Business-Level Expectations and Uncertainty
25 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 9, 2017
The Census Bureau’s 2015 Management and Organizational Practices Survey collected innovative 5-bin data on own future outcomes and probabilities for shipments, employment, capital and materials expenditures at 35,000 manufacturing plants. About 85% of plants provide logically sensible responses to the 5-bin questions, suggesting that most managers can form and express (subjective) probability distributions. The other 15% of plants have lower productivity, employment, wages, managerial education, structured management scores, and multinational ownership. First and second moments of plant-level subjective probability distributions covary strongly with first and second moments, respectively, of historical outcomes, suggesting that our subjective expectations data are well founded. Finally, our plant-level subjective uncertainty measures correlate positively with realized stock-return volatility, option-implied volatility and analyst disagreement about future earnings for the plant’s parent firm and for the median publicly listed firm in the plant’s industry.
Keywords: uncertainty, expectations, investment, employment
JEL Classification: L2, M2, O32, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation