Why do We Dislike Inflation?

This paper provides new evidence on a long-standing question asked by Shiller (1997): Why do we dislike inflation? I conducted two surveys on representative samples of the US population to elicit people’s perceptions about the impacts of inflation and their reactions to it. The predominant reason for people’s aversion to inflation is the widespread belief that it diminishes their buying power, as neither personal nor general wage increases seem to match the pace of rising prices. As a result, respondents report having to make costly adjustments in their budgets and behaviors, especially among lower-income groups. Inflation also provokes stress, emotional responses, and a sense of inequity, as the wages of high-income individuals are perceived to grow more rapidly amidst inflation. Many respondents believe that firms have considerable discretion in setting wages, opting not to raise them in order to boost profits, rather than being compelled by market dynamics. The potential positive associations of inflation, such as with reduced unemployment or enhanced economic activity, are typically not recognized by respondents. Inflation ranks high in priority among various economic and social issues, with respondents blaming the government and businesses for it. I also highlight a substantial polarization in attitudes towards inflation along partisan lines, as well as across income groups.

The How and Why of Household Reactions to Income Shocks

This paper studies how and why households adjust their spending, saving, and borrowing in response to transitory income shocks. We leverage new large-scale survey data to first quantitatively assess households’ intertemporal marginal propensities to consume (MPCs) and deleverage (MPDs) (the “how”), and second to dive into the motivations and decision-making processes across households (the “why”). The combination of the quantitative estimation of household response dynamics with a qualitative exploration of the mental models employed during financial decisions provides a more complete view of household behavior.

The Health of Democracies during the Pandemic: Results from a Randomized Survey Experiment

Publications - The Health of Democracies during the Pandemic: Results from a Randomized Survey Experiment

There is a growing global concern about the health of democracies (Rubin, 2022). Although support for civil liberties had weakened prior to COVID-19 – the pandemic and the public health responses it elicited could possibly accelerate a trend towards autocracy. Anticipating this threat, during the first few months of the pandemic our team conducted in-depth survey experiments across several Western democratic countries to assess whether providing information on stringent measures used to contain the virus in East Asian countries (i.e., China and South Korea) would affect citizens’ views regarding their willingness to curtail their own civil liberties.

Zero-Sum Thinking and the Roots of U.S. Political Divides

Working Papers - Zero-Sum Thinking and the Roots of U.S. Political Divides

We investigate the origins and implications of zero-sum thinking — the belief that gains for one individual or group tend to come at the cost of others. Using a new survey of a representative sample of 20,400 US residents, we measure zero-sum thinking, political preferences, policy views, and a rich array of ancestral information spanning four generations.

Eliciting People’s First-Order Concerns

Publications - Eliciting People's First-Order Concerns

This paper illustrates the design and use of open-ended survey questions as a way of eliciting people’s first-order concerns on policies. Multiple choice questions are the backbone of most surveys, but they may prime respondents to select answer options that they would not naturally have thought about, and they may omit relevant options.

Social Positions and Fairness Views on Inequality

Publications - Social Positions and Fairness Views on Inequality

We link survey data on Danish people’s perceived income positions and views on inequality within various reference groups to administrative records on their reference groups, income histories, and life events.

Trust in Scientists in Times of Pandemic: Panel Evidence from 12 Countries

Publications - Trust in Scientists in Times of Pandemic: Panel Evidence from 12 Countries

This article analyzes the specific and critical role of trust in scientists on both the support for and compliance with nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We exploit large-scale, longitudinal, and representative surveys for 12 countries over the period from March to December 2020, and we complement the analysis with experimental data.

Understanding of Trade

Working Papers - Understanding of Trade

I study how people understand and reason about trade, and what factors shape their views on trade policy.

Understanding Tax Policy: How do People Reason?

Understanding Tax Policy: How do People Reason?

I study how people understand, reason, and learn about two major tax policies: income taxation and estate taxation. Using large-scale social economics surveys issued to representative U.S. samples and associated experiments, I elicit respondents’ factual knowledge about tax policy and the income or wealth distributions.

Diversity, Immigration and Redistribution

Publications - Diversity, Immigration and Redistribution

This paper provides a simple conceptual framework that captures how different perceptions, attitudes, and biases about immigrants or minorities can shape preferences for redistribution and reviews the empirical evidence on the effects of increasing racial diversity and immigration on support for redistribution.

The Polarization of Reality

Publications - The Polarization of Reality

Americans are polarized not only in their views on policy issues and attitudes towards government and society, but also in their perceptions of the same, factual reality.

Immigration and Redistribution

Publications - Immigration and Redistribution

Does immigration change support for redistribution? We design and conduct large-scale surveys and experiments in six countries to investigate how people perceive immigrants and how these perceptions influence their support for redistribution. We find striking misperceptions about the number and characteristics of immigrants.

Understanding Economics

Working Papers - Understanding of Economics

Using large-scale online surveys and experiments on representative U.S. samples, we study how well people understand, reason, and learn about four economic policies: i) Personal income taxation, ii) Estate taxation, iii) Health insurance, and iv) Trade.

How Elastic are Preferences for Redistribution?

Publications - How Elastic are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments​

We develop online survey experiments to analyze how information about inequality and taxes affects preferences for redistribution. Approximately 4,000 respondents were randomized into treatments providing interactive, customized information on U.S. income inequality, the link between top income tax rates and economic growth, and the estate tax.

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