This paper combines a data rich environment with a machine learning algorithm to provide new estimates of time-varying systematic expectational errors (belief distortions) embedded in survey responses. We find that distortions are large on average even for professional forecasters, with all respondent-types over-weighting their own beliefs relative to other information. Forecasts of inflation and GDP growth oscillate between optimism and pessimism by large margins, with over-optimism associated with an increase in aggregate economic activity. Biases in expectations evolve dynamically in response to cyclical shocks. Biases about economic growth display greater initial under-reaction while those about inflation display greater delayed over-reaction.
This note presents an overview of my research on the monetary/fiscal policy mix. I discuss why central bank’s ability to control inflation requires fiscal backing. The post-Volcker consensus about the importance of central bank independence was a response to the fiscal nature of the Great Inflation of the 1970s. This consensus is now called into question in light of the limits of monetary policy and the little appetite for fiscal orthodoxy following two severe re- cessions. In this context, a coordinated strategy between the monetary and fiscal authorities works as an automatic stabilizer, reducing the likelihood of a disastrous conflict between the two authorities. Under this coordinated strategy, the fiscal authority introduces an emergency budget, while the monetary authority announces a temporary increase in the inflation target to accommodate the emergency budget. The strategy results in only moderate levels of inflation by separating long-run fiscal sustainability from a short-run policy intervention. In the context of the Euro area, Eurobonds could be used to achieve better coordination between monetary and fiscal policy.