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An analysis of heterogeneity in inflation expectations across cities in India

Saakshi (Department of Economic Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, India)
Sohini Sahu (Department of Economic Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, India)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 29 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The Inflation Expectations Survey of Households, conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), indicates that there is considerable disparity in inflation expectations across cities in India. The purpose of this paper is to investigate why different cities exhibit heterogeneous inflation expectations despite coming under a central monetary policy umbrella.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the correspondence between city-level inflation expectations and city-specific economic characteristics is mapped. Second, how the disagreement in inflation expectations across cities, measured by dispersion, behaves over the business cycle is investigated. Finally, using seemingly unrelated regression technique, the economic factors that play a role in explaining inflation expectations heterogeneity across cities are estimated.

Findings

Cities with higher economic activity and cost of living have higher inflation expectations. Disagreement across cities regarding inflation expectations rise with an increase in output gap and inflation. Information friction plays an important role in explaining the disparity in inflation expectations across cities, and the effects of macro-level factors vary across cities, thereby accentuating expectations dispersion.

Research limitations/implications

Monetary policy-related communication by the RBI (toward the general public) should increase in order to address information friction, which, in turn, would temper down the extent of inflation expectations heterogeneity across cities in India.

Originality/value

This is a novel application of the data from the monetary policy perspective. Heterogeneity in inflation expectations across cities or regions is an unexplored area. The use of nightlights as a proxy for city-level economic activity in India (in absence of data on city-level income) is another original contribution.

Keywords

Citation

Saakshi, S. and Sahu, S. (2019), "An analysis of heterogeneity in inflation expectations across cities in India", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 46 No. 5, pp. 1116-1136. https://doi.org/10.1108/JES-08-2018-0297

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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