Panel Conditioning in the Survey of Consumer Expectations

38 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2019

See all articles by Carola Binder

Carola Binder

Haverford College - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 16, 2019


Panel conditioning occurs when participation in previous survey rounds affects how respondents answer questions in later rounds. I document panel conditioning effects in reported inflation expectations and other responses in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Survey of Consumer Expectations. Even controlling for attrition effects, inflation point forecasts and uncertainty decline gradually over a respondent's first few survey rounds. Point forecasts are more than 3 percentage points higher in a respondent's first round and 2 percentage points higher in her second round than in her final round, and revisions are more common between earlier rounds. I provide several examples of how panel conditioning can influence results when using the survey data to monitor expectations, study expectations formation, or study the link between expectations and behavior.

Keywords: panel conditioning, consumer expectations, forecasts, inflation expectations, survey data

JEL Classification: D80, D83, D84, E31

Suggested Citation

Binder, Carola, Panel Conditioning in the Survey of Consumer Expectations (February 16, 2019). Available at SSRN:

Carola Binder (Contact Author)

Haverford College - Department of Economics ( email )

Haverford, PA 19041
United States

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