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Roberta Friz

5 April 2007
Eight years have passed since the European Central Bank (ECB) launched its Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF). The SPF asks a panel of approximately 75 forecasters located in the European Union (EU) for their short- to longer-term expectations for macroeconomic variables such as euro area inflation, growth and unemployment. This paper provides an initial assessment of the information content of this survey. First, we consider shorter-term (i.e., one- and two-year ahead rolling horizon) forecasts. The analysis suggests that, over the sample period, in common with other private and institutional forecasters, the SPF systematically under-forecast inflation but that there is less evidence of such systematic errors for GDP and unemployment forecasts. However, these findings, which generally hold regardless of whether one considers the aggregate SPF panel or individual responses, should be interpreted with caution given the relatively short sample period available for the analysis. Second, we consider SPF respondents
JEL Code
C83 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Survey Methods, Sampling Methods
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
E50 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→General
19 April 2017
This report updates and extends earlier assessments of quantitative inflation perceptions and expectations of consumers in the euro area and the EU using an anonymised micro data set collected by the European Commission in the context of the Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys. Confirming earlier findings, consumers' quantitative estimates of inflation are found to be higher than actual HICP (Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices) inflation over the entire sample period (2004-2015). The analysis shows that European consumers hold different opinions of inflation depending on their income, age, education and gender. Although many of the features highlighted for the EU and the euro area aggregates are valid across individual Member States, differences exist also at the country level. Despite the higher inflation estimates, there is a high level of co-movement between measured and estimated (perceived/expected) inflation. Even respondents providing estimates largely above actual HICP inflation, demonstrate understanding of the relative level of inflation during both high and low inflation periods. Based on these economically plausible results, the report concludes that further work should be devoted to defining concrete aggregate indicators of consumers' quantitative inflation perceptions and expectations on the basis of the dataset used in this study. Moreover, it outlines a number of future research topics that can be addressed by exploiting the enormous potential of the data set.
JEL Code
D8 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation