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Francesco D'Acunto

14 May 2024
This paper discusses the recent wave of research that has emphasized the importance of measures of consumers’ inflation expectations. In contrast to other measures of expected inflation, such as for experts or financial market participants, consumers’ inflation expectations capture the broader distribution of societal beliefs about inflation. This research has revealed very significant deviations from traditional assumptions about rationality in consumers’ expectations formation. However, households do act on their beliefs about inflation, though in heterogeneous ways that can depart from the predictions of conventional economic models. Recent euro area experiences highlight the importance of tracking the degree of anchoring in consumers’ inflation expectations in a way that considers their inherent complexity, heterogeneity, and subjectivity. On average, consumers’ medium and longer-term expectations deviate noticeably in levels from central bank targets and, in contrast with expert expectations, often co-move more closely with shorter-term inflation news. By stepping up their engagement with the wider public, central banks may be able to influence expectations by building up greater knowledge and trust and thereby support more effective monetary transmission. Communication efforts need to be persistent because central banks must compete with many other demands on consumers’ attention.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation