What Makes a Good Economy? An Analysis of Survey Data
This study analyzes nearly twenty-five years of U.S. survey data to determine the macroeconomic conditions associated with economies the public considers “good.” These surveys are correlated with, but distinct from, other frequently-studied, expectations-oriented indices of consumer sentiment. The primary findings are as follows: 1) inflation and unemployment, the variables in the Phillips curve, explain much of the variation in the survey data; 2) consumers’ implied loss function is nearly linear in these two variables; 3) the public is willing to trade off four percentage points of (increased) inflation for one percentage point of (decreased) unemployment.
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