On the afternoon of December 24, the 5th Academic Salon for Ph.D. Students in Theoretical Economics in 2021 (the 57th in history) was staged offline by the China Center for Special Economic Zone Research (CCSEZR), Shenzhen University (SZU) to facilitate more in-depth communication. Yin Penghui, Assistant Professor of School of Economics Shandong University, acted as the keynote speaker. Ms. Hou Jia, Assistant Professor of CCSEZR, hosted the lecture, attended by other young teachers and graduate and doctoral students in Theoretical Economics of CCSEZR. Mr. Yin Penghui received his PhD in Behavioral Macroeconomics and Informational Friction from the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, in June 2020. He studied the relationship between optimal attention and heterogeneous precautionary saving behavior in his working paper. The paper was published in the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.
In this salon, Dr. Yin Penghui shared a working paper titled "Attention allocation, Macroeconomic Expectations, and Consumption Behavior", written jointly with his co-authors. By giving some profound yet easy-to-understand examples, he first introduced the definitions of limited attention and rational inattention, the relationship between attention allocation and macroeconomic expectations, and the potential impact on consumption behavior. Subsequently, he shared the main points of this paper in detail. By reading the literature on rational inattention, he and his co-authors noted that there were lots of articles talking about how attention affected information collection and processing, which in turn affected consumption and investment, etc., but there was fewer data about the effects on individuals. They thus used data from the Individual Questionnaire (MSC) of the University of Michigan to investigate what factors affect individual attention and how attention allocation affects individuals' expectations on economic trends, unemployment rate, inflation rate, and interest rates, and attitudes toward consumption under different economic variables. The main contribution of this paper is to measure an individual’s attention allocation using long-term micro-data. They found that factors such as individuals' level of wealth, educational background, whether or not investing in the stock market, and whether or not being trapped in an economic recession affect their attention to different economic variables. In terms of policy insights, they pointed out that policy-makers need to take into account the information-gathering and processing capabilities of the target people and their ability to understand the purpose of the policies.
Dr. Yin Penghui shared the cutting-edge literature in the field of behavioral macroeconomics and informational friction in this lecture, which expanded the participants’ understanding and thinking of the related fields. During the lecture, Dr. Yin Penghui answered all the questions, insights or thoughts raised by the students. The lecture achieved a good effect with a lively atmosphere and heated discussion.