How do inflation expectations form? New insights from a high-frequency survey

BIS Working Papers  |  No 349  | 
18 July 2011
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Abstract:

We provide new insights on the formation of inflation expectations - in particular at a time of great financial and economic turmoil - by evaluating results from a survey conducted from July 2009 through July 2010. Participants in this survey answered a weekly questionnaire about their short-, medium- and long-term inflation expectations. Participants received common information sets with data relevant to euro area inflation. Our analysis of survey responses reveals several interesting results. First, our evidence is consistent with long-term expectations having remained well anchored to the ECB's definition of price stability, which acted as a focal point for long-term expectations. Second, the turmoil in euro area bond markets triggered by the Greek fiscal crisis influenced short- and medium-term inflation expectations but had only a very small impact on long-term expectations. By contrast, longterm expectations did not react to developments of the euro area wide fiscal burden. Third, participants changed their expectations fairly frequently. The longer the horizon, the less frequent but larger these changes were. Fourth, expectations exhibit a large degree of timevariant non-normality. Fifth, inflation expectations appear fairly homogenous across groups of agents at the shorter horizon but less so at the medium- and long-term horizons.

JEL Classification: E31, E32, E37, E52, C53

Keywords: inflation expectations, monetary policy, crisis