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Ambiguous Business Cycles

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  • Cosmin Ilut
  • Martin Schneider

Abstract

This paper considers business cycle models with agents who dislike both risk and ambiguity (Knightian uncertainty). Ambiguity aversion is described by recursive multiple priors preferences that capture agents' lack of confidence in probability assessments. While modeling changes in risk typically requires higher-order approximations, changes in ambiguity in our models work like changes in conditional means. Our models thus allow for uncertainty shocks but can still be solved and estimated using first-order approximations. In our estimated medium-scale DSGE model, a loss of confidence about productivity works like 'unrealized' bad news. Time-varying confidence emerges as a major source of business cycle fluctuations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17900.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Publication status: published as \Ambiguous Business Cycles", with Martin Schneider, American Economic Review, forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17900

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  1. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2006. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," NBER Technical Working Papers 0321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  3. Susanto Basu & Brent Bundick, 2012. "Uncertainty shocks in a model of effective demand," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 12-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  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. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  6. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  7. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent & Thomas D. Tallarini Jr., 1997. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," Levine's Working Paper Archive 596, David K. Levine.
  8. Steffen Elstner & Eric Sims & Ruediger Bachmann, 2010. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," 2010 Meeting Papers 614, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2011. "Investment Shocks and the Relative Price of Investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 101-121, January.
  10. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  11. Marco Cagetti & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams, 2002. "Robustness and Pricing with Uncertain Growth," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 363-404, March.
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  1. Ambiguous Business Cycles
    by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2012-06-09 20:57:11
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