Survey Expectations and Learning


In this paper, we evaluate a model that describes real-time inflation data together with the inflation expectations measured by the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF). We work with a second-order autoregressive model in which the agents learn over time the intercept and persistence coefficients based on real-time data. To model the process of revisions in real-time data, we allow for news and noise disturbances. In contrast to the usual time-varying parameter vector autoregression, we use non-linear Kalman filter techniques to estimate the time-varying coefficients of the underlying inflation process. We identify systematic changes in the persistence of the inflation process and in the long-run expected inflation rate that are implied by the model. The inflation forecasts implied by the model are then compared with the SPF forecasts. As we cannot reject the hypothesis that the SPF forecasts are produced based on our model, we re-estimate the model using Survey nowcasts and forecasts as additional observables. This augmented model does not change the nature and magnitude of the time variation in the coefficients of the autoregressive model, but it does help to reduce the uncertainty in the estimates. Overall, the estimated time-variation confirms our results on the perceived inflation process present in estimated DSGE models with learning (Slobodyan and Wouters, 2012a, 2012b).