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« Weighing the Week Ahead: Time for some surprises? | Main | Reading the "Message of the Market?" Be Careful! »

June 26, 2012

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Your implication is that we always know our own prospects better than others. This is a straightforward factual question. We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days.
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oldprof

CMP -- You would be correct if the question asked people to compare themselves to others, and maybe also on their own future prospects. What they really ask is:

We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days.
Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse
off financially than you were a year ago?

This is a straightforward factual question. If there is a bias, btw, it is helpful to note that the same question has been asked for decades.

You can see the entire questionnaire for the Michigan survey here: http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/documents.php?c=i

The question about how others are doing is similar.

To summarize, the survey does not ask how people are doing compared to others, but we can see the results in the data.

Interesting point -- thanks.

Jeff

CMP

"When asked about their own situations, both consumers and businesses are more positive than when asked about others. Which response do you think reflects the more informed reply?"

Your implication is that we always know our own prospects better than others. This isn't true. All you have to do is look at the psychology literature to understand this.

We are all (well, 90% of us) confirmed optimists, who believe we are better than average. For example, we consistently rate our own driving and investing abilities as much higher than the average. We are consistently wrong.

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