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F I N A L  D I S S E R T A T I O N  R E P O R T  P R I N T
F I N A L  D I S S E R T A T I O N  R E P O R T  P R I N T
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F I N A L D I S S E R T A T I O N R E P O R T P R I N T

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  • 1. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE DISSERTATION REPORT ON “IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE” Submitted To: Submitted By: LECT. J.L.KAPOOR SUMIT ARORA ASIAS 2804 AMITYUNIVERSITY MBA (INSURANCE) 01000900000316020000020096010000000096010 00026060f002203574d46430100000000000100d6 AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 1
  • 2. 5d000000000100000000030000000000000003000 0010000006c000000000000000000000008000000 1000000000000000000000004e0c0000b10800002 0454d460000010000030000100000000200000000 00000000000000000000000005000020030000400 10000c800000000000000000000000000000000e20 400400d0300160000000c000000180000000a0000 00100000000000000000000000090000001000000 07e00000059000000520000007001000001000000f 1ffffff000000000000000000000000900100000000 000004400022430061006c0069006200720069000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000001100dc5f1100100000004 0631100c060110052516032406311003860110010 000000a8611100246311002451603240631100386 011002000000049642f31386011004063110020000
  • 3. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE 000ffffffff5c09d100d0642f31ffffffffffff0180ffff018 00fff0180ffffffff00000000000800000008000094e7 120001000000000000006000000025000000372e9 0010000020f0502020204030204ef0200a07b20004 000000000000000009f00000000000000430061006 c0069006200720000000000c064df0370a06032a86 e92813c09d1001c44c3006c6011009c38273103000 00001000000a8601100a8601100e8782531030000 00d06011005c09d10064760008000000002500000 00c00000001000000250000000c000000010000002 50000000c00000001000000120000000c000000010 00000180000000c00000000000002540000005400 00000000000000000000080000001000000001000 0000000c8410000c841000000000d000000010000 004c0000000400000000000000000000007e000000 590000005000000020008b0209000000460000002 80000001c0000004744494302000000ffffffffffffffff AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 3
  • 4. 7f0000005a00000000000000460000001400000008 0000004744494303000000250000000c0000000e00 0080250000000c0000000e0000800e000000140000 00000000001000000014000000040000000301080 0050000000b0200000000050000000c0259007e00 040000002e0118001c000000fb02f1ff00000000000 09001000000000440002243616c69627269000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000040000002d010000040000002d010000040000 002d0100000400000002010100050000000902000 000020d000000320a0d0000000100040000000000 7e005900203d09001c000000fb0210000700000000 00bc02000000000102022253797374656d0000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000040000002d010100040000002d01010003000 0000000 AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE
  • 5. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page No. 1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT………………………………………………………...0 4 2. OBJECTIVE………………………………………………………………………. 06 3. ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………………... 08 4. METHODOLOGY………………………………………………………………... 10 5. REVIEW OF LITERATURE……………………………………………………..13 6. INFLATION……………………………………………………………………….. 31  MEANNING  METHOD OF CALCULATION  LIMITATION OF METHOD  INFLATION INDIA  HOW INFLATION EATS UP THE MONEY?  IMPACT ON THE INVESTMENT DECISION 7. FINDINGS & ANALYSIS……………………………………………………….75 8. RESULTS………………………………………………………………………… 87 9. CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………...9 AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 5
  • 6. 3 10. RECOMMENDATION…………………………………………………………..9 5 11. LIMITATION OF STUDY……………………………………………………… 97 12. APPENDICES …………………………………………………………………… 99 13. REFERENCE... ……………………………………………………………….102
  • 7. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT A work of this magnitude requires inputs, efforts and encouragement of people from all sides. In compiling this project report, I have been fortunate enough to get active and kind cooperation from many people without whom my endeavors would not have been a success. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 7
  • 8. At the very onset, I would like to thank LECT. J. L. Kapoor, FACULTY MENTOR for giving me an opportunity to such an interesting project on IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE. The excellent guidance and support provided by him have gone a long way in the successful completion of this project. My heart full thanks to all faculty members of ASIAS, AMITY UNIVERSITY who gave me continuous support in every possible manner to help me in successfully completing my dissertation. I also acknowledge to those who directly or indirectly helped me in this endeavor. SUMIT ARORA
  • 9. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE OBJECTIVE AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 9
  • 10. The objective of the project is to study the “impact of the inflation on the consumer perception towards insurance” and find out how consumer perception changes with the change in inflation rate. The objectives include the following: • To study what is the change in the perception when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low. • To find out what percentage of saving they would like to invest in insurance when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low. • To find out preference of the consumer for investment when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low. • To find out which saving option they opt when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low. • To study the effect of annual income on the buying decision of an insurance policy. • To find out which insurance product they preferred more when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low. • To find out what is the reason for selecting insurance when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low.
  • 11. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 11
  • 12. ABSTRACT In present scenario, consumer considered as a king. Market trend changes with perception of the consumer. It is the perception of the consumer only which makes one company the largest company of the world and the other an unknown company. Consumer perception depends upon various factors like income of consumer, perception towards product or service, brand name etc. Today when inflation rate is increasing with a high rate, it creates greater impact on the consumer perception. Government takes necessary steps to control the inflation rate, which can have impact on the rate of interest, banking system and financial institution. This can have impact on the saving part of the consumer, so with increase in inflation rate with same income there can be impact on the saving part of consumer. Today when consumer has lot of option for saving like FD, Insurance, Bank saving, mutual fund, share market. When the rate of inflation is high consumer may want more secure, high return saving option. There may be chance that consumer perception towards insurance may get changes with the up and down of the inflation rate. The main aim of the project is study the impact of the inflation on consumer perception. How much part of the total saving he/she would like to invest in insurance when the rate of inflation is up and when it is down. Is there any variation in the perception when the rate of inflation is high and when it is low. It is very important for insurance company to get to know about these facts in order to understand consumer perception, which is the only priority of every insurance company. This dissertation report is tells about the relationship between the inflation and consumer perception towards insurance.
  • 13. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 13
  • 14. METHODOLOGY It refers to the process that enables the researcher to collect and analyze the data for making a multi-dimensional study for a particular aspect of the system. It also analyses the procedure of enquiry into particular field. The research methodology adopted in the study is:- Data Collection Techniques Primary Research The method adopt for this survey is Exploratory Research since the main aim is to gain an insight in to the perception of the consumer towards insurance with rate of inflation and what are the factors that lead to their decision while choosing a insurance plan. A questionnaire method is going to be use for purpose of the study. The questionnaire is thought to be the most suitable because it allows structured, meaningful and uniform interaction with the respondent.
  • 15. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE The following step enumerates the various stages of this project. Step1. Designing the questionnaire The first step in the research process is the formation of questionnaire keeping in mind the need for uniformity and specificity of information. A structured, non disguised questionnaire will be drafted keeping in mind that it will cover the objectives of the project. The questionnaire is drafted for respondents. Step2. Deciding the sample size The sample size is decided to be 50 so that sufficient information and variability can be obtained. The place of study is Delhi only. Step3. Collection of data The questionnaires will directly filled by the respondents, or a communication will make through telephone or personal interview. Step4. Classification and tabulation of data The data obtained through the questionnaire will then fed in to the computer and tabulated. The data will obtain through objective questions and will be put in graphical form. This will done to facilitate analysis about the various aspects Step5. Analysis and Findings The data as it will put in the form of graphs will be easier to analyze. Interpretations will be done and major inferences will be drawn. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 15
  • 16. Secondary Research Secondary data are data collected by persons or agencies for purposes other than solving the problem at hand. They are one of the most economical and easiest means of accessing information. • Secondary data can also be obtained from published sources such as journals, reports, govt. publication and magazines. NULL HYPOTHESIS – I assume that the inflation have a impact on the consumer perception towards insurance because inflation have a impact on the saving, as it increases the expenditure with constant level of income.
  • 17. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Review of literature What is inflation? When you see the term “inflation” in the newspaper, it refers to a change in the AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 17
  • 18. Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the costs of goods and services typically purchased by consumers. This government figure is good for measuring economic activity for the country at large, but does little for individuals who have buying habits based on their age, lifestyle, and where they live that are different from the typical consumer’s. If you spend a lot on goods and services with high inflation rates, such as college and medical expenses, the CPI significantly understates the impact that inflation is having on you CPI is the traditional benchmark “The most relevant measure of inflation from a financial planning point of view is the year-over-year change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In contrast to many other measures of prices, the CPI has the advantage of being restricted to the goods and services purchased by individuals,” remarked Alexander. However, the CPI will not reflect the outlays by any specific individual or household. For example, tobacco is a component of the CPI, but the majority of Canadians are non-smokers. As a result, the CPI should be viewed as only a rough guide to what is happening to the cost of living. Inflation to average two per cent “Although inflation has been low for more than a decade, the memory of the double- digit and high single-digit inflation in the 1970s and 1980s lingers. However, there is good reason to believe that history will not repeat itself due to a change in the conduct of monetary policy by the Bank of Canada,” observed Alexander. During the 1990s the Bank of Canada introduced targets for keeping inflation in a range of one to three per cent, and since adopting this approach inflation has averaged 1.8 per cent. “Looking ahead, although inflation will fluctuate, there is every reason to believe that the Bank
  • 19. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE will keep inflation between one and three per cent, and average close to two per cent,” stated Alexander. Low inflation environment has investment implications The inflation outlook has a number of investment implications. It suggests that the unadjusted return on fixed income instruments will remain low by historical standards in the years ahead. Included in the yield on fixed income investments is a premium for the expected rate of inflation over the lifetime of the assets to compensate for the future loss of purchasing power, as well as a premium for the volatility and uncertainty about the future rate of inflation. As inflation has fallen over the past two decades, so too have the inflation premiums. “The bulk of the decline in long-term Government of Canada bond yields from an average of almost 12 per cent in the 1980s to below six per cent in the late 1990s is explained by lower inflation premiums,” remarked Alexander. The low inflation environment will also constrain corporate profits growth, which, in turn, may affect equity prices. To illustrate, real GDP measures the increase in the volume of economic activity. When inflation is added, nominal GDP is an estimate of national income, which is divided between government, individuals and corporations – with the bulk of the latter representing profits. “In other words, profits are constrained by nominal GDP growth, which will be slower in a low inflation environment,” suggested Alexander. It is after-inflation returns that matter “At this point, some readers may have the impression that low inflation is undesirable. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 19
  • 20. But, lower unadjusted returns are not the relevant benchmark. It is after-inflation returns that matter,” observed Alexander. To illustrate, investors should be indifferent between an investment paying six per cent when inflation is four per cent and an investment paying four per cent when inflation is two per cent, as the after-inflation return of two per cent is the same. However, the sustained low inflation environment may constrain after-inflation returns due to a reduced premium related to lower volatility in inflation, but this impact is likely modest. And, as a partial offset, there is a tax advantage to the low inflation environment, since taxes are paid on the unadjusted income and capital gains. “Moreover, while after-inflation returns may be slightly lower, the economy is clearly better off. Indeed, the economy is deeply and adversely affected when inflation is high and volatile, as it leads to the mis-pricing of real and financial assets and creates extreme volatility in interest rates. By creating a sustained subdued inflation backdrop, the Bank of Canada has engineered a low interest rate environment that helps to foster economic growth and engenders greater prosperity, all of which makes for a superior investment climate,” said Alexander. . How does inflation erode purchasing power? Most consumers don’t understand how damaging inflation can be over long periods of time on their purchasing power. One dollar today simply doesn’t buy as much as it did in 1970 and will buy even less 30 years from now. If you long for the days in which you could buy a Coke for a nickel, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Inflation has averaged about 3% annually from 1926–2006. Three percent may not seem like much, but it can significantly erode your purchasing power over long time horizons. Take for example the impact a 3% inflation rate can have on a fixed annual income of $100,000 over a typical 30-year retirement. As the image below demonstrates, your money would be worth 14% less in five years and in 30 years, the purchasing power of your income would be reduced by nearly 60% to $40,101. There’s a good chance that the rate of inflation you will experience in retirement will exceed the long-term 3%
  • 21. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE average, simply because goods and services that you will be purchasing won’t resemble what the typical consumer is buying in the CPI aggregate. Medical expenses in particular are likely to be a significantly higher portion of your overall spending. A recent estimate from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services suggests medical inflation may be as high as 6.3% annually over the period 2005–2015.1 AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 21
  • 22. Inflation, Uncertainty, and Saving Behavior In this paper the researcher (PAUL WACHTEL, New York University) investigate the relationship between inflation and uncertainty and saving behavior. His findings confirm the hypothesis that the high saving rates observed are related to inflation and uncertainty, Three basic results emerge from the study: (1) the measurement of inflation effects is very sensitive to the choice of data source; (2) the major impact of the inflation uncertainty is to increase saving through a reduced propensity to incur liabilities; (3) evidence of an uncertainty effect on financial asset acquisitions was not found, a surprising result that points to the need for further research in this area. The paper extends previous investigations by examining both flow of funds and national income and product account data. In addition, saving components from the flow of funds are examined. It is well known that the inflationary experience since the mid-l960s has been accompanied by high personal saving rates. A number of recent studies of saving functions have indicated that this relationship is more than coincidental (Juster and Wachtdl972a and 1972b; Wachtel '1977; Taylor 1974; luster and Taylor 1975; luster 1975; Burch and Werneke 1975). Although the evidence that inflation is a major cause of increased personal saving is strong, there are a number of gaps in the existing literature. First of all, previous studies rely primarily upon the personal saving data from the national income accounts. Secondly, very little has been determined about which components of saving are affected by inflation. In this paper, he addresses these Issues by estimating saving functions for various definitions of aggregate saving and its major components. A desegregation of saving is desirable since saving is the sum of three different
  • 23. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE activities; that is, increased saving can be the result of an increase in purchases of financial assets, a reduction in the net increase in liabilities, or an increase in purchases of durable assets. Up to this time, researchers have avoided discussing the effects of Inflation on the allocation of saving because of the difficulty of defining saving and the poor quality of the available disaggregated data. Skirting both these issues, researchers have relied instead upon the most popular definition and data source-personal saving in the national income and product accounts (NIPA). In this paper he use disaggregated saving data for the household sector from the f1ow-of-funds (FOF) accounts. In section 1, he outlines the reasons for expecting an effect on saving because of uncertainty about inflation. In section 2, the saving data are discussed. The Houthakker-Taylor (1970) model used here is presented in section 3. The empirical results, presented in section 4, pertain to aggregates and their components. Section 4 also contains a discussion of the inconsistencies among data sources and some alternative specifications of the model. Two basic results emerge from this study. First, the measurement of inflation effects is very sensitive to the choice of data. This is not surprising; Taubman (1968) reached the same conclusion in an analysis of the saving-income relationship.' Secondly, the major impact of inflation uncertainty is to increase saving through a reduced propensity to incur liabilities. Closely linked to this phenomenon is the negative effect of uncertainty on net investment in physical assets. There is little firm evidence of any effect on the acquisition of financial assets, although the results in this area are unclear and further research is needed. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 23
  • 24. THE EFFECT OF INFLATION ON SAVING The basic question to be discussed in this section is, quot;Why should inflation affect a household's saving-consumption decision?quot; For the most part, econometric research on aggregate saving behavior has ignored inflation effects. Traditionally, economists have assumed that overall real spending decisions are Unaffected by the general price level. In addition until recently, the rate of inflation was small enough to be ignored in empirical research. This is no longer the case, and there is mounting evidence that the traditional approach is no longer valid. . The assumption of neutrality is valid if all prices throughout the economy go up at the same rate. In that case, inflation does not alter real income or relative prices, and it is reasonable to assume that inflation has no real effects. Although in the long run inflation may be anticipated and neutral, the stringency of these assumptions for the short run is often overlooked. Alternatively, there are several ways by which inflation may affect consumer behavior, some of which reduce saving but most of which increase it. Several of these are briefly discussed-money illusion, intertemporal substitution, uncertainty, and indirect effects that operate through interest rates and wealth.
  • 25. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE The Money Illusion Effect Money illusion has a long history in the macroeconomic literature on consumption. Money illusion occurs when inflation is not recognized. Consumers Overestimate the purchasing power of their nominal income and decide to raise real consumption levels. Consequently, real consumption expenditure is increased, and saving is reduced. Money illusion is contingent upon consumer ignorance. However, the consumer sector is not necessarily always ignorant of the current inflation rate. Whether money illusion of this type affects consumption behavior is an empirical question. It was originally explored by Branson and Klevorick (1969) and more recently by Wachtel (1977). Branson and Klevorick found a very large money illusion effect. Their results suggested that a 1 percent price increase leads to an increase of 0.4 percent in real consumption, rather too large to be believed. Wachtel suggests that the degree of money illusion has decreased substantially in recent years. In periods of little overall inflation, errors in perception are likely to be small in magnitude and of little consequence, and there is little incentive to invest in price information. Although money illusion is observed in periods of low inflation, the money illusion phenomenon has tended to disappear as AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 25
  • 26. inflation has become more severe. The Intertemporal Substitution Effect It is often argued that when price increases are expected, expenditures are advanced in time. If the expenditures are on investment goods, measured saving will increase; otherwise, consumption increases. Intertemporal substitution is relatively rare because rational behavior requires that the expected price increases be sufficiently large and certain to make it worthwhile to maintain goods inventories (which may entail substantial opportunity costs). In a relatively stable economy this is not likely to be true very often, and buying sprees, though observed on occasion, are relatively rare in the United States. The Uncertainty Effect The term quot;uncertainty effectquot; refers to a set of hypotheses which suggest that inflation leads to increased saving. My contention is that these hypotheses describe the main effect of inflation on saving. One such hypothesis is based on Katona's finding that the public has a strong distaste for inflation. Inflation is viewed as an undesirable phenomenon, and its presence is associated with increased pessimism about economic conditions, which may lead to increased saving for precautionary reasons. Thus, inflation is a proxy for attitudes about economic conditions, particularly uncertainty. This hypothesis is unsatisfactory, however, because it relies upon a tenuous psychological link between inflation and uncertainty to explain the increase in saving in inflationary times. There are more specific reasons for relating inflation to uncertainty. Both time series and cross-sectional observations suggest that inflation tends to be more variable as it
  • 27. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE increases. Therefore, inflation forecasts deteriorate, forecast errors become more prevalent, and the dispersion of inflation forecasts also increases. Consequently, the uncertainty of real income expectations increases with inflation. It can be argued that increased saving is a precautionary response to the increase in uncertainty. Saving is determined by both the expected level of real income and the certainty with which those expectations are held. The greater the uncertainty of expectations, the greater will be saving. In specifying a saving function, I include a direct measure of inflation uncertainty. The appropriate measure would be the variance (or higher moments) of the average individual's subjective probability distribution of the expected rate of inflation. Although a time series of the mean expected rate of inflation is available from the quarterly surveys conducted by the Survey Research Center, the variance cannot be readily measured. Therefore, the proxy I use is the variance among individuals in their inflation expectations. The construction of the mean and variance from the survey responses is discussed in Wachtel (1977) There are other sources of real income uncertainty that increase saving. The most frequently cited is the effect of unemployment or general economic conditions on money income expectations. When economic conditions worsen, the employed save more in order to be able to maintain their consumption if they become unemployed. This effect is offset by the dissaving of those already unemployed. Clearly, nominal income expectations and their dispersion (there is greater downside risk in a recession) will also affect aggregate saving behavior. Juster has shown that the unemployment rate has a strong negative influence and in the unemployment a strong positive influence on the saving rates, reflecting these two effects. Indirect Effects AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 27
  • 28. Inflation also affects saving behavior indirectly through its effects on other determinants of saving. In particular, inflation will affects interest rates and the real wealth of households. The real value of household financial wealth is often eroded in inflationary periods, and an attempt by individuals to maintain the purchasing power of their stock of financial assets will lead to higher saving. Inflation reduces real financial Wealth and thus induces saving only when rates of return fail to incorporate an inflation premium. In the long run, rates of return either adjust to include an inflation premium or consumer reallocates their portfolio. Any long-run inflation effect on saving is likely to reflect uncertainty rather than a wealth effect. Furthermore, the wealth effect should apply primarily to financial assets and not to other forms of saving, since the real value of the flow of services from the stock of durables is unchanged. In my empirical investigation of inflation effects on the consumption of saving, I show the importance of inflation, presumably because of its uncertainty, on no financial saving. SAVING DATA The difficulties in working with saving data are well known to researchers .There is variety of definitions and data sources available, with large and variable discrepancies among them. Saving by individuals is determined residually in both the flow of funds and national income and product accounts. Consequently, there is a serious problem of errors in measurement. Although there are a large number of alternative saving measures, I restrict my analysis to personal saving as defined in NIPA and saving as defined in the FOF household
  • 29. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE account. The NIPA definition is the most common measure used: saving there is determined residually as personal income less personal outlays and tax and non tax payment for government services. The data represent the saving of individuals (including proprietors), nonprofit institutions, private noninsured welfare funds, and private trust funds. FOF, however, defines saving as the sum of the sectoral fund flows into various assets. The FOF household account covers households, nonprofit organizations, and personal trusts but excludes the farm and non-farm non-corporate business sectors. Unfortunately, with the exception of plant and equipment investments of the nonprofit sector, it is not possible to further isolate the saving flows of households! The conceptual definitions of saving in the official accounts are not entirely satisfactory. In particular, in both published data sources, capital gains on financial and physical asset are ignored. Although difficult to estimate, they are sometimes considered as components of saving and can be expected to affect saving in other forms. In addition, the recent improvements in NIPA, to provide, among other things, a better economic definition of depreciation, had not yet been incorporated in the FOF data used here. Given the large number of independent data sources (income and product or f1ow-of- funds bases), the discrepancies among consistently defined saving figures are remarkably small. But given the accuracy that researchers have come to expect in the aggregate data, it is appalling to find discrepancies that often exceed $10 billion (at annual rates). Since there is very little that can be done to rectify this confusing situation, it has been the overwhelming tendency of both research economists and the more practically inclined to ignore the problem. Given our interest here in disaggregating saving, this will not be possible. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 29
  • 30. THE SAVING MODEL While most models of consumer behavior are highly aggregated and concentrate on a single consumption-saving decision, in some models the components of consumption and saving are disaggregated. With desegregation it is necessary to take account of the
  • 31. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE institutional structure and relative price phenomena that affect each of the components. This latter task is a difficult one for saving components and beyond the scope of this paper. We cannot distinguish between the gross effects of inflation and its indirect effects through other determinants. Since our interest here is to identify the existence of gross inflation and uncertainty effects, it is preferable to use a model that provides a uniform framework for estimation of both an aggregate saving function and its components. Of course such a general model cannot take account of all the diverse factors that might affect aggregate saving. Comparison with Other Results AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 31
  • 32. The results obtained are broadly consistent with the literature cited in the introduction. Most of those studies use some variant of personal saving and find significant positive inflation or uncertainty effects. The point estimates are very sensitive to differences in specification and sample period. This, however, is not surprising in light of our results with different saving data. Taylor's (1974) is the only study in which saving components and the flow of funds data were examined. His price expectations variable is not comparable to my measure and his reduced form model includes a large number of additional saving determinants. He finds positive expectations effects for aggregate saving from both NIPA and FOF as well as for physical investment and net acquisitions of financial assets. The differences in results are not due to his shortened sample period, but apparently are the consequences of specification differences. Taylor's specifications differ for each saving component. In order to compare inflation and uncertainty effects on each component. I adopted a simpler model with a common, simplified structure.
  • 33. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE CONCLUSION The discussions in this paper confirmed that the hypothesis of a relationship between saving and inflation and uncertainty is well founded. However, it was also shown that some important issues remain to be investigated. In particular, a better understanding of the determinants of the disaggregated saving flows is needed. The implication of this study is that as economists formulate better models for the components of saving by individuals, inflation and uncertainty are likely to play an important role. The results are sensitive to the sources of data used. This makes precise estimation of inflation effects on saving difficult. Although the discrepancy in results can be explained, it is not dear which data set should be viewed as correct. A better understanding of the relationship probably depends on improvements in the quality of the data. Financial asset acquisitions are probably the weakest link in the data and also yield the most ambiguous results. There is very little evidence of precautionary saving leading to increased liquid asset holding. The hypothesis may be incorrect or the data and models may be inadequate; either is an equally plausible explanation, and the issue remains unsettled. My evidence suggests that when households are uncertain about inflation, they reduce their borrowing. I conclude that this is the major source of the often observed inflation- saving relationship. A corollary is that inflation leads to reduced physical investment. Although this contradicts the usual notion that inflation produces a shift to real assets, the strength of the results for liabilities and physical investment is convincing. These results hold when interest rates are held constant and with either the inflation rate or the survey variance representing uncertainty. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 33
  • 34. So once the consumer saving perception changes as per inflation then it may have impact on the consumer perception about the insurance. So the above study can be used as a secondary data to do the project Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. The term quot;inflationquot; once referred to increases in the money supply (monetary inflation); however, economic debates about the relationship between money supply and price levels have led to its primary use today in describing price inflation. Inflation can also be described as a decline in the real value of money—a loss of purchasing power in the medium of exchange which is also the monetary unit of account. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, which is the percentage change in a price index over time. Inflation can cause adverse effects on the economy. For example, uncertainty about future inflation may discourage investment and saving. High inflation may lead to shortages of goods if consumers begin hoarding out of concern that prices will increase in the future. Economists generally agree that high rates of inflation and hyperinflation are caused by an excessive growth of the money supply. Views on which factors determine low to moderate rates of inflation are more varied. Low or moderate inflation may be attributed to fluctuations in real demand for goods and services, or changes in available supplies such as during scarcities, as well as to growth in the money supply. However, the consensus view is that a long sustained period of inflation is caused by money supply growing faster than the rate of economic growth. Today, most economists favor a low steady rate of inflation. Low (as opposed to zero or
  • 35. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE negative) inflation may reduce the severity of economic recessions by enabling the labor market to adjust more quickly in a downturn, and reducing the risk that a liquidity trap prevents monetary policy from stabilizing the economy. The task of keeping the rate of inflation low and stable is usually given to monetary authorities. Generally, these monetary authorities are the central banks that control the size of the money supply through the setting of interest rates, through open market operations, and through the setting of banking reserve requirements. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 35
  • 36. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE What is meant by Inflation? A persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money, caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services. Cost of Living: The cost of certain essential commodities in the years 1987, 1997 and the present cost (February 2004) are shown below. Assuming that the inflation rate will be the same as that in the period 1987-1997, the prospective inflation rate for 2017 is shown below. Financial planning of a person shall be such that he must be capable of buying essential commodities at inflated rate during post retirement period. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 37
  • 37. 2017 1987 1997 Feb’ 2006 Items (Rs.) (Rs.) (Rs.) (Rs.) Colgate 104.00 toothpaste 8.05 18.90 35.00 (100gm tube) 52.00 Hamam Soap 3.05 7.85 13.00 259.12 Petrol 7.99 25.48 47.49 830.80 LPG Cylinder 56.15 137.85 288.10 Inflation robs your Purchasing power? A chart showing the cost inflation indexation from financial year 1981-82 to 2004-2005 as announced by Government of India is given below. This table facilitates to calculate Adjustment of Purchase price of a movable / immovable property for payment of Capital Gain Tax.
  • 38. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Financial Cost Inflation Cost Inflation Indexation Year Indexation 1981-82 100 1982-83 109 1983-84 116 1984-85 125 1985-86 133 1986-87 140 1987-88 150 1988-89 161 1989-90 172 1990-91 182 1991-92 199 1992-93 223 Year 1993-94 244 1994-95 259 1995-96 281 1996-97 305 1997-98 331 1998-99 351 1999-00 389 AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 39
  • 39. 2000-01 406 2001-02 426 2002-03 447 2003-04 463 2004-05 480 Origin Inflation originally referred to the debasement of the currency. When gold was used as currency, gold coins could be collected by the government (e.g. the king or the ruler of the region), melted down, mixed with other metals such as silver, copper or lead, and reissued at the same nominal value. By diluting the gold with other metals, the government could increase the total number of coins issued without also needing to increase the amount of gold used to make them. When the cost of each coin is lowered in this way, the government profits from an increase in seignior age. This practice would increase the money supply but at the same time lower the relative value of each coin. As the relative value of the coins decrease, consumers would need more coins to exchange for the same goods and services. These goods and services would experience a price increase as the value of each coin is reduced. By the nineteenth century, economists categorized three separate factors that cause a rise or fall in the price of goods: a change in the value or resource costs of the good, a
  • 40. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE change in the price of money which then was usually a fluctuation in metallic content in the currency, and currency depreciation resulting from an increased supply of currency relative to the quantity of redeemable metal backing the currency. Following the proliferation of private bank note currency printed during the American Civil War, the term quot;inflationquot; started to appear as a direct reference to the currency depreciation that occurred as the quantity of redeemable bank notes outstripped the quantity of metal available for their redemption. The term inflation then referred to the devaluation of the currency, and not to a rise in the price of goods. This relationship between the over-supply of bank notes and a resulting depreciation in their value was noted by earlier classical economists such as David Hume and David Ricardo, who would go on to examine and debate to what effect a currency devaluation (later termed monetary inflation) has on the price of goods (later termed price inflation, and eventually just inflation). Related definitions The term quot;inflationquot; usually refers to a measured rise in a broad price index that represents the overall level of prices in goods and services in the economy. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI) and the GDP deflator are some examples of broad price indices. The term inflation may also be used to describe the rising level of prices in a narrow set of assets, goods or services within the economy, such as commodities (which include food, fuel, metals), financial assets (such as stocks, bonds and real estate), and services (such as entertainment and health care). The Reuters-CRB Index (CCI), the Producer Price Index, and Employment Cost Index (ECI) are examples of narrow price indices used to measure price inflation in particular sectors of the economy. Core inflation is a measure of price fluctuations in a sub-set of the broad price index AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 41
  • 41. which excludes food and energy prices. The Federal Reserve Board uses the core inflation rate to measure overall inflation, eliminating food and energy prices to mitigate against short term price fluctuations that could distort estimates of future long term inflation trends in the general economy. Other related economic concepts include: deflation – a fall in the general price level; disinflation – a decrease in the rate of inflation; hyperinflation – an out-of-control inflationary spiral; stagflation – a combination of inflation, slow economic growth and high unemployment; and reflation – an attempt to raise the general level of prices to counteract deflationary pressures. MEASURES Inflation is usually measured by calculating the inflation rate of a price index, usually the Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index measures prices of a selection of goods and services purchased by a quot;typical consumerquot;. The inflation rate is the percentage rate of change of a price index over time. For example, in January 2007, the U.S. Consumer Price Index was 202.416, and in January 2008 it was 211.080. The formula for calculating the annual percentage rate inflation in the CPI over the course of 2007 is (211.080 -202.416) / 202.416 =4.28%
  • 42. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE A consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households. It is a price index determined by measuring the price of a standard group of goods meant to represent the typical market basket of a typical urban consumer. [1]Related, but different, terms are the CPI, the RPI, and the RPIX used in the United Kingdom. It is one of several price indexes calculated by most national statistical agencies. The percent change in the CPI is a measure of inflation. The CPI can be used to index (i.e., adjust for the effects of inflation) wages, salaries, pensions, or regulated or contracted prices. The CPI is, along with the population census and the National Income and Product Accounts, one of the most closely watched national economic statistics. Two basic types of data are needed to construct the CPI: price data and weighting data. The price data are collected for a sample of goods and services from a sample of sales outlets in a sample of locations for a sample of times. The weighting data are estimates of the shares of the different types of expenditure as fractions of the total expenditure covered by the index. These weights are usually based upon expenditure data obtained for sampled periods from a sample of households. Although some of the sampling is done using a sampling frame and probabilistic sampling methods, much is done in a commonsense way (purposive sampling) that does not permit estimation of confidence intervals. Therefore, the sampling variance is normally ignored, since a single estimate is required in most of the purposes for which the index is used. Stocks greatly affect this cause. The index is usually computed yearly, or quarterly in some countries, as a weighted average of sub-indices for different components of consumer expenditure, such as food, AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 43
  • 43. housing, clothing, each of which is in turn a weighted average of sub-sub-indices. At the most detailed level, the elementary aggregate level, (for example, men's shirts sold in department stores in San Francisco), detailed weighting information is unavailable, so elementary aggregate indices are computed using an unweighted arithmetic or geometric mean of the prices of the sampled product offers. (However, the growing use of scanner data is gradually making weighting information available even at the most detailed level.) These indices compare prices each month with prices in the price-reference month. The weights used to combine them into the higher-level aggregates, and then into the overall index, relate to the estimated expenditures during a preceding whole year of the consumers covered by the index on the products within its scope in the area covered. Thus the index is a fixed-weight index, but rarely a true Laspeyres index, since the weight-reference period of a year and the price-reference period, usually a more recent single month, do not coincide. It takes time to assemble and process the information used for weighting which, in addition to household expenditure surveys, may include trade and tax data. Ideally, the weights would relate to the composition of expenditure during the time between the price-reference month and the current month. There is a large technical economics literature on index formulae which would approximate this and which can be shown to approximate what economic theorists call a true cost of living index. Such an Index would show how consumer expenditure would have to move to compensate for price changes so as to allow consumers to maintain a constant standard of living. Approximations can only be computed retrospectively, whereas the index has to appear monthly and, preferably, quite soon. Nevertheless, in some countries, notably in North America and Sweden, the philosophy of the index is that it is inspired by and approximates the notion of a true cost of living (constant utility) index, whereas in most of Europe it is regarded more pragmatically.
  • 44. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE The coverage of the index may be limited. Consumers' expenditure abroad is usually excluded; visitors' expenditure within the country may be excluded in principle if not in practice; the rural population may or may not be included; certain groups such as the very rich or the very poor may be excluded. Saving and investment are always excluded, though the prices paid for financial services provided by financial intermediaries may be included along with insurance. The index reference period, usually called the base year, often differs both from the weight-reference period and the price reference period. This is just a matter of rescaling the whole time-series to make the value for the index reference-period equal to 100. Annually revised weights are a desirable but expensive feature of an index, for the older the weights the greater is the divergence between the current expenditure pattern and that of the weight reference-period. Weights and sub-indices Weights can be expressed as fractions or ratios summing to one, as percentages summing to 100 or as per mille numbers summing to 1000. In the European Union's Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices, for example, each country computes some 80 prescribed sub-indices, their weighted average constituting the national Harmonised Index. The weights for these sub-indices will consist of the sum of the weights of a AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 45
  • 45. number of component lower level indexes. The classification is according to use, developed in a national accounting context. This is not necessarily the kind of classification that is most appropriate for a Consumer Price Index. Grouping together of substitutes or of products whose prices tend to move in parallel might be more suitable. For some of these lower level indexes detailed reweighing to make them be available, allowing computations where the individual price observations can all be weighted. This may be the case, for example, where all selling is in the hands of a single national organization which makes its data available to the index compilers. For lower level indexes, however, the weight will consist of the sum of the weights of a number of elementary aggregate indexes, each weight corresponding to its fraction of the total annual expenditure covered by the index. An 'elementary aggregate' is a lowest-level component of expenditure, one which has a weight but within which, weights of its sub- components are usually lacking. Thus, for example: Weighted averages of elementary aggregate indexes (e.g. for men’s shirts, raincoats, women’s dresses etc.) make up low level indexes (e.g. Outer garments), Weighted averages of these in turn provide sub-indices at a higher, more aggregated level,(e.g. Clothing) and Weighted averages of the latter provide yet more aggregated sub-indices (e.g. Clothing and Footwear). Some of the elementary aggregate indexes, and some of the sub-indexes can be defined simply in terms of the types of goods and/or services they cover, as in the case of such products as newspapers in some countries and postal services, which have nationally uniform prices. But where price movements do differ or might differ between regions or between outlet types, separate regional and/or outlet-type elementary aggregates are ideally required for each detailed category of goods and services, each with its own weight. An example might be an elementary aggregate for sliced bread sold in supermarkets in the Northern region.
