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Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften

Seminar "Expectations and Beliefs in Economics and Household Finance"

Modul: Modul 1-11: Mikroökonomie II
Dozent: Prof. Dr. Lukas Buchheim 
M. Sc. Marcel Vögele
Umfang / Credits: 4 SWS / 7,5 Credits
Veranstaltungsart: Seminar
Prüfungsart: Seminararbeit und Präsentation
Sprache: Englisch
Bewerbung: E-Mail an marcel.voegeletu-dortmundde
Termin und Ort: Donnerstags, 12-14 Uhr, Mathetower M127
Beginn: 13.10.2022
Zwischenpräsentation: tba
Abgabetermin der Arbeit: tba


Um sich für das Seminar anzumelden, schicken Sie bitte eine E-Mail an marcel.voegeletu-dortmundde. Dieser sollte zusätzlich ein aktueller Notenauszug aus dem BOSS angehängt sein.

Der Anmeldezeitraum gilt von Montag dem 04.07.22 bis zum Freitag den 08.07.22.


The consequences of fundamental economic decisions – long-run consumption and investment choices of households (e.g., housing, retirement saving), the hiring and investment decisions of firms, or the portfolio choice of investors – materialize only in the future. As a consequence, economic agents have to form expectations about future economic development in order to make these decisions. To understand individual decision making – and its potential consequences on economic aggregates like short-run growth, unemployment, and inflation – it is thus fundamental to understand how economic agents form expectations to inform their choices.

It is thus not surprising that studying expectation formation---and the effect of expectations on aggregate economic developments---has a long tradition within economics. Here, the traditional approach (in light of the “rational expectations revolution”) has been to theoretically specify characteristics that the expectations of “rational” economic actors have to fulfill. The empirical literature within this tradition has been mostly confined to test the implications of these predictions.

During the last decade, however, there has been a surge of empirical work that seeks to understand how economic agents form expectations in practice. This literature has found consistent deviations from the rational expectation hypothesis, which an emerging theoretical literature, in turn, seeks to explain. This is currently an active area of empirical and theoretical research in economics, with different perspectives from microeconomics, macroeconomics, and finance.

The goal of the seminar is to expose students to this exciting area of very active research, as well as their practical implications: Studying expectation formation often exposes common pitfalls that agents make when forecasting the future. This helps both to avoid own errors and to better understand market developments.

Within the course, there will be two separate sets of seminar topics, that deal with the following questions:

  1. Which empirical regularities regarding expectations are found in the literature – and how does the literature arrive at these conclusions? These topics focus on understanding the new empirical literature, ideally coupled with own replications (with existing data).
  2. How do new empirical findings regarding expectation formation interact with new theoretical developments? Here, the focus will be on understanding why certain empirical findings lead to new theoretical descriptions of the expectation formation process.

Both sets of topics will be designed to give students the opportunity to set up a small independent research projects in preparation for work on the Master thesis.


The main goal of the seminar is to get students engaged in (beginners-stage) scientific work in preparation for the Masters’ thesis. Notably, there will be (within the first class of topics) to practice empirical analyses via conducting replication analyses. Intensive guidance and supervision will be provided during the seminar.

In terms of content, the participants will be enabled to better understand the expectation formation process of economic agents. This should help for making own forecasts of economic developments both for private decisions as well as decisions within a professional context.


Informationen über den zeitlichen Ablauf des Seminars, finden sie unter dem Thema "Seminare und wissenschaftliches Arbeiten".

In addition to the information regarding the seminar procedure described by the content after the link, there will be a few lectures in the beginning of the term. These lectures will be designed to familiarize students with the general types of reasoning they will find in their seminar topics and should help them working on their topics. The lecture content will not be part of the grade (but may, of course, indirectly affect the grade via the quality of the seminar paper and the presentation).