Heterogeneous Information, Subjective Model Beliefs, and the Time-Varying Transmission of Shocks

87 Pages Posted: 10 May 2022

See all articles by Alistair Macaulay

Alistair Macaulay

University of Oxford - Nuffield College

Date Written: 2022


Using a novel decomposition, I show that systematic relationships between information and subjective models across agents distort the aggregate transmission of shocks in a general class of macroeconomic models. I document evidence of such a systematic correlation between household information and subjective models around inflation using unique features of the Bank of England Inflation Attitudes Survey: on average, households with more negative beliefs about the impacts of inflation obtain more information about inflation. A model in which acquiring information about inflation is costly, and observed information affects the perceived relationship of inflation and real incomes, can explain the empirical variation in information and subjective models in the cross-section and over time. The model generates time-varying shock transmission, and a selection effect that weakens the role of information frictions in aggregate dynamics. Through a novel channel, transitory spikes in inflation may become ‘baked in’ to inflation expectations, but only among those with the most positive subjective models of the effects of inflation.

Keywords: information frictions, subjective models, heterogeneous agents, expectations, shock transmission

JEL Classification: D830, D840, E310, E710

Suggested Citation

Macaulay, Alistair, Heterogeneous Information, Subjective Model Beliefs, and the Time-Varying Transmission of Shocks (2022). CESifo Working Paper No. 9733, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4103946 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4103946

Alistair Macaulay (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield College ( email )

United Kingdom

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