Who Cares about Inflation? Endogenous Expectation Formation of Heterogeneous Households
55 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2022
Date Written: July 14, 2022
This paper builds a joint theory of endogenous inflation expectations and consumption-savings choices of heterogeneous households. We introduce imperfect information about future inflation rates in a consumption-savings model and allow households to exert costly effort to reduce uncertainty about future price changes. High wealth households are more exposed to future inflation due to its effect on real interest rates and hence choose to be better informed. The joint distribution of wealth and inflation expectations generated by the model is consistent with key features of the data. The implied consumption response to news about inflation is hump shaped in wealth: Wealthier households pay closer attention and update their expectations more in response to any signal received, but change their consumption less after any given update in expectations due to the income effect of future inflation. We show this mechanism to reduce the on-impact aggregate consumption response to forward guidance policies by up to 55% compared to an attentive counterfactual.
Keywords: Household Heterogeneity, Expectation Formation, Inflation Expectations
JEL Classification: D31, D84, E21, E31
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