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Elements of a Theory of Design Limits to Optimal Policy

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  • William A. Brock
  • Steven N. Durlauf

Abstract

This paper presents a framework for understanding the limits that exist in optimal policy design in dynamic contexts. We consider the design of policies in the context of dynamic linear models. Fundamental design limits exist for policy rules in such environments in the sense that any policy rule embodies tradeoffs between the magnitudes of different frequency-specific components of the variance. Hence policies that are effective in eliminating low frequency variance components of a state variable can only do so at the cost of exacerbating high frequency variance components, and vice versa. Examples of the implications of such tradeoffs are considered. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester, 2004.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Manchester in its journal The Manchester School.

Volume (Year): 72 (2004)
Issue (Month): s1 (09)
Pages: 1-18

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Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:72:y:2004:i:s1:p:1-18

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References

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  1. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2003. "Modeling Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 9566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Otrok, Christopher & Ravikumar, B. & Whiteman, Charles H., 2002. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1261-1288, September.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, May.
  5. Alexei Onatski & James H. Stock, 1999. "Robust monetary policy under model uncertainty in a small model of the U.S. economy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 111-144, February.
  7. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & Kenneth D. West, 2003. "Policy Evaluation in Uncertain Economic Environments," NBER Working Papers 10025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert B. Barsky & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 2688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Christopher A. Sims, 2001. "Pitfalls of a Minimax Approach to Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 51-54, May.
  10. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:111-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  12. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Robust control of forward-looking models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-604, April.
  13. J. Tetlow, Robert & von zur Muehlen, Peter, 2001. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: Does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 911-949, June.
  14. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Salmon, Mark, 2002. "Robust Decision Theory And The Lucas Critique," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 167-185, February.
  15. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
  16. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "Spectral Welfare Cost Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 345-67, May.
  17. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:167-85 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & West, Kenneth D., 2007. "Model uncertainty and policy evaluation: Some theory and empirics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 629-664, February.
  2. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2004. "Macroeconomics and model uncertainty," Working papers 20, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Beatrice Pataracchia, 2008. "Design Limits in Regime-Switching Cases," Department of Economics University of Siena 529, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  4. Anastasios Xepapadeas & Giannis Vardas, 2004. "Uncertainty Aversion, Robust Control and Asset Holdings," Working Papers 2004.66, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2005. "Local robustness analysis: Theory and application," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 2067-2092, November.
  6. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & James M. Nason & Giacomo Rondina, 2007. "Simple versus optimal rules as guides to policy," Working Paper 2007-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. Yu, Xiangrong, 2013. "Measurement error and policy evaluation in the frequency domain," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 307-329.
  8. Giannis Vardas & Anastasios Xepapadeas, 2004. "Uncertainty Aversion and Robust Portfolio Choices," Working Papers 0408, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
  9. Pataracchia, Beatrice, 2011. "The spectral representation of Markov switching ARMA models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 11-15, July.
  10. Travaglini, Guido, 2007. "The U.S. Dynamic Taylor Rule With Multiple Breaks, 1984-2001," MPRA Paper 3419, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Jun 2007.
  11. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & Rondina, Giacomo, 2013. "Design limits and dynamic policy analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2710-2728.

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