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Diskussionspapiere - Hannover Economic Papers (HEP)

The Hidden Heterogeneity of Inflation and Interest Rate Expectations: The Role of Preferences

Autor: Lena Dräger and Michael J. Lamla and Damjan Pfajfar
Nummer: 666, Feb 2023, pp. 24
JEL-Class: E31, E52, E58, D84

We study consumers' preferences on expected inflation and interest rates. Preferences are measured by asking survey respondents whether they view the expected levels of inflation or interest rates as appropriate for the economy, or whether they would prefer higher or lower levels. For a given level of expectations, we observe substantial heterogeneity in these macroeconomic preferences: Consumers with the same inflation or interest rate expectations can differently assess whether they view this level as appropriate for the economy, or not. However, the ratio of those who think inflation is reasonable is the highest for the group that expects inflation rate of about 1\%. The relationship between preferences and underlying expectations remains remarkably robust across different inflation regimes. Overall, macroeconomic preferences co-vary with socio-demographic characteristics like income and education, but are not related to individuals' net wealth position. They correlate with risk preferences and with trust in the central bank: More risk-loving respondents or those with strong trust in the ECB's ability to realize price stability are less likely to prefer lower inflation or higher interest rates than the expected levels.


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