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Author:Topa, Giorgio 

Discussion Paper
What Is Driving the Recent Rise in Consumer Inflation Expectations?

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers (the “Michigan Survey” hereafter) is the main source of information regarding consumers’ expectations of future inflation in the United States. The most recent release of the Michigan Survey on March 25 drew considerable attention because it showed a large spike in year-ahead expectations for inflation: as shown in the chart below, the median rose from 3.4 to 4.6 percent and the other quartiles of responses showed similar increases. What may have caused this rise in inflation expectations and what lessons should be taken ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110418

Discussion Paper
Inflation Expectations and Behavior: Do Survey Respondents Act on Their Beliefs?

Surveys of consumers’ inflation expectations are now a key component of monetary policy. To date, however, little work has been done on 1) whether individual consumers act on their beliefs about future inflation, and 2) whether the inflation expectations elicited by these surveys are actually informative about the respondents’ beliefs. In this post, we report on a new study by Armantier, Bruine de Bruin, Topa, van der Klaauw, and Zafar (2010) that investigates these two issues by comparing consumers’ survey-based inflation expectations with their behavior in a financially incentivized ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110727

Discussion Paper
Searching for Higher Wages

Since the peak of the recession, the unemployment rate has fallen by almost 5 percentage points, and observers continue to focus on whether and when this decline will lead to robust wage growth. Typically, in the wake of such a decline, real wages grow since there is more competition for workers among potential employers. While this relationship has historically been quite informative, real wage growth more recently has not been commensurate with observed declines in the unemployment rate.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150902

Discussion Paper
How Do People Revise Their Inflation Expectations?

The New York Fed started releasing results from its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) three years ago, in June 2013. The SCE is a monthly, nationally representative, internet-based survey of a rotating panel of about 1,300 household heads. Its goal, as described in a series of Liberty Street Economics posts, is to collect timely and high-quality information on consumer expectations about a broad range of topics, covering both macroeconomic variables and the households' own situation. In this post, we look at what drives changes in consumer inflation expectations. Do people respond to ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160822

The price is right: updating of inflation expectations in a randomized price information experiment

Understanding the formation of consumer inflation expectations is considered crucial for managing monetary policy. This paper investigates how consumers form and update their inflation expectations using a unique ?information? experiment embedded in a survey. We first elicit respondents? expectations for future inflation either in their own consumption basket or for the economy overall. We then randomly provide a subset of respondents with inflation-relevant information: either past-year food price inflation, or a median professional forecast of next-year overall inflation. Finally, inflation ...
Staff Reports , Paper 543

Working hard in the wrong place: a mismatch-based explanation to the UK productivity puzzle

The UK experienced an unusually prolonged stagnation in labor productivity in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This paper analyzes the role of sectoral labor misallocation in accounting for this ?productivity puzzle.? If jobseekers disproportionately search for jobs in sectors where productivity is relatively low, hires are concentrated in the wrong sectors and the post-recession recovery in aggregate productivity can be slow. Our calculations suggest that, quantified at the level of three-digit occupations, this mechanism can explain up to two-thirds of the deviations from trend-growth ...
Staff Reports , Paper 757

Do informal referrals lead to better matches? Evidence from a firm's employee referral system

The limited nature of data on employment referrals in large business and household surveys has so far limited our understanding of the relationships among employment referrals, match quality, wage trajectories, and turnover. Using a new, firm-level data set that includes explicit information on whether a worker was referred by a current employee of the company, we are able to provide rich detail on these empirical relationships for a single U.S. corporation, and to test various predictions of theoretical models of labor market referrals. Predictions with which our results align include: 1) ...
Staff Reports , Paper 568

An overview of the Survey of Consumer Expectations

This report presents an overview of the Survey of Consumer Expectations, a new monthly online survey of a rotating panel of household heads. The survey collects timely information on consumers? expectations and decisions on a broad variety of topics, including but not limited to inflation, household finance, the labor market, and the housing market. There are three main goals of the survey: (1) measuring consumer expectations at a high frequency, (2) understanding how these expectations are formed, and (3) investigating the link between expectations and behavior. This report discusses the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 800

Inflation expectations and behavior: Do survey respondents act on their beliefs?

We compare the inflation expectations reported by consumers in a survey with their behavior in a financially incentivized investment experiment designed such that future inflation affects payoffs. The inflation expectations survey is found to be informative in the sense that the beliefs reported by the respondents are correlated with their choices in the experiment. Furthermore, most respondents appear to act on their inflation expectations showing patterns consistent (both in direction and magnitude) with expected utility theory. Respondents whose behavior cannot be rationalized tend to be ...
Staff Reports , Paper 509

The effect of question wording on reported expectations and perceptions of inflation

Public expectations and perceptions of inflation may affect economic decisions, and have subsequent effects on actual inflation. The Michigan Survey of Consumers uses questions about "prices in general" to measure expected and perceived inflation. Median responses track official measure of inflation, showing some tendency toward overestimation and considerable disagreement between respondents. Possibly, responses reflect how much respondents thought of salient personal experiences with specific prices when being asked about "prices in general." Here, we randomly assigned respondents ...
Staff Reports , Paper 443


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