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Regime Switching, Learning, and the Great Moderation

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  • James Murray

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    (Indiana University Bloomington)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the "bad luck" explanation for changing volatility in U.S. inflation and output when agents do not have rational expectations, but instead form expectations through least squares learning with an endogenously changing learning gain. It has been suggested that this type of endogenously changing learning mechanism can create periods of excess volatility without the need for changes in the variance of the underlying shocks. Bad luck is modeled into a standard New Keynesian model by augmenting it with two states that evolve according to a Markov chain, where one state is characterized by large variances for structural shocks, and the other state has relatively smaller variances. To assess whether learning can explain the Great Moderation, the New Keynesian model with volatility regime switching and dynamic gain learning is estimated by maximum likelihood. The results show that learning does lead to lower variances for the shocks in the volatile regime, but changes in regime is still significant in differences in volatility from the 1970s and after the 1980s.

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    File URL: http://www.iub.edu/~caepr/RePEc/PDF/2008/CAEPR2008-011.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington in its series Caepr Working Papers with number 2008-011.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:inu:caeprp:2008-011

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    Related research

    Keywords: Learning; regime switching; great moderation; New Keynesian model; maximum likelihood;

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    1. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2004. "Comparing Shocks and Frictions in US and Euro Area Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 4750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    3. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
    4. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
    5. 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.
    6. Bruce Preston, 2003. "Learning about monetary policy rules when long-horizon expectations matter," Working Paper 2003-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    7. Albert Marcet & Juan P. Nicolini, 1995. "Recurrent hyperinflations and learning," Economics Working Papers 244, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2001.
    8. James Murray, 2008. "Empirical Significance of Learning in a New Keynesian Model with Firm-Specific Capital," Caepr Working Papers 2007-027, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    9. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Raf Wouters & Sergey Slobodyan, 2007. "Learning dynamics in an estimated medium-sized DSGE model," 2007 Meeting Papers 689, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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