In July 2021, the ECB decided to implement a new monetary policy strategy. Arguably, its two most important aspects are the introduction of a symmetric inflation target around 2% and the consideration of global warming in the conduct of its monetary policy. I am planning to run a replication of a representative survey on the German population, which was already conducted in December 2021, with the aim of measuring people's knowledge and attitude towards monetary policy and inflation. Note that the replication solely refers to the questionnaire (which is held constant, except for some updates relating to information about time, e.g. 'What do you expect the inflation rate to be next year, i.e., 2022? ' will become 'What do you expect the inflation rate to be next year, i.e., 2023?'). The respondents answering the survey will constitute a representative sample of the German population, but I will not be able to survey the respondents from the 2021 survey again.
Within this survey of 2000 respondents, I would like to include an information treatment, which is based on providing information about (i) the new inflation target and (ii) the consideration of global warming. For this purpose, the respondents are randomly allocated to three groups (the groups treated with (i), (ii), and the control group).
As control variables, I am planning to collect socio-demographic variables, economic and political variables, subjective and objective monetary policy knowledge, inflation perception and expectation, as well as attitudes towards monetary policy issues and global warming.
A) Generally, information about the new monetary policy reduces people's trust in the ECB.
B) Generally, information about the new monetary policy reduces people's perception of the ECB's degree of independence.
C) Conditional on people's inflation perception and expectations, trust and independence are even more negatively influenced after information treatment (i).
D) Conditional on people's monetary policy knowledge, trust and independence are even more negatively influenced after information treatment (i).
E) Conditional on people's interest in monetary policy, trust and independence are even influenced differently after information treatment (i).
F) Conditional on people's concern about global warming, trust and independence are positively influenced after information treatment (ii).
G) The strength of the treatment effects depends on the sources people use to inform themselves about monetary policy and inflation.
H) The effectiveness of the treatment depends on people's perception of past and current as well as future inflation.
In addition to the analysis of the treatments, the project will study people's attitudes towards the ECB's monetary policy reform in a more descriptive form of investigation (e.g., answer frequencies, bivariate and multivariate associations).
Additional hypotheses: In this replication study, specific emphasis is placed on the question of whether the effects of the information treatments on the outcome variables 'the public's trust in the ECB' and 'the public's perception of the ECB's degree of independence' (as well as other attitudes) are externally reliable when comparing the survey answers in a low inflation environment (December 2021) with those from a high inflation environment (December 2022). My core hypothesis is that the surge in inflation makes people more alert to monetary policy issues. Thus, I expect that the treatments will have a stronger impact on the responses of all social groups in 2022 compared to 2021. I also expect that groups that are relatively more vulnerable to rising prices will react relatively more strongly. Moreover, I also conjecture that the general view of the population vis-a-vis the ECB deteriorates between the two points in time, i.e. the mentioned aspects of the ECB's monetary policy reform in July 2021, symmetric inflation target and climate change considerations, are regarded more critically.