IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Can a Representative-Agent Model Represent a Heterogeneous-Agent Economy

  • Sungbae An
  • Yongsung Chang
  • Sun-Bin Kim

Accounting for observed fluctuations in aggregate employment, consumption, and real wage using the optimality conditions of a representative household requires preferences that are incompatible with economic priors. In order to reconcile theory with data, we construct a model with heterogeneous agents whose decisions are difficult to aggregate because of incomplete capital markets and the indivisible nature of labor supply. If we were to explain the model-generated aggregate time series using decisions of a stand-in household, such a household must have a nonconcave or unstable utility as is often found with the aggregate US data. (JEL E13, E24)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 29-54

in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:29-54
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.1.2.29
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dunn, Kenneth B. & Singleton, Kenneth J., 1986. "Modeling the term structure of interest rates under non-separable utility and durability of goods," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 27-55, September.
  2. Robert E. Hall, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," NBER Working Papers 5933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen McGrattan, 2004. "Business Cycle Accounting," NBER Working Papers 10351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  5. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  6. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2006. "From Individual To Aggregate Labor Supply: A Quantitative Analysis Based On A Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomy ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 1-27, 02.
  7. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  8. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:3:p:659-84 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2007. "Heterogeneity and Aggregation: Implications for Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1939-1956, December.
  11. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  12. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
  13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  14. Ghysels, Eric & Hall, Alastair, 1990. "Are consumption-based intertemporal capital asset pricing models structural?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 121-139.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:1:p:1-25 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog
  2. Can a Representative-Agent Model Represent a Heterogeneous-Agent Economy (AEJ:MA 2009) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:29-54. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.