IQ, Expectations, and Choice

80 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2019 Last revised: 2 Mar 2021

See all articles by Francesco D'Acunto

Francesco D'Acunto

Boston College

Daniel Hoang

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Maritta Paloviita

Bank of Finland - Research

Michael Weber

University of Chicago - Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2021


We use administrative and survey-based micro data to study the relationship between cognitive abilities (IQ), the formation of inflation expectations, and the consumption plans of a representative male population. High-IQ men display 50% lower forecast errors for inflation than other men. High-IQ men, but not others, have consistent inflation expectations and perceptions over time. In terms of choice, only high-IQ men increase their consumption propensity when expecting higher inflation as the consumer Euler equation prescribes. Education levels, income, other expectations, and socio-economic status, although important, do not explain the variation in expectations and choice by IQ. Recent modeling attempts to incorporate boundedly-rational agents into macro models do not fully capture all the facts we document. We discuss which dimensions of expectations formation and choice are important for heterogeneous-agents models of household consumption and for the transmission of fiscal and monetary policy.

Keywords: Behavioral Macroeconomics, Heterogeneous Beliefs, Limited Cognition, Expectations Formation, Household Finance

JEL Classification: D12, D84, D91, E21, E31, E32, E52, E65

Suggested Citation

D'Acunto, Francesco and Hoang, Daniel and Paloviita, Maritta and Weber, Michael, IQ, Expectations, and Choice (February 2021). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 19-20, Fama-Miller Working Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Francesco D'Acunto

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Daniel Hoang

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) ( email )


Maritta Paloviita

Bank of Finland - Research ( email )

P.O. Box 160
FIN-00101 Helsinki
+358 9 1831 (Phone)
+358 9 1832560 (Fax)

Michael Weber (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Finance ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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