monetary policy," Working Papers 95-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Sbordone, Argia M., 2005. "Do expected future marginal costs drive inflation dynamics?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1183-1197, September.
  6. Carmona, Carlos Capistran, 2005. "Bias in Federal Reserve Inflation Forecasts: Is the Federal Reserve Irrational or Just Cautious?," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6v28v0b6, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2004. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 209-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  9. Ben S. Bernanke, 2007. "Inflation expectations and inflation forecasting," Speech 306, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. David Andolfatto & Scott Hendry & Kevin Moran, 2005. "Are Inflation Expectations Rational?," Macroeconomics 0501002, EconWPA.
  11. Yash P. Mehra, 2002. "Survey measures of expected inflation : revisiting the issues of predictive content and rationality," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 17-36.
  12. Roberts, John M., 1997. "Is inflation sticky?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-196, July.
  13. Jeremy Rudd & Karl Whelan, 2005. "Does labor's share drive inflation?," Open Access publications 10197/243, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  14. Dean Croushore, 1997. "The Livingston Survey: still useful after all these years," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 15-27.
  15. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  16. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:jul10 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2005. "Does Labor's Share Drive Inflation?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 297-312, April.
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