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Heterogeneous forecasts and aggregate dynamics

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  • Antulio N. Bomfim
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    Abstract

    Motivated by issues raised in both the finance and economics literatures, I construct a dynamic general equilibrium model where agents use differing degrees of sophistication when forecasting future economic conditions. All agents solve standard dynamic optimization problems and face strategic complementarity in production, but some solve their inference problems based on simple forecasting rules of thumb. Assuming a hierarchical information structure similar to the one in Townsend's (1983) model of informationally dispersed markets, I show that even a minority of rule-of-thumb forecasters can have a significant effect on the aggregate properties of the economy. For instance, as agents try to forecast each others' behavior they effectively strengthen the internal propagation mechanism of the economy. The quantitative results are obtained by calibrating the model and running a battery of sensitivity tests on key parameters. The analysis highlights the role of strategic complementarity in the heterogeneous expectations literature and quantifies many qualitative claims about the aggregate implications of expectational heterogeneity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2000-16.

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    Date of creation: 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2000-16

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    Related research

    Keywords: Business cycles ; Econometric models ; Forecasting;

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    1. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-38, August.
    2. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Lyons, Richard K., 1992. "External effects in U.S. procyclical productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 209-225, April.
    3. John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1983. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," UCLA Economics Working Papers 303, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Cogley, Timothy & Nason, James M, 1995. "Output Dynamics in Real-Business-Cycle Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 492-511, June.
    5. Haltiwanger, John C & Waldman, Michael, 1989. "Limited Rationality and Strategic Complements: The Implications for Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 463-83, August.
    6. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 1995. "Are apparent productive spillovers a figment of specification error?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 165-188, August.
    7. Robert G. King, 1995. "Quantitative theory and econometrics," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 53-105.
    8. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Cooper, Russell & Haltiwanger, John, 1996. "Evidence on Macroeconomic Complementarities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 78-93, February.
    10. Arthur, W Brian, 1994. "Inductive Reasoning and Bounded Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 406-11, May.
    11. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
    12. repec:fth:coluec:431 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
    14. Board Raymond, 1994. "Polynomially Bounded Rationality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 246-270, August.
    15. Evans, George W & Ramey, Garey, 1992. "Expectation Calculation and Macroeconomic Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 207-24, March.
    16. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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