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Attainable Non-optimality or Unattainable Optimality: A New Approach to Stochastic Life Cycle Problems


  • Pemberton, James


When future income is uncertain, the standard model of stochastic life cycle behavior does not provide an operatio nal basis for consumer choice because it is too complex to be solved either analytically or intuitively by the human brain (even if computer-assisted). This paper proposes an alternative model of intertemporal decision-making that takes full account of the future, including future uncertainty, but which is analytically tractable. T he model is applied to some illustrative examples. Copyright 1993 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Pemberton, James, 1993. "Attainable Non-optimality or Unattainable Optimality: A New Approach to Stochastic Life Cycle Problems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 1-20, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:103:y:1993:i:416:p:1-20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. Persson, Torsten, 1988. "An introduction and a broad survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 519-532, March.
    3. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    4. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    6. Helpman, Elhanan, 1988. "Macroeconomic Effects of Price Controls: The Role of Market Structure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 340-354, June.
    7. David Backus & John Driffill, 1985. "Rational Expectations and Policy Credibility Following a Change in Regime," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 211-221.
    8. Rodrik, Dani, 1989. "Promises, Promises: Credible Policy Reform via Signalling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 756-772, September.
    9. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-455, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Muller, Wieland, 2001. "Strategies, heuristics, and the relevance of risk-aversion in a dynamic decision problem," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 493-522, August.
    2. Binswanger, J., 2008. "Towards Understanding Life Cycle Saving Of Boundedly Rational Agents : A Model With Feasibility Goals - Replaced by CentER Discussion Paper 2010-138," Discussion Paper 2008-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Rodepeter, Ralf & Winter, Joachim, 1