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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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  1. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1993. "Sustainable Plans and Mutual Default," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 175-95, January.
  2. Kenneth Kasa, 1994. "Optimal policy with limited commitment," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. V. V. Chari & Patrick J Kehoe, 1998. "Sustainable Plans," Levine's Working Paper Archive 600, David K. Levine.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. McCallum, Bennett T, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central-Bank Independence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 207-11, May.
  7. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  8. Stokey, Nancy L., 1991. "Credible public policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 627-656, October.
  9. William Roberds, 1986. "Models of policy under stochastic replanning," Staff Report 104, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Salmon, Mark, 2002. "Robust Decision Theory And The Lucas Critique," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 167-185, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Luo, Yulei & Nie, Jun & Young, Eric, 2014. "Model Uncertainty and Intertemporal Tax Smoothing," MPRA Paper 54268, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Dennis, Richard, 2014. "Imperfect credibility and robust monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 218-234.
  3. Kasa, Kenneth, 2001. "A robust Hansen-Sargent prediction formula," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 43-48, April.
  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. 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.
  6. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2004. "Local robustness analysis : theory and application," Working papers 22, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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