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Learning And Excess Volatility

  • Bullard, James
  • Duffy, John

We introduce adaptive learning behavior into a general equilibrium lifecycle economy with capital accumulation. Agents form forecasts of the rate of return to capital assets using least squares autoregressions on past data. We show that, in contrast to the perfect foresight dynamics, a dynamical system under learning-possess equilibria is characterized by persistent excess volatility in returns to capital. We explore a quantitative case for these learning equilibria. We use an evolutionary search algorithm to calibrate a version of the system under learning and show that this system can generate data that matches some features of the time-series data for U.S. stock returns and per capita consumption. We argue that this finding provides support for the hypothesis that the observed excess volatility in asset returns can be explained by changes in investor expectations against a background of relatively small changes in fundamental factors.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Macroeconomic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2001)
Issue (Month): 02 (April)
Pages: 272-302

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Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:5:y:2001:i:02:p:272-302_01
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