The Price is Right: Updating Inflation Expectations in a Randomized Price Information Experiment, with Olivier Armantier, Giorgio Topa, Wilbert van der Klaauw and Basit Zafar. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2016.
Abstract: Using a unique, randomized information experiment embedded in a survey, this paper investigates how consumers’ inflation expectations respond to new information. We find that respondents, on average, update their expectations in response to (certain types of) information, and do so sensibly, in a manner consistent with Bayesian updating. As a result of information provision, the distribution of inflation expectations converges toward its center and cross-sectional disagreement declines. We document heterogeneous information processing by gender and present suggestive evidence of respondents forecasting under asymmetric loss. Our results provide support for expectation-formation models in which agents form expectations rationally but face information constraints.
Commitment Devices, with Gharad Bryan and Dean Karlan. Annual Review of Economics, 2010.
Abstract: We review the recent evidence on commitment devices and discuss how this evidence relates to theoretical questions about the demand for, and effectiveness of, commitment. Several important distinctions emerge. First, we distinguish between what we call hard and soft commitments and identify how soft commitments, in particular, can help with various dilemmas, both in explaining empirical behavior and in designing effective commitment devices. Second, we highlight the importance of certain modeling assumptions in predicting when commitment devices will be demanded and examine the laboratory and field evidence on the demand for commitment devices. Third, we present the evidence on both informal and formal commitment devices, and we conclude with a discussion of policy implications, including sin taxes, consumer protection, and commitment device design.