  • 46. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Most elementary aggregate indexes are necessarily 'unweighted' averages for the sample of products within the sampled outlets. However in cases where it is possible to select the sample of outlets from which prices are collected so as to reflect the shares of sales to consumers of the different outlet types covered, self-weighted elementary aggregate indexes may be computed. Similarly, if the market shares of the different types of product represented by product types are known, even only approximately, the number of observed products to be priced for each of them can be made proportional to those shares. Estimating weights The outlet and regional dimensions noted above mean that the estimation of weights involves a lot more than just the breakdown of expenditure by types of goods and services, and the number of separately weighted indexes composing the overall index depends upon two factors: 1. The degree of detail to which available data permit breakdown of total consumption expenditure in the weight reference-period by type of expenditure, region and outlet type. 2. Whether there is reason to believe that price movements vary between these most detailed categories. How the weights are calculated, and in how much detail, depends upon the availability of information and upon the scope of the index. In the UK the RPI does not relate to the whole of consumption, for the reference population is all private households with the exception of a) pensioner households that derive at least three-quarters of their total income from state pensions and benefits and b) “high income households” whose total household income lies within the top four per cent of all households. The result is that it is difficult to use data sources relating to total consumption by all population groups. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 47
  • 47. For products whose price movements can differ between regions and between different types of outlet: The ideal, rarely realizable in practice, would consist of estimates of expenditure for each detailed consumption category, for each type of outlet, for each region. At the opposite extreme, with no regional data on expenditure totals but only on population (e.g. 24% in the Northern region) and only national estimates for the shares of different outlet types for broad categories of consumption (e.g. 70% of food sold in supermarkets) the weight for sliced bread sold in supermarkets in the Northern region has to be estimated as the share of sliced bread in total consumption × 0.24 × 0.7. The nature of the data used for weighting No firm rules can be suggested on this issue for the simple reason that the available statistical sources differ between countries. However, all countries conduct periodical Household Expenditure surveys and all produce breakdowns of Consumption Expenditure in their National Accounts. The expenditure classifications used there may however be different. In particular: Household Expenditure surveys do not cover the expenditures of foreign visitors, though these may be within the scope of a Consumer Price Index. National Accounts include imputed rents for owner-occupied dwellings which may not be within the scope of a Consumer Price Index. Even with the necessary adjustments, the National Account estimates and Household Expenditure Surveys usually diverge. The statistical sources required for regional and outlet-type breakdowns are usually weaker. Only a large-sample Household Expenditure survey can provide a regional breakdown. Regional population data are sometimes used for this purpose, but need adjustment to allow for regional differences in living standards and consumption
  • 48. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE patterns. Statistics of retail sales and market research reports can provide information for estimating outlet-type breakdowns, but the classifications they use rarely correspond to COICOP categories. The increasingly widespread use of bar codes and scanners in shops has meant that detailed cash register printed receipts are provided by shops for an increasing share of retail purchases. This development makes possible improved Household Expenditure surveys, as Statistics Iceland has demonstrated. Survey respondents keeping a diary of their purchases need to record only the total of purchases when itemized receipts were given to them and keep these receipts in a special pocket in the diary. These receipts provide not only a detailed breakdown of purchases but also the name of the outlet. Thus response burden is markedly reduced, accuracy is increased, and product description is more specific and point of purchase data are obtained, facilitating the estimation of outlet-type weights. There are only two general principles for the estimation of weights: use all the available information and accept that rough estimates are better than no estimates. Reweighing Ideally, in computing an index, the weights would represent current annual expenditure patterns. In practice they necessarily reflect past expenditure patterns, using the most recent data available or, if they are not of high quality, some average of the data for more than one previous year. Some countries have used a three-year average in recognition of the fact that household survey estimates are of poor quality. In some cases some of the data sources used may not be available annually, in which case some of the weights for lower level aggregates within higher level aggregates are based on older data than the higher level weights. Infrequent reweighing saves costs for the national statistical office but delays the introduction into the index of new types of expenditure. For example, subscriptions for AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 49
  • 49. Internet Service entered index compilation with a considerable time lag in some countries, and account could be taken of digital camera prices between re-weightings Only by including some digital cameras in the same elementary aggregate as film cameras. Other widely used price indices for calculating price inflation include the following: Cost-of-living indices (COLI) are indices similar to the CPI which are often used to adjust fixed incomes and contractual incomes to maintain the real value of those incomes. Producer price indices (PPIs) which measures average changes in prices received by domestic producers for their output. This differs from the CPI in that price subsidization, profits, and taxes may cause the amount received by the producer to differ from what the consumer paid. There is also typically a delay between an increase in the PPI and any eventual increase in the CPI. Producer price index measures the pressure being put on producers by the costs of their raw materials. This could be quot;passed onquot; to consumers, or it could be absorbed by profits, or offset by increasing productivity. In India and the United States, an earlier version of the PPI was called the Wholesale Price Index. Core price indices: because food and oil prices can change quickly due to changes in supply and demand conditions in the food and oil markets, it can be difficult to detect the long run trend in price levels when those prices are included. Therefore most statistical agencies also report a measure of 'core inflation', which removes the most volatile components (such as food and oil) from a broad price index like the CPI. Because core inflation is less affected by short run supply and demand conditions in specific markets, central banks rely on it to better measure the inflationary impact of
  • 50. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE current monetary policy. SCRIPT FOR INFLATION VIDEO & BACKGROUND AUDIO MUSIC Definition of Inflation We often complain about prices that are going up—Gasoline—airline tickets—medical costs…These are individual prices. Economists are also concerned about the general level of prices increasing. When inflation occurs, a dollar of your income will purchase fewer goods and services than it used to. Or, put another way, it takes the average American more money to purchase the same amount of goods and services. Calculation of the Consumer Price Index: Audio: The best-known measure of inflation in the US is the CPI—or consumer price index. Compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 51
  • 51. is a statistical measure of changes in prices of goods and services bought by urban families. This index is often called the ‘cost of living index’ and is used the government to adjust Social Security benefits, by labor unions to adjust wages. Each month the BLS checks the prices of some 300 goods and services typically purchased by American consumers. The changes in the average prices of these goods are related to their price in a ‘base year’. The base year is the period we are comparing to, and at the moment we are using 1982-84 as that base period. So the CPI for 1982-84=100. CPI= Current prices of the market basket of goods x 100 price of the same basket in base year So—as you can see, if the current year and the base year are the same, then the CPI in the base year is always equal to 100. If the index is higher than 100, it means that prices are higher than in the base year, if the index is under 100—it means that prices are less. Calculation of Inflation Rate a. Percentage Change in Inflation Rate To calculate the rate of inflation or percentage change in prices: Subtract the CPI in the base year from the current year and divide by the base year, then multiply by 100. For example: If the CPI in 2001=177.1 2002=179.9
  • 52. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Then the % Change in the price level is calculated by: (179.9-177.1)/177.1 x 100 2.8/177.1 x 100 or .0158 x 100 =1.58% increase in prices from 2001 to 2002 Rule of 70 This is an easy way to find the number of years it will take for prices to double: Divide 70 by the annual rate of inflation. For example, if the annual inflation rate is 2 percent then divide 70 by 2 and it will take approximately 35 years for prices to double. However if the inflation rate is 4 it will take………………… (Pause) that’s right…prices will double in only 17 and half years. Types of Inflation While inflation is the rate of increase in average prices, it is important to understand some of the causes of inflation. Economists are concerned about two primary causes, Demand-Pull and Cost-Push. Demand-Pull: Demand-pull inflation occurs when households, businesses, governments, and net foreign trade spending is going up faster than the ability of the economy to produce these goods and services. Sometimes you will hear this expressed as ‘too many dollars chasing too few goods’. If resources are already employed at (or near) capacity, more demand simply AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 53
  • 53. leads to higher prices –Sort of like going to an auction where there is only one item and lots of people are bidding on it. This can also be caused by the Central bank (The FED) increasing the money supply more rapidly than the output of goods and services. Cost Push Inflation Three Stages of inflation related to GDP major unemployment intermediate full employment Cost-Push: Prices sometimes increase because wages and raw material costs go up. This is described as ‘cost push inflation and occurs on the supply side. Cost-push inflation is the result of rising per unit production costs that ‘push’ prices up. For example, auto workers get a pay increase but don’t produce more cars, so the per unit production costs of automobiles goes up and this puts a squeeze on profit margins, so the automobile companies are willing to provide the automobiles but only at a higher price. The major source of cost-push inflation is Supply Shocks Supply shocks are abrupt increases in the costs of important raw materials. For example, in 1973-74 when OPEC rapidly increased oil prices —the effects were felt throughout the American economy—rising fuel costs
  • 54. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE for workers going to and from work, goods being transported, and even the energy used to produce electricity and petroleum related goods. Redistributive Effects of Inflation Increasing prices affect some people more than others. Some are even helped by rising prices—but no matter which, all of us will have some redistribution of our income and changes in our buying behaviors when prices go up. Economic and Social Costs of Inflation Visual: Real Value=(Nominal nominal vs. real income Value)/(Price Index/ 100) Nominal income is the income we receive when we cash our paychecks. Nominal values are not comparable over time because of changes in the price level. So we calculate ‘real’ values by adjusting for changes in the average level of prices. Another way of looking at this shows us how much a person’s real income is affected by price changes: Percentage change in real income=percentage change in nominal-percentage change in price level. For example, if you get a 3 percent pay increase while prices go up by 5 percent, your ‘real’ income has….. (Pause) gone down by 2 percent!!! INFLATION REDISTRIBUTES INCOME: AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 55
  • 55. Those people who live on a fixed income (income that doesn’t change) are hurt by inflation. Many retirees, who planned their retirement based on prices from yesteryear, find that they do not have the purchasing power they used to. Minimum wage workers, unable to get pay increases because of their lack of skills find that their ‘fixed’ paychecks buy less as prices rise. Likewise people who save money find that their money is less valuable in the future. One measure is: The absolute value of their future purchasing power declines when the inflation rate exceeds the interest rate. Creditors are also hurt. If you loan $1000 to your friend Mary to be paid back in five years (no interest, right?) and there is inflation over that five years, you will be paid back in ‘cheaper’ dollars—that is the future value of your $1000 will buy less than it does today. WHO IS Unaffected or HELPED? Remember Mary, when she pays back your $1000 5 years later, she is really paying back in dollars with less purchasing power, so as a debtor she is better off because of inflation. Those American families who purchased housing many years ago with a 30-year mortgage are paying back in ‘cheaper’ dollars. Some workers have a cost of living adjustment, or ‘COLA’ clause in their contract—and when there is 3 percent inflation, their nominal wages go up by the same amount, thus negating the effects of a price increase. Another major group of income recipients with a cost of living adjustment is
  • 56. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Social Security recipients. Anticipated Inflation Today, many lenders are aware of the impact of inflation on their real return, so anticipating inflation, they build it into their interest rates, thus: The real interest rate=nominal – inflation rate. Discussion of major U.S. inflationary periods 1960-present Although for the most of the last half of the century, inflation was low—in the US we did suffer from major inflationary pressures during the decade of the 1970s when prices rose as much as 11% in 1974 and 13.5% in 1980. In the decade from 1972 to 1982 prices in the US increased by over 130 percent!! Define hyperinflation and discuss its impact on real output using historical international example (Germany 1920s) When inflation is extremely rapid we refer to ‘hyperinflation’ and the impact can be devastating! Such was the case in Germany in the 1920s where the price level went up by 1380 percent 1923. Some examples of this ‘hyperinflation’ can be seen in changes in such everyday items as milk and bread. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 57
  • 57. Hyperinflation in Germany Item Price in Marks Aug 1923 Sept 23 Nov 23 Liter milk 38,000 8,400,000 350,000,000,000 1b butter 900,000 100,000,000 loaf bread 90,000 27,000,000 bacon 950,000 130,000,000 By November 1923 the dollar stood at 65,000,000,000 as compared to only 64 marks 30 months earlier!!! International Impact of Inflation: Remember that what happens in our country or in countries with whom we trade, it will have an effect on our economy. For example, when there is high inflation in the US, it means that our goods are more expensive for foreigners and therefore sale of many of our exports fall, fewer foreigners visit our country, and there is downward pressure on our GDP.
