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Human Frictions to the Transmission of Economic Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Francesco D'Acunto

    (Boston College)

  • Daniel Hoang

    (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

  • Maritta Paloviita

    (Bank of Finland)

  • Michael Weber

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Intertemporal substitution is at the heart of modern macroeconomics and finance as well as economic policymaking, but a large fraction of a representative population of men -- those below the top of the distribution by cognitive abilities (IQ) -- do not change their consumption propensities with their inflation expectations. Low-IQ men are also less than half as sensitive to interest-rate changes when making borrowing decisions. Our microdata include unique administrative information on cognitive abilities, as well as economic expectations, consumption and borrowing plans, and total household debt from Finland. Heterogeneity in observables such as education, income, other expectations, and financial constraints do not drive these patterns. Costly information acquisition and the ability to form accurate forecasts are channels that cannot fully explain these results. Limited cognitive abilities could be human frictions in the transmission and effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies that operate through household consumption and borrowing decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco D'Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Maritta Paloviita & Michael Weber, 2019. "Human Frictions to the Transmission of Economic Policy," 2019 Meeting Papers 339, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed019:339
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Roth & Sonja Settele & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Risk Exposure and Acquisition of Macroeconomic Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 8634, CESifo.
    2. Link, Sebastian & Peichl, Andreas & Roth, Christopher & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2021. "Information Frictions among Firms and Households," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 556, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Bernardo Candia & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2020. "Communication and the Beliefs of Economic Agents," NBER Working Papers 27800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Goldfayn-Frank, Olga & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2020. "Expectation formation in a new environment: Evidence from the German reunification," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 301-320.
    5. 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.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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