Consumer Beliefs about Central Bank Inflation Forecasts

Last registered on June 25, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Consumer Beliefs about Central Bank Inflation Forecasts
Initial registration date
May 24, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 25, 2024, 2:16 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Technical University of Berlin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
AsPredicted #107388 and AsPredicted #145978
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Why do consumers' inflation expectations diverge so much from central banks' forecasts? Using new surveys, we provide evidence that German consumers perceive the ECB's inflation forecasts to be less accurate and more optimistic than they are. Using information experiments, we show that such beliefs are causally related to inflation expectations. Information about inflation forecasts also promotes trust in the ECB, which we measure directly with a generic question, and indirectly with a new six-item questionnaire. Communication is effective in changing beliefs about the credibility of the target, the honesty of the ECB, and the personal benefits of monetary policy.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bulutay, Muhammed. 2024. "Consumer Beliefs about Central Bank Inflation Forecasts." AEA RCT Registry. June 25.
Experimental Details


There are two information experiments in this study.

The first experiment exogenously shocks respondents' beliefs about the accuracy of the ECB's past inflation forecasts.
The second experiment informs randoms sets of respondents in the survey about (a) last announced inflation rate, (b) the ECB's one-year ahead inflation forecast for 2023, or (c) both.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
In the first study, I measure the maximum and minimum expected inflation in the euro area in 2024. The midpoint is used as one outcome variable (point expectation) and the range as another outcome variable (i.e., uncertainty). I also measure the respondents' trust (Likert scale 1-10) in the European Central Bank.

In the second survey, there are 6 items for which the respondent has to indicate his level of agreement on a scale from 1 to 7. I consider each item as a dependent variable, but I will also aggregate them into a single score. These items are designed to capture different motives for trusting central banks.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Consumption plans for 9 categories.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This paper has two separate information RCTs.

In the first experiment, there are four experimental conditions. The first group receives information about population growth in Germany between 2010-21 (i.e., 2%). The second group receives information about the ECB staff projection of euro area inflation for 2024. The third group also receives this projection, but is also they are informed about the past projection accuracy (between 2001-2021). The last group receives the same information as (iii) but subjects in this group are first asked to evaluate forecast accuracy of ECB in the past and are then given the historical projection accuracy along with the latest projection for 2024 as feedback.

In the second experiment, there are also four experimental conditions. The first group is a pure control group that receives no information. The second group receives the latest inflation news (i.e., annual inflation in the euro area is 5.3% in July 2023). The third group receives information about the European Central Bank's (ECB) inflation projection for December 2023, which was made in December 2022 (i.e., 6.3%). The fourth group receives information about both recent inflation and the ECB's inflation projection.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The survey is managed by the Deutsche Bundesbank and fielded by survey company forsa. They ensured the randomization (computerized).
Randomization Unit
Individuals participating the survey.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters. Only one respondent per household.
Sample size: planned number of observations
First study has 5527 respondents. Second study has 3999 respondents.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The first experiment assigns 20% of respondents to control, 30% to T2, 20% to T3, and 30% to T4.
The second experiments assigns respondents with equal chance to each treatment arm (G1, G2, G3, and G4).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Faculty of Economics and Management (VII) Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials