IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bin/bpeajo/v34y2003i2003-1p235-322.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Policy Evaluation in Uncertain Economic Environments

Author

Listed:
  • William A. Brock

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Steven N. Durlauf

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Kenneth D. West

    (University of Wisconsin)

Abstract

This paper develops a general framework for economic policy evaluation. Using ideas from statistical decision theory, it argues that conventional approaches fail to appropriately integrate econometric analysis into evaluation problems. Further, it is argued that evaluation of alternative policies should explicitly account for uncertainty about the appropriate model of the economy. The paper shows how to develop an explicitly decision-theoretic approach to policy evaluation and how to incorporate model uncertainty into such an analysis. The theoretical implications of model uncertainty are explored in a set of examples, with a specific focus on how to design policies that are robust against such uncertainty. Finally, the framework is applied to the evaluation of monetary policy rules and to the analysis of tariff reductions as a way to increase aggregate economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & Kenneth D. West, 2003. "Policy Evaluation in Uncertain Economic Environments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 235-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:34:y:2003:i:2003-1:p:235-322
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2003/01/2003a_bpea_brock.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. anonymous, 1995. "Does the bouncing ball lead to economic growth?," Regional Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Jul, pages 1-2,4-6.
    2. Levin, Andrew T. & Williams, John C., 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 945-975, July.
    3. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
    4. Durlauf, Steven N. & Kourtellos, Andros & Minkin, Artur, 2001. "The local Solow growth model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 928-940, May.
    5. Chamberlain, Gary, 2000. "Econometrics and decision theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 255-283, April.
    6. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:19-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Fernandez, Carmen & Ley, Eduardo & Steel, Mark F. J., 2001. "Benchmark priors for Bayesian model averaging," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 381-427, February.
    8. J. R. Hicks, 1940. "A Comment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 64-65.
    9. Phillips, P C B, 1991. "To Criticize the Critics: An Objective Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Trends," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 333-364, Oct.-Dec..
    10. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
    11. Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Econometric analysis and the study of economic growth : a skeptical perspective," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    12. Dehejia, Rajeev H., 2005. "Program evaluation as a decision problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 141-173.
    13. Sims, Christopher A., 1988. "Bayesian skepticism on unit root econometrics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 463-474.
    14. Desdoigts, Alain, 1999. "Patterns of Economic Development and the Formation of Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 305-330, September.
    15. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    16. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2003. "Modeling Model Uncertainty," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1087-1122, September.
    17. Durlauf, Steven N. & Quah, Danny T., 1999. "The new empirics of economic growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 235-308, Elsevier.
    18. Heckman, James, 2001. "Accounting for Heterogeneity, Diversity and General Equilibrium in Evaluating Social Programmes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages 654-699, November.
    19. Glenn Rudebusch & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 203-262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Christopher A. Sims, 2002. "The Role of Models and Probabilities in the Monetary Policy Process," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 1-62.
    21. Robert G. King & Ross Levine, 1993. "Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 717-737.
    22. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    23. Bernard, Andrew B. & Durlauf, Steven N., 1996. "Interpreting tests of the convergence hypothesis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1-2), pages 161-173.
    24. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:111-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance, entrepreneurship and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 513-542, December.
    26. Durlauf, Steven N & Johnson, Paul A, 1995. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behaviour," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 365-384, Oct.-Dec..
    27. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross‐Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    28. Leamer, Edward E & Leonard, Herman B, 1983. "Reporting the Fragility of Regression Estimates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(2), pages 306-317, May.
    29. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    30. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
    31. Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James H., 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty In A Small Model Of The U.S. Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 85-110, February.
    32. Manski, Charles F., 2000. "Identification problems and decisions under ambiguity: Empirical analysis of treatment response and normative analysis of treatment choice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 415-442, April.
    33. Woodford Michael, 2002. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-53, February.
    34. Xavier Sala-I-Martin, 1997. "Transfers, Social Safety Nets, and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 81-102, March.
    35. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    36. Temple, Jonathan, 2000. "Growth Regressions and What the Textbooks Don't Tell You," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 181-205, July.