  • 58. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Inflation Measures in India WPI in India is used extensively for short term policy intervention because it is the only index that is available on a weekly basis with a two weeks’ lag. In principle, inflation requires to be managed with respect to changes in prices of final goods or consumer prices. A number of consumer price indices like Consumer Price index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW), for Agricultural Laborers (CPI-AL), and for Urban Non-Manual Employees (CPI-UNME) are compiled on a monthly basis. The Labor Bureau of Government of India prepares the CPI-IW. It attempts to measure changes in the retail prices of fixed baskets of goods and services being consumed by the target group (namely the average working class family). Based on the Income and AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 59
  • 59. Expenditure survey by NSSO in 78 selected centers, this index is constructed on a monthly basis. The weighting diagram for this index has been constructed on the basis of average monthly family expenditures on consumption groups: food, Pan, Supari and Tobacco, fuel and light, housing, cloth, bedding and miscellaneous (including medical care, education, recreation, transport, communication etc.). This index is also used for determining the dearness allowances to be paid to Central and State Government employees and to industrial workers besides fixation and revision of minimum wages to scheduled employments. The coverage of CPI-IW is broader than that for CPI-AL and for CPI-UNME. The CPI-AL and CPI-UNME are designed for specific groups of population with the main objective of measuring the impact of increase in prices on rural and urban poverty. The CPI-IW captures to some extent the price increase in the service sector. One comprehensive alternative measure for inflation comes from the implicit price deflator of GDP. This is an annual series, which is available with a lag of two years. More recently, the quarterly series of GDP have become available but from time to time data revisions compromise its usability for inflation-related price interventions. For these reasons, the WPI continues to be used extensively for measuring inflation and for related policy interventions. This can however be justified only if it is a reliable predictor of the CPI inflation. We need to verify empirically whether the WPI inflation is a good predictor of CPI inflation.
  • 60. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE India Inflation Rate in last year India Inflation Rate chart, historical data, forecast and news. Inflation rate refers to a general rise in prices measured against a standard level of purchasing power. The most well known measures of Inflation are the CPI which measures consumer prices, and the GDP deflator, which measures inflation in the whole of the domestic economy. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 61
  • 61. Dec Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov 5.51 2008 4.84 5.23 6.02 7.81 5.07 2007 7.36 7.81 7.56 7.74 6.79 6.08 6.86 6.41 5.74 5.48 5.10 6.94 2006 5.00 4.80 5.00 4.97 5.84 6.47 5.71 6.14 7.02 7.17 6.70 Variation in Annual Inflation since last year Inflation, as measured by year-on-year variations in the wholesale price index (WPI), fell by more than half from its intra-year peak of 12.91 per cent on August 2, 2008 to 5.60 per cent by January 10, 2009. While prices of primary articles and manufactured
  • 62. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE products increased, fuel prices declined. In terms of relative contribution to decelerating headline inflation between August 2, 2008 and January 10, 2009, petroleum and basic metals (combined weight of 13.2 per cent in WPI) together accounted for 79.4 per cent, followed by ‘oilseeds, edible oils & oil cakes’ (16.4 per cent). Clearly, the fall in commodity prices reflecting global trends has been the key driver of the sharp fall in WPI inflation although effective management of domestic demand too has contributed to this moderation. Table: Annual Inflation Rate (%) January 12, 2008January 10, 2009 Wholesale Price Index (WPI) (y-o-y) (y-o-y) 5.60 WPI - All Commodities 4.36 11.64 WPI - Primary Articles 4.49 -1.32 WPI - Fuel Group 3.69 5.90 WPI - Manufactured Products 4.57 7.53 WPI - Excluding Fuel 4.55 6.52 WPI - Excluding Food and Fuel 5.21 2007December 2008 Consumer Price Index (CPI) December (y-o-y) (y-o-y) 10.45 1. CPI for Industrial Workers* 5.51 11.14 2. CPI for Agricultural Laborers 5.90 11.14 3. CPI for Rural Laborers 5.63 10.79 4. CPI for Urban Non-Manual Employees* 5.06 On the other hand, inflation based on various consumer price indices (CPIs) is still in AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 63
  • 63. double digits due to the firm trend in prices of food articles and the higher weight of food articles in measures of consumer price inflation. As the decline in input prices percolates over time to the prices of manufactured and other products, consumer price inflation too is expected to soften in the months ahead. For its overall assessment of inflation outlook for policy purposes, the Reserve Bank continues to monitor the full array of price indicators.
  • 64. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Early warnings Seasonally adjusted data is well suited for short term forecasting. For this, a variety of econometric models can be applied to the seasonally adjusted data. In order to obtain greater intuition into the usefulness of seasonal adjustment, we merely examine the data looking for large values. The 6% threshold for a `high inflation episode' works out to the 60th percentile of the data. The 60th percentile of the POP SA WPI inflation works out to an annualized value of 6.65%. Hence, we done a high inflation episode as year-on-year inflation exceeding 6% and consider the consequences of putting out an early warning when the POP SA inflation exceeds 6.65%. In the following tables, these `high inflation episode' or `warning' values are shown in boldface. In order to obtain estimates of the real interest rate at the short-end of the yield, forward- looking estimates of inflation are required. In this, we seek to adjust the nominal rate for the 90 day maturity using inflation forecasts for a 90 day horizon. To achieve this, the POP SA data is used to make forecasts, for the coming three months. At each month, information available till that month is used to estimate the AR model, and to make forecasts for POP SA inflation over the coming three months using this model. The average of these three forecasts is used to convert the nominal short-term interest rate into the short-term real rate. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 65
  • 65. Example: the high inflation episode of 1994-95 A large POP SA change took place in April 1994. This may be partly related to statistical measurement issues of WPI. At this time, the 90 day interest rate in the economy was 7.36%. In the following two months, POP SA Inflation showed large values of 7.17% and 16.78%. Large values for POP SA inflation are visible till May 1995. In this period, monetary policy was; the short-term rate became negative in real terms. The short-term rate was negative in real terms all the way till January 1995. From June 1995 onwards, POP SA inflation dropped sharply. However, large values for YOY inflation continued to be recorded, since YOY inflation is the average of the last 12 values for POP inflation. Monetary policy tightening is visible right from the start. The real rate, which was negative, started rising. In June 1995, when POP SA inflation had started easing, the real rate was +2.21%. The short term rate stayed above 2% in real terms till August 1996. Over this period, YOY WPI inflation ebbed away. However, when judged by POP SA data, WPI inflation had subsided 14 months earlier, by June 1995. Examining POP SA data does not substantially alter the date at which the tightening began. However, POP SA inflation had subsided by June 1995, which suggests that the easing could have begun earlier and progressed faster. In this period, the use of POP SA data would have given a useful early warning that inflation had subsided. Example: the high inflation episode of 2007 Going by the year-on-year series, the high inflation episode erupted in January 2007 and ended in April 2007. The POP SA data, however, shows a very divergent picture. It shows that the high inflation episode began in May 2006: an early warning of 8 months.
  • 66. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE POP SA inflation was high in the period from May 2006 till October 2006: over this period, inflation averaged 7.81%. The inflationary pressures subsided by October 2006, before the high inflation episode had even showed up in the year-on-year data. To the extent that policy responses took place after October 2006, they were possibly in the wrong direction. In the critical period from May 2006 to October 2006, when there was high inflation, monetary policy was expansionary. Monetary policy tightening is visible much later. The real rate went up from -0.55% in September 2006 to 3.35% in June 2007. Inflation had subsided before the tightening began. Example: the high inflation episode of 2008 From December 2007 onwards, inflation pressures were visible in the POP SA data. They burst into the public consciousness in March 2008, with reports of high YOY WPI inflation. The use of POP SA data would have given an early warning by three months. A high rate of POP SA inflation is visible all the way to the latest data for July 2008. The future evolution of this high inflation episode is as yet unclear. The short term real interest rate was at 2.59% in November 2007, the last month prior to large inflation shocks. This plunged to -4.50% in March 2008. At a time of positive inflationary shocks, monetary policy was expansionary. Real rates remain very low when compared with those required to rein inflation. The last observation of the real rate, -0.88% in July 2008, remained much below the level of +2.59% in November 2007, before this inflationary episode began. This suggests that until July 2008, monetary policy tightening aiming to combat inflation has not taken place. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 67
  • 67. Looking forward into the high inflation episode of 2008 How might inflation play out in coming months? The key issue that is of importance is inflation persistence. If economic agents build inflationary expectations into their decisions, this will lead to persistence of inflation. The WPI fuel and WPI primary have substantial external and policy influences. It is WPI manufacturing which is primarily influenced by the behavior of the private sector. It shows strong positive autocorrelations in the early months. This shows the extent of inflation persistence which is now found in India. Through this inflation persistence, the recent shocks to POP SA WPI manufacturing are likely to be correlated with further above-trend values in coming months. There were large shocks to WPI Primary from December 2007 to March 2008. WPI Fuel had large shocks in many of the months also. WPI Manufacturing shows high inflation for almost all the months shown. The key question that arises after the March shock is that of inflation persistence. To the extent that economic agents are placed in a well structured monetary policy framework, their inflation expectations get anchored. A large shock like the March shock then does not generate further reverberations. In the Indian setting, inflation persistence did arise: with WPI Manufacturing inflation of 13.8% in April, 10.04% in May, 12.7% on June and 11.15% in July. The simplest notion of forecasting is that of undertaking uni-variate time series forecasting using ARMA models of the POP SA series. These models have no economic content; they do not react the impact of economic considerations such as the expansionary stance of
  • 68. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE monetary policy with negative real rates, the coming fuel price rises or the inflationary impact of the recent rupee depreciation. Given the greater inflation persistence in WPI manufacturing, the recent positive shocks to WPI manufacturing are projected to induce positive shocks in the coming six months of data. In the case of the overall WPI, there is a faster convergence to the long-term mean, given lower persistence. Figures restate these forecasts for the POP SA series into point estimates for the forecasted levels of the two price indexes. Figure 7 and Figure 8 restate these point estimates into the familiar year- on-year inflation estimates which are widely used in India. This suggests that WPI inflation may worsen towards the end of the year before declining. However, even by June 2009, YOY WPI inflation may continue to be in the region of 8%. It should be emphasized that these forecasts have no economic content. They do not relate economic policy issues such as expansionary monetary policy with negative real rates, the inflationary impact of the recent currency depreciation, the impending price rises of petroleum products, etc. They merely project the POP SA series for WPI and WPI manufacturing into the future using ARMA models; they efficiently utilize the autocorrelation structure of these series for the purpose of forecasting. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 69
  • 69. Assuming the rate of cost inflation index is same as in the past 25 years, a bar chart has been developed for the financial years from 2005-06 to 2030-31 taking the index figure of year 1981-82 as the base for the year 2005-06 which reflects “How the inflation robs the purchase power of a person?”.
  • 70. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Assuming the rate of inflation is same as in the past 25 years 7.00 Cost Inflation Index Converted 6.00 6.00 5.00 to Rs. in Lakhs 4.26 4.00 3.05 3.00 1.99 2.00 1.40 1.00 1.00 0.00 2005-06 2010-11 2015-16 2020-21 2025-26 2030-31 Financial Year How inflation eats up the money? Inflation is an economic concept... What is important to us is the effect of inflation! The effect of inflation is the prices of everything going up over the years. A movie ticket was for a few paisas in my dad’s time. Now it is worth Rs.150. My dad’s first salary for the month was Rs.400 and over the years it has now become Rs.20, 000. This is what inflation is, the price of everything goes up. Because the price goes up, the salaries go up? If we really thing about it, inflation makes the worth of money reduce. What you could buy in my dad’s time for Rs.10, now a days you will not be able to buy for Rs.500 also. The worth of money has reduced! If this is still not clear consider this, when my father was a kid, he used to get 50paise pocket money. He used to use this money to go and watch a movie (At that time we could watch a movie for50paise!) Now, just for the sake of understanding assume that my dad decided in his childhood to AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 71
  • 71. save 50paise thinking, that one day when he becomes big, he will go for a movie. Many years pass. My dad goes to the theater and asks for a ticket. He offers the ticket-booth- guy at the theater 50paise and asks for a ticket. The ticket booth guy says, “I am sorry sir, the ticket is worth Rs.50. You will not be able to even buy a “paan” with the 50paise!!” The moral of the story is that, the worth of the 50paise reduced dramatically. 50paise could buy a whole lot when my dad was a kid. Now, 50paise can buy nothing. This is inflation. This tells us two important things: Firstly: Do not keep your money stagnant. If you just save money by putting it your safe it will loose value over time. If you have Rs.1000 in your safe today and you keep it there for 10years or so, it will be worth a lot less after 10 years. If you can buy something for Rs.1000 today, you will probably require Rs.1500 to buy it 10 years from now. So do not keep money locked up in your safe. Always invest money. If you can’t think where to invest your money, then put it in a bank. Let it grow by gaining interest. But whatever you do, do not just lock your money up in your safe and keep it stagnant. If you do this, you will be loosing money without even knowing it. The more money you keep stagnant the more money you will be loosing. Secondly: When investing, you have to make sure that the rate of return on your investment is higher than the rate of inflation. What is the rate of inflation? As we said earlier, the price of everything goes up over time and this phenomenon is called inflation. The question is: By how much do the prices go up? At what rate do the prices go up?
  • 72. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE The rate at which the prices of everything go up is called the quot;rate of inflationquot;. For example, if the price of something is Rs.100 this year and next year the price becomes approximately Rs.104 then the rate of inflation is 4%. If the price of something is Rs.80 then after a year with a rate of inflation of 4% the price go up to (80 x 1.04) = 83.2 So, when you make an investment, make sure that your rate of return on the investment is higher than the rate of inflation in your country. In our county India, for the year 2005-2006 the rate of inflation was 4% (Which is really low and amazing!). This rate keeps changing every year. The finance minister generally gives the official statement on the inflation rate of the country for a particular year. What is the rate of return? The rate of return is how much you make on an investment. Suppose you invest Rs.100 in the market and over a year, you make Rs.120, then you rate of return is 20%. If you invest Rs.100 in the market today and you make money at a 3% quot;rate of returnquot; in one year you will have Rs.103. But now, since the rate of inflation is at 4%, an item costing Rs.100 today will cost Rs.104 a year from now. So what you can buy with today’s Rs.100, you will only be able to buy with Rs.104 a year from now. But the Rs.100 that you invested has grown only at a 3% rate of return and so it is worth Rs.103.In effect you are loosing your money So in conclusion, the rate of return on your investments, have to be higher than the inflation. HOW INFLATION DISTORTING THE INVESTMENT DECISIONS TOWARDS INSURANCE? To understand the impact of inflation on the consumer perception towards insurance, it is firstly very important to understand how the inflation distorting the investment decision of the consumer and consumption pattern of the consumer. Insurance is one of the most important saving and investment option for the consumer. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 73
  • 73. For world economic markets, inflation is a fairly new experience as for much of the pre- twentieth century there had been little upward pressure on prices due to gold and other metallic standards. These backed currencies limited governments’ abilities to create new money. So at the end of the gold standard strong political pressures often caused governments to issue more money increasing the money supply and therefore the price level. Inflation reflects a situation where the demand for goods and services exceeds their supply in the economy (Hall, 1982). Its causes could be triggered by the private sector and the government spending more than their revenues, or by shortfalls in output. Price increases could also be triggered by increases in costs of production. For instance increases in prices of imported raw materials will cause inflation if not managed. Whatever the initial cause, inflation will not persist unless accompanied by sustained increase in money supply. In this sense, inflation is a monetary phenomenon. But what effect does inflation have on the economy and on investment in particular? Inflation causes many distortions in the economy. It hurts people who are retired and living on a fixed income. When prices rise these consumers cannot buy as much as they could previously. This discourages savings due to the fact that the money is worth more presently than in the future. This expectation reduces economic growth because the economy needs a certain level of savings to finance investments which boosts economic growth. Also, inflation makes it harder for businesses to plan for the future. It is very difficult to decide how much to produce, because businesses cannot predict the demand for their product at the higher prices they will have to charge in order to cover their costs. High inflation not only disrupts the operation of a nation's financial institutions and markets, it also discourages their integration with the rest of the worlds markets. Inflation causes uncertainty about future prices, interest rates, and exchange rates, and this in turn increases the risks among potential trade partners, discouraging trade. As far as commercial banking is concerned, it erodes the value of the depositor's savings as well as that of the bank's loans. The uncertainty associated with inflation increases the
  • 74. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE risk associated with the investment and production activity of firms and markets The impact inflation has on a portfolio depends on the type of securities held there. Investing only in stocks one may not have to worry about inflation. In the long run, a company’s revenue and earnings should increase at the same pace as inflation. But inflation can discourage investors by reducing their confidence in investments that take a long time to mature. The main problem with stocks and inflation is that a company's returns can be overstated. When there is high inflation, a company may look like it's doing a great job, when really inflation is the reason behind the growth. In addition to this, when analyzing the earnings of a firm, inflation can be problematic depending on what technique the company are uses to value its inventory The effect of inflation on investment occurs directly and indirectly. Inflation increases transactions and information costs, which directly inhibits economic development. For example, when inflation makes nominal values uncertain, investment planning becomes difficult. Individuals may be reluctant to enter into contracts when inflation cannot be predicted making relative prices uncertain. This reluctance to enter into contracts over time will inhibit investment which will affect economic growth. In this case inflation will inhibit investment and could result in financial recession. In an inflationary environment intermediaries will be less eager to provide long-term financing for capital formation and growth. Both lenders and borrowers will also be less willing to enter long-term contracts. High inflation is often associated with financial repression as governments take actions to protect certain sectors of the economy. For example, interest rate ceilings are common in high inflation environments. Such controls lead to inefficient allocations of capital that inhibit economic growth (Morley, 1971). The hardest hit from inflation falls on the fixed-income investors. For example, suppose one year ago an investor buys a $1,000 T-bill that yields 10%. When they collect the $1,100 owed to them, is their $100 (10%) return real? No, assuming inflation was positive for the year; the purchasing power of the investor has fallen and thus so has the AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 75
  • 75. real return. The amount inflation has taken out of the return has to be taken into account. If inflation was 4%, then the return is really 6%. By the Fisher equation (nominal interest rate – inflation rate = real interest rate) we see the difference between the nominal interest rate and the real interest rate. The nominal interest rate is the growth rate of the investors’ money, while the real interest rate is the growth of their purchasing power. In other words, the real rate of interest is the nominal rate reduced by the rate of inflation. Here the nominal rate is 10% and the real rate is 6% (10% - 4% = 6%). Inflation causes anxiety particularly for retirees who are uneasy about inflation adjustments to their pensions and financial investments. Planning for retirement requires expectations of future prices. Inflation makes this more difficult because even a series of small, unanticipated increases in the general price level can significantly erode the real value of savings over time. Social Security payments are now indexed to inflation, a policy change that has reduced the effects of inflation uncertainty on retirement. There are securities that offer investors the guarantee that returns are not eaten up by inflation. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities are a special type of Treasury note or bond that offers protection from inflation With a regular Treasury bond, interest payments are fixed, and only the principal fluctuates with the movement of interest rates. The yield on a regular bond incorporates investors' expectations for inflation. So at times of low inflation, yields are generally low, and they generally rise when inflation does. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities are like any other Treasury bills, except that the principal and coupon payments are tied to the consumer price index (CPI) and increased to compensate for any inflation. As with other Treasury notes, when you buy an inflation-protected or inflation-indexed security, you receive interest payments every six months and a principal payment when the security matures. The difference is that the coupon payments and underlying
  • 76. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE principal are automatically increased to compensate for inflation by tracking the consumer price index (CPI). Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities are the safest bonds in which to invest. This is because the real rate of return, which represents the growth of purchasing power, is guaranteed. The downside is that because of this safety and the lower risk, inflation-protected bonds offer a lower return. Inflation is the most commonly used economic term in the popular media. quot;Unemploymentquot; ran a distant second. Public concern about inflation generally heats up in step with inflation itself. Though economists do not always agree about when inflation starts to interfere with market signals, the public tends to express serious alarm once the inflation rate rises above 5 or 6 percent. Public opinion polls show minimal concern about rising prices during the early 1960s, as inflation was low. Concern rose with inflation in the late 1960s and early 1970s. When inflation twice surged to double- digit levels in the mid and late 1970s, people named it public enemy number one. Since the late 1980s, public anxiety has abated along with inflation itself. Economists think of inflation more plainly as a quot;sustained rise in the general level of prices.quot; Their concerns focus on questions such as whether inflation distorts economic decisions. Very high inflation adversely impacts economic performance, as evidence from cross-country studies shows. Likewise, moderate levels of inflation can distort investment and consumption decisions. Reducing inflation however has costs in lost output and unemployment during the adjustment. Thus, an important question is whether zero percent inflation is sufficiently better for the economy than 2 to 3 percent inflation to warrant the effort of getting there. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 77
  • 77. PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS People are most concerned that inflation may lower their standard of living -- which their incomes will not keep up with the rise in prices. This anxiety is particularly pronounced for retirees, uneasy about inflation adjustments to their pensions and financial investments. To plan for retirement requires forming expectations of prices in the future. Inflation makes this more difficult because even a series of small, unanticipated increases in the general price level can significantly erode the real (adjusted for inflation) value of savings over time. Worry about inflation's costs increases dramatically as individuals near retirement age. Social Security payments are now indexed to inflation, a policy change that has reduced somewhat the effects of inflation uncertainty on retirement. Thus, anxiety now focuses more on savings in long- term maturities such as bonds and on employer pensions which typically are not indexed. Concern about living standards also stems from the widespread belief that inflation pushes up prices before it pushes up wages. Many people understand prices rise because of inflation. But they seem to attribute nominal increases in their wages more to their own accomplishments than to the feedback effect of inflation. To the extent that they acknowledge feedback effects, most people seem to believe in a quot;lagged wage-pricequot; model of the economy. That is, they assume that price increases occur first and wage increases follow, often much later. Many people also dislike inflation because they feel it makes it easier for the government, employers, financial institutions, and others to deceive them. Thus, most of the people would believe that quot;One of the most important things they don't like about inflation is that the confusion caused by price changes enables people to play tricks on them, at their expense.quot; Thus, some employers may quot;forgetquot; to raise their employees' wages as much as inflation thereby giving them a real pay cut.
  • 78. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Inflation creates other opportunities for sophisticated institutions to unfairly take advantage of the average individual, in many people's minds. Inflation can increase the complexity of evaluating financial assets, from CDs and insurance policies to stocks and bonds. This shifts the distribution of power in the financial marketplace to the more sophisticated and knowledgeable actors to the detriment of the average person, in this view. Thus, the government might quot;forgetquot; to change the tax brackets after an inflationary episode, so the average person would end up paying higher taxes. People's immediate concern is with how their incomes hold up with changes in their expenses. Businesses care about how the prices of their products do in relation to their costs. The oil shocks did result in higher inflation. But equally damaging was the relative price change. Oil was used pervasively to fuel machinery and other technology operated by workers; so when the price of oil went up, the productivity of many American workers fell and their real wages shrank. People today may confuse the experiences of the 1970s -- falling wages, gas rationing, and the redistribution of income -- with the effects of any rise in the general price level. Overall, inflation is harmful -- that it lowers standards of living by pushing up prices before wages and pensions, and that it facilitates deceptive behavior. Because inflation may benefit some people, say by its redistribution of wealth from creditors to debtors. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 79
  • 79. DISTORTED BEHAVIOR Economists tend to emphasize that inflation can do economic damage by distorting investment and consumption decisions. Distortions result first from households' and businesses' uncertainty about inflation's future course, and second from inflation's interaction. Inflation's interaction with personal income taxes, for example, can distort decisions about how much income to spend on housing. This interaction plays out with owner- occupied housing, where mortgage interest payments are deductible. Inflation gets built into nominal interest rates; so even a moderate rise in the price level increases this deduction. And housing services, that represent part of the return to housing investment, escape taxation. Moderate to high inflation thus prompts households to spend more on housing than would be optimal in a low-inflation environment. Thus, the real estate boom fueled in part by inflation-induced distortions. High rates of inflation accelerated home buying by increasing the real, after-tax returns to investment in owner-occupied housing relative to alternative investments. A lag in interest rates reinforced this up tick in demand. As house prices in turn began to rise faster than the general price level, people rushed to buy rather than face higher prices later. Distortions in economic activity also may result from the uncertainty that arises about inflation's future course. When inflation is stable, people are more likely to have roughly the same anticipation of its future level. When inflation is highly volatile, however, people have different guesses. Most turn out to be wrong. Inadvertently, some end up winners and others losers. . Thus, when inflation is unanticipated, businesses' relative prices can be distorted either because contracts are set and not renegotiated or because it takes time for firms to distinguish between relative and general price changes. This makes it difficult for businesses to invest in a high inflation environment, where relative prices are variable.
  • 80. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE Firms may misinterpret the ability to raise their product's price as stemming from an increase in demand for their good relative to others, and invest too much. Or they may be less confident that they will earn a return sufficient to pay off debt, and thus may curtail investment. Uncertainty is always present in markets, of course. No one can predict the future. To the extent that inflation even at low levels adds to this general uncertainty, it is costly. IS ZERO THE MAGIC NUMBER? Does the fact that inflation can be costly mean zero inflation is optimal? Many economists and policy makers argue that zero inflation would allow consumers and firms to write simpler contracts and make long-term plans for retirement or future investment with less worry. The debate focuses on two questions: first, whether the costs of getting to zero inflation outweigh the benefits of being there; and second, whether there are significant costs as well as benefits to being at zero inflation. Getting to zero inflation can be costly, involving lost output and higher unemployment during the transition. Some economists argue that the costs of getting to zero may be greater than the benefits of being there. Reducing inflation lowers output and raises unemployment during the adjustment because wages and prices are slow to respond, in this view. Many of those who argue for zero inflation emphasize that little sacrifice in unemployment or lost output is necessary if the central bank makes credible statements about the intended disinflation, and the public believes these declarations and incorporates them into its plans. In his recent book, Macroeconomic Policy in a World Economy, Stanford economist John Taylor argues that the reductions in output necessary to achieve zero inflation are smaller than suggested by traditional models. The problem with traditional estimates, writes Taylor, is their failure to account for the effects of credibility gaps in past disinflations by the Federal Reserve. AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 81
  • 81. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein argues that the costs of a disinflation from 2 percent to zero percent inflation would be far outweighed by the long-term benefits. These arise, Feldstein argues, because even low rates of inflation exacerbate the biases in favor of current consumption and owner-occupied housing created by our tax system. Another argument against zero inflation is the risk of deflation, a drop in the nominal price level, which could be quite costly to the degree that some prices and wages might not easily adjust downward. From the late nineteenth century until World War II, long downward trends in the price level and shorter periods of falling price levels were common in the industrialized world. But they were generally associated with falling output and rising unemployment.
  • 82. IMPACT OF INFLATION ON THE CONSUMER PERCEPTION TOWARDS INSURANCE MONEY AND MORALS The debate among policy makers and economists on inflation's impact at 3 percent versus zero percent is quite vigorous, at present, but no clear consensus has been reached. What the public believes is also unclear. Opinion polls since World War II consistently show that Americans regard inflation as a more serious problem than unemployment. Evidence from a number of public opinion surveys is contradictory, however, on whether the public would be willing, if necessary, to sustain higher levels of unemployment and a loss of output to achieve price stability. What the public believes about inflation matters because such beliefs affect the economy's performance. Once inflation has become embedded in economic behavior, it has been quite difficult to remove its influence. Whether the initial cause is a supply shock, such as the oil crisis in the 1970s, or a demand shock, such as the increased spending on the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, individuals come to expect inflation and incorporate these expectations into their plans. By reinforcing the original change in inflation's level, notes Johns Hopkins economist Laurence Ball, public expectations become one of the chief causes of inflation's persistence in the economy. Letting inflation creep up also threatens to erode public faith in the reliability of political leaders. All the nominal contracts we have today were made possible through trust that the government would not allow massive inflation. Americans' feeling of pride in national institutions depends in part on low inflation or quot;sound moneyquot; as a signal of healthy fiscal and monetary institutions. Finally, inflation can discourage saving and encourage consumption. It thus is perceived as an attack on certain moral virtues -- a strong work ethic, deferred gratification -- that support a healthy economy. John Maynard Keynes made his famous attack on the Victorian virtue of saving -- always quot;jam tomorrow and never jam todayquot; AMITY SCHOOL OF INSURANCE AND ACTUARIAL SCIENCE 83
  • 83. -- for economic reasons. Consumption in a depression or a recession could strengthen the economy, in his view. But British society took Keynes's mockery as an assault on the core of Victorian morality. Many Americans likewise feel that inflation assaults the legacy here of the Protestant work ethic that places a moral premium on saving over consumption. Fighting inflation thus is seen by many as a moral as much as an economic duty. Americans want their public officials to fight inflation to increase long- term output and employment but perhaps also to strengthen society's moral foundation.

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