Using survey-based measures of future U.S. economic activity from the Livingston Survey and the Survey of Professional Forecasters, we study how changes in expectations and their interaction with monetary policy contribute to fluctuations in macroeconomic aggregates. We find that changes in expected future economic activity are a quantitatively important driver of economic fluctuations: a perception that good times are ahead typically leads to a significant rise in current measures of economic activity and inflation. We also find that the short-term interest rate rises in response to expectations of good times as monetary policy tightens.

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