    37. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1995. "Institutions and Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Indicators," MPRA Paper 23118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    38. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
    39. McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian R & Volker, Paul A, 1985. "What Will Take the Con out of Econometrics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 293-307, June.
    40. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    41. Alan S. Blinder, 1997. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: What Central Bankers Could Learn from Academics--And Vice Versa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 3-19, Spring.
    42. Dollar, David, 1992. "Outward-Oriented Developing Economies Really Do Grow More Rapidly: Evidence from 95 LDCs, 1976-1985," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(3), pages 523-544, April.
    43. Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1996. "What Does Monetary Policy Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 1-78.
    44. 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 357-384, March.
    45. Curley, Shawn P. & Yates, J. Frank & Abrams, Richard A., 1986. "Psychological sources of ambiguity avoidance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 230-256, October.
    46. Bernhard, Pierre, 2002. "Survey Of Linear Quadratic Robust Control," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 19-39, February.
    47. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    48. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 111-144, February.
    49. Kadane, Joseph B. & Chan, Ngai Hang & Wolfson, Lara J., 1996. "Priors for unit root models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 99-111, November.
    50. Daniel Ellsberg, 1961. "Risk, Ambiguity, and the Savage Axioms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 643-669.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Cohen-Cole, Ethan B. & Durlauf, Steven N. & Rondina, Giacomo, 2012. "Nonlinearities in growth: From evidence to policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 42-58.
    2. Steven N. Durlauf & Andros Kourtellos & Chih Ming Tan, 2008. "Empirics of Growth and Development," Chapters, in: Amitava Krishna Dutt & Jaime Ros (ed.), International Handbook of Development Economics, Volumes 1 & 2, volume 0, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. William A. Brock & Steven N.Durlauf, 2000. "Growth Economics and Reality," NBER Working Papers 8041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Durlauf,S.N., 2003. "The convergence hypothesis after 10 years," Working papers 6, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    5. Ulaşan, Bülent, 2011. "Cross-country growth empirics and model uncertainty: An overview," Economics Discussion Papers 2011-37, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Smaoui, Houcem & Nechi, Salem, 2017. "Does sukuk market development spur economic growth?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 136-147.
    7. Thi Kim Cuong Pham & Phu Nguyen Van & Jalal El Ouardighi & Théophile Azomahou, 2006. "Estimation semi-paramétrique de la convergence des régions européennes," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 173(2), pages 97-110.
    8. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & West, Kenneth D., 2007. "Model uncertainty and policy evaluation: Some theory and empirics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 629-664, February.
    9. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 2004. "Truth and Robustness in Cross‐country Growth Regressions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(5), pages 765-798, December.
    10. Massimiliano Affinito, 2011. "Convergence clubs, the euro-area rank and the relationship between banking and real convergence," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 809, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    11. Rockey, James & Temple, Jonathan, 2016. "Growth econometrics for agnostics and true believers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 86-102.
    12. Andros Kourtellos, 2002. "Modeling Parameter Heterogeneity in Cross Country Growth Regression Models," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0212, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    13. Cem Ertur & Wilfried Koch, 2007. "Growth, technological interdependence and spatial externalities: theory and evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(6), pages 1033-1062.
    14. Kottaridi, Constantina & Stengos, Thanasis, 2010. "Foreign direct investment, human capital and non-linearities in economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 858-871, September.
    15. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Racine, Jeff & Stengos, Thanasis, 2007. "Growth and convergence: A profile of distribution dynamics and mobility," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 483-508, February.
    16. Ilkhom SHARIPOV, 2016. "ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE EU’S EaP COUNTRIES: DETERMINANTS AND PROSPECTS," EURINT, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 3, pages 169-187.
    17. Irina-Elena GENTIMIR, 2015. "In The Globalization Era, Which Are The Determinants Of Growth?," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 7(1), pages 60-79, March.
    18. Fischer, Manfred M. & Stirböck, Claudia, 2005. "Regional Income Convergence in Europe, 1995-2000: A Spatial Econometric Perspective," MPRA Paper 77784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Eris, Mehmet, 2010. "Population heterogeneity and growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1211-1222, September.
    20. Bos, J.W.B. & Economidou, C. & Koetter, M., 2010. "Technology clubs, R&D and growth patterns: Evidence from EU manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 60-79, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    macroeconomics; Policy Evaluation; Uncertain Economic Environments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:34:y:2003:i:2003-1:p:235-322. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/esbrous.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jennifer Ambrosino (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/esbrous.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.