Research / BFI Working PaperMay 13, 2024

Inflation and Trading

Philip Schnorpfeil, Michael Weber, Andreas Hackethal

We study how investors respond to inflation combining a customized survey experiment with trading data at a time of historically high inflation. Investors’ beliefs about the stock return-inflation relation are very heterogeneous in the cross section and on average too optimistic. Moreover, many investors appear unaware of inflation-hedging strategies despite being otherwise well-informed about inflation and asset returns. Consequently, whereas exogenous shifts in inflation expectations do not impact return expectations, information on past returns during periods of high inflation leads to negative updating about the perceived stock-return impact of inflation, which feed into return expectations and subsequent actual trading behavior.

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