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Author:Zafar, Basit 

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How do college students form expectations?

This paper focuses on how college students form expectations about various major-specific outcomes. For this purpose, I collect a panel data set of Northwestern University undergraduates that contains their subjective expectations about major-specific outcomes. Although students tend to be overconfident about their future academic performance, they revised their expectations in expected ways. The updating process is found to be consistent with a Bayesian learning model. I show that learning plays a role in the decision to switch majors, and that major-switchers respond to information from ...
Staff Reports , Paper 378

Discussion Paper
Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?

What is the purpose of health care? What is the purpose of health insurance? When people fall ill, they seek health care in order to get better. But insurance has a slightly different function: Its main role is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances. For most people, lifetime health expenditures are quite low. However, some people have enormous health costs owing to major illnesses or health conditions. And this is where health insurance comes in?its goal (like that of any other form of insurance) is to protect these individuals against large, and sometimes ruinous, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160606

Journal Article
An overview of the Survey of Consumer Expectations

The authors present an overview of the New York Fed?s Survey of Consumer Expectations, a monthly online survey of a rotating panel of household heads. The survey collects timely information on respondents? expectations and decisions on a broad variety of topics, including inflation, household finance, the labor market, and the housing market. It has three main goals: (1) measuring consumer expectations at a high frequency, (2) understanding how these expectations are formed, and (3) investigating the link between expectations and behavior. The authors discuss the origins of the survey, the ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 23-2 , Pages 51-72

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Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment

This paper studies the determinants of college major choice using an experimentally generated panel of beliefs, obtained by providing students with information on the true population distribution of various major-specific characteristics. Students logically revise their beliefs in response to the information, and their subjective beliefs about future major choice are associated with beliefs about their own earnings and ability. We estimate a rich model of college major choice using the panel of beliefs data. While expected earnings and perceived ability are a significant determinant of major ...
Staff Reports , Paper 500

Discussion Paper
Trends in Debt Concentration in the United States By Income

Household debt in the United States expanded before the Great Recession, contracted afterward, and has been recovering since 2013. But how has the distribution of debt across different income groups evolved over time? Who has been driving the recovery of household debt over the past two years? To date, there has been little work on how borrowing patterns for high- and low-income individuals have changed over time, although one notable exception is Amromin and McGranahan. Here, using the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), a quarterly panel data set based on Equifax credit reports, we ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20151105

Discussion Paper
My Two (Per)cents: How Are American Workers Dealing with the Payroll Tax Hike?

The payroll tax cut, which was in place during all of 2011 and 2012, reduced Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from workers? paychecks by 2 percent. This tax cut affected nearly 155 million workers in the United States, and put an additional $1,000 a year in the pocket of an average household earning $50,000. As part of the ?fiscal cliff? negotiations, Congress allowed the 2011-12 payroll tax cut to expire at the end of 2012, and the higher income that workers had grown accustomed to was gone. In this post, we explore the implications of the payroll tax increase for U.S. workers.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20130515

Report
Gender discrimination and social identity: experimental evidence from urban Pakistan

Gender discrimination in South Asia is a well-documented fact. However, gender is only one of an individual?s many identities. This paper investigates how gender discrimination depends on the social identities of interacting parties. We use an experimental approach to identify gender discrimination by randomly matching 2,836 male and female students pursuing bachelor?s-equivalent degrees in three different types of institutions?Madrassas (religious seminaries), Islamic universities, and liberal universities?that represent distinct identities within the Pakistani society. Our main finding is ...
Staff Reports , Paper 593

Report
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

Discussion Paper
Introducing the FRBNY Survey of Consumer Expectations: Measuring Price Inflation Expectations

In this second of a series of four blog postings, we discuss the data on inflationexpectationscollected in our new FRBNY Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). Inflation expectations are a key consideration for monetary policy as they are believed to influence consumer behavior, thereby affecting economic activity and actual inflation. The SCE data on inflation expectations represent a major innovation as they contain information not previously collected from consumers on a regular basis. In this post, we provide some background on the survey and presentsome initial findings.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20131204a

Report
Intended college attendance: evidence from an experiment on college returns and costs

Despite a robust college premium, college attendance rates in the United States have remained stagnant and exhibit a substantial socioeconomic gradient. We focus on information gaps?specifically, incomplete information about college benefits and costs?as a potential explanation for these patterns. For this purpose, we conduct an information experiment about college returns and costs embedded within a representative survey of U.S. household heads. We show that, at the baseline, perceptions of college costs and benefits are severely and systematically biased: 75 percent of our respondents ...
Staff Reports , Paper 739

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