Why Do Women Think Inflation is Higher Than Men?

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Tyler Cowen finds an old article showing that perception of inflation is usually much higher than actual inflation, and that women overestimate it much more than men. Why?

Is it possible that a high perception of inflation is largely the result of a relatively low real income, perhaps mixed in with a slight unwillingness to blame oneself for imperfect labor market prospects? Does this help explain why tight money and stagnant median income have come together?

I’m just guessing, but these don’t seem like hard questions. People overestimate inflation because (a) they notice price increases much more than price decreases, and (b) the emotional impact of a few outliers with very high increases is unusually strong. And women overestimate inflation more because they tend to do more grocery shopping than men, thus exposing themselves to prices more routinely.

I can see how those with low incomes would also be more sensitive to price increases, so it makes sense that they also tend to have high estimates of inflation. But I’ll bet you ten bucks—no, wait, better make that twenty—that an unwillingness to blame oneself for imperfect labor market prospects plays no role at all. I’d be fascinated to even hear a plausible mechanism for that.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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