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Jel Classification:C83 

Working Paper
Across the Universe: Policy Support for Employment and Revenue in the Pandemic Recession

Using data from 14 government sources, we develop comprehensive estimates of U.S. economic activity by sector, legal form of organization, and firm size to characterize how four government direct lending programs—the Paycheck Protection Program, the Main Street Lending Program, the Corporate Credit Facilities, and the Municipal Lending Facilities—relate to these classes of economic activity in the United States. The classes targeted by these programs are vast—accounting for 97 percent of total U.S. employment—though entityspecific financial criteria limit coverage within specific ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-099

Report
The effect of question wording on reported expectations and perceptions of inflation

Public expectations and perceptions of inflation may affect economic decisions, and have subsequent effects on actual inflation. The Michigan Survey of Consumers uses questions about "prices in general" to measure expected and perceived inflation. Median responses track official measure of inflation, showing some tendency toward overestimation and considerable disagreement between respondents. Possibly, responses reflect how much respondents thought of salient personal experiences with specific prices when being asked about "prices in general." Here, we randomly assigned respondents to ...
Staff Reports , Paper 443

Working Paper
Heaping at Round Numbers on Financial Questions : The Role of Satisficing

Survey responses to quantitative financial questions frequently display strong patterns of heaping at round numbers. This paper uses two studies to examine variation in rounding across questions and by individual characteristics. Rounding was more common for respondents low in ability, for respondents low in motivation, and for more difficult questions, all consistent with theories of satisficing. Questions that require more difficult information retrieval and integration of information exhibit more heaping. The use of records, which lowers task difficulty, reduces rounding as well. Higher ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-006

Working Paper
What Do Survey Data Tell Us about US Businesses?

This paper examines the reliability of survey data on business incomes, valuations, and rates of return, which are key inputs for studies of wealth inequality and entrepreneurial choice. We compare survey responses of business owners with available data from administrative tax records, brokered private business sales, and publicly traded company filings and document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors across all surveys, subsamples, and years. We find that the discrepancies are economically relevant for the statistics of interest. We investigate reasons for these ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-021

Report
Estimating population means in the 2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

This report examines the effect of adding to a longitudinal panel on estimates of population parameters in the 2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) more than 1,000 newly recruited respondents specifically targeted to fill segments of the U.S. population that tend to be underbanked and underrepresented in the longitudinal panel. In many ways, the new respondents have fundamentally different characteristics from the ongoing respondents. To minimize confounding sources of change to annual estimates when making comparisons across years, the official 2012 SCPC publication was based on the ...
Research Data Report , Paper 15-2

Working Paper
Optimal recall period length in consumer payment surveys

Surveys in many academic fields ask respondents to recall the number of events that occurred over a specific period of time with the goal of learning about the mean frequency of these events among the population. Research has shown that the choice of the recall period, particularly the length, affects the results by influencing the cognitive recall process. We combine experimental recall data with use data to learn about this relationship in the context of consumer payments, specifically for the mean frequency of use of the four most popular payment instruments (cash, credit card, debit card, ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-16

Working Paper
We Are All Behavioral, More or Less: Measuring and Using Consumer-Level Behavioral Sufficient Statistics

Can a behavioral sufficient statistic empirically capture cross-consumer variation in behavioral tendencies and help identify whether behavioral biases, taken together, are linked to material consumer welfare losses? Our answer is yes. We construct simple consumer-level behavioral sufficient statistics??B-counts??by eliciting seventeen potential sources of behavioral biases per person, in a nationally representative panel, in two separate rounds nearly three years apart. B-counts aggregate information on behavioral biases within-person. Nearly all consumers exhibit multiple biases, in ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-14

Working Paper
News and Uncertainty about COVID-19: Survey Evidence and Short-Run Economic Impact

We survey households about their expectations of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, in real time and at daily frequency. Our baseline question asks about the expected impact on output and inflation over a one-year horizon. Starting on March 10, the median response suggests that the expected output loss is still moderate. This changes over the course of three weeks: At the end of March, the expected loss amounts to some 15 percent. Meanwhile, the pandemic is expected to raise inflation considerably. The uncertainty about these effects is very large. In the second part of the paper ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-12

Working Paper
Modeling anchoring effects in sequential Likert scale questions

Surveys in many different research fields rely on sequences of Likert scale questions to assess individuals' general attitudes toward a set of related topics. Most analyses of responses to such a series do not take into account the potential measurement error introduced by the context effect we dub "sequential anchoring," which occurs when the rating for one question influences the rating given to the following question by favoring similar ratings. The presence of sequential anchoring can cause systematic bias in the study of relative ratings. We develop a latent-variable framework for ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-15

Working Paper
Greater Than the Sum of the Parts: Aggregate vs. Aggregated Inflation Expectations

Using novel survey evidence on consumer inflation expectations disaggregated by personal consumption expenditure (PCE) categories, we document the paradox that consumers' aggregate inflation expectations usually exceed any individual category expectation. We explore procedures for aggregating category inflation expectations, and find that the inconsistency between aggregate and aggregated inflation expectations rises with subjective uncertainty and is systematically related to socioeconomic characteristics. Overall, our results are inconsistent with the notion that consumers' aggregate ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-20

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