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Unemployment Expectations: The Impact of Private Information on Income Uncertainty

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The formation and accuracy of unemployment expectations are investigated in this paper. Unemployment expectations were found to contain predictive information that was not captured by past trends in unemployment and other economic variables. The predictive content of expectations was based on private information about future unemployment and overall economic prospects. The data indicated a greater consistency with the rational expectations hypothesis than with adaptive, extrapolative, and error-learning models, although households did not optimally use all available information. The data indicate that unemployment expectations are to an important extent derived from more general expectations about the future performance of the economy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Michigan

Publication date: 01 December 2003

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