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Anticipated Utility And Rational Expectations As Approximations Of Bayesian Decision Making

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  • Timothy Cogley
  • Thomas J. Sargent

Abstract

We study a Markov decision problem with unknown transition probabilities. We compute the exact Bayesian decision rule and compare it with two approximations. The first is an infinite-history, rational-expectations approximation that assumes that the decision maker knows the transition probabilities. The second is a version of Kreps' anticipated-utility model in which decision makers update using Bayes' law but optimize in a way that is myopic with respect to their updating of probabilities. For several consumption-smoothing examples, the anticipated-utility approximation outperforms the rational expectations approximation. The rational expectations approximation misrepresents the market price of risk. Copyright 2008 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 49 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 185-221

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:49:y:2008:i:1:p:185-221

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  1. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "An exploration of the effects of pessimism and doubt on asset returns," Working Papers 01-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Measures of Fit for Calibrated Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of security market data for models of dynamic economies," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 29, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Cogley, Timothy W. & Morozov, Sergei & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Bayesian fan charts for UK inflation: Forecasting and sources of uncertainty in an evolving monetary system," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/44, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  5. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  6. Pok-sang Lam & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Nelson C. Mark, 2000. "Asset Pricing with Distorted Beliefs: Are Equity Returns Too Good to Be True?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 787-805, September.
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