March 2022 issue contents
The Role of Expectations in Changed Inflation Dynamics

Damjan Pfajfar and John M. Roberts, Federal Reserve Board


The Phillips curve has been much flatter in the past 20 years than in the preceding decades. We consider two hypotheses. One is that prices at the microeconomic level are stickier than they used to be. The other is that expectations of firms and households about future inflation are now less well informed by macroeconomic conditions. We use inflation expectations from surveys to help distinguish between our two hypotheses empirically.We find that reduced attentiveness can, in some cases, account for three-fourths of the reduction in the sensitivity of inflation to economic conditions in recent decades.

JEL Codes: E31, E37.

Full article (PDF, 40 pages)

Online appendix (PDF, 17 pages)