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Model uncertainty, robust policies, and the value of commitment

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  • Kenneth Kasa

Abstract

Using results from the literature on H-control, this paper incorporates model uncertainty into Whiteman's (1986) frequency domain approach to stabilization policy. The derived policies guarantee a minimum performance level even in the worst of (a bounded set of) circumstances. ; For a given level of model uncertainty, robust H- policies are shown to be more 'activist' than Whiteman's H- policies in the sense that their impulse responses are larger. Robust policies also tend to be more autocorrelated. Consequently, the premium associated with being able to commit is greater under model uncertainty. Without commitment, the policymaker isn't able to (credibly) smooth his response to the degree that he would like. ; From a technical standpoint, a contribution of this paper is its analysis of robust control in a model featuring a forward-looking state transition equation, which arises from the fact that the private sector bases its decisions on expectations of future government policy. Existing applications of H- control in economics follow the engineering literature, and only consider backward-looking state transition equations. It is the forward-looking nature of the state transition equation that makes a frequency domain approach attractive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 99-14.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:99-14

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Keywords: Econometric models ; Programming (Mathematics);

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References

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  1. Kenneth Kasa, 1994. "Optimal policy with limited commitment," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
  3. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1989. "Sustainable plans and mutual default," Staff Report 124, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  5. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Salmon, Mark, 2002. "Robust Decision Theory And The Lucas Critique," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 167-185, February.
  6. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1989. "Sustainable plans," Staff Report 122, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. William Roberds, 1986. "Models of policy under stochastic replanning," Staff Report 104, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Oliner, Stephen D. & Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Sichel, Daniel, 1996. "The Lucas critique revisited assessing the stability of empirical Euler equations for investment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 291-316, January.
  9. Bennett T. McCallum, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Taylor, John B, 1975. "Monetary Policy during a Transition to Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1009-21, October.
  11. Stokey, Nancy L., 1991. "Credible public policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 627-656, October.
  12. Christopher A. Sims, 1982. "Policy Analysis with Econometric Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 107-164.
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Cited by:
  1. Kenneth Kasa, 2000. "A robust Hansen-Sargent prediction formula," Working Paper Series 2000-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Richard Dennis, 2013. "Imperfect Credibility and Robust Monetary Policy," Working Papers 2013_14, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  3. Yulei Luo & Jun Nie & Eric R. Young, 2012. "Model uncertainty and intertemporal tax smoothing," Research Working Paper RWP 12-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  4. Martin Ellison & Thomas J. Sargent, 2009. "A defence of the FOMC," Economics Series Working Papers 457, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    • Martin Ellison & Thomas J. Sargent, 2012. "A Defense Of The Fomc," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1047-1065, November.
  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. 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.
  7. Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen, 2000. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Marc Giannoni, 2006. "Robust Optimal Policy in a Forward-Looking Model with Parameter and Shock Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 11942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hansen, Lars Peter & Mayer, Ricardo & Sargent, Thomas, 2010. "Robust hidden Markov LQG problems," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1951-1966, October.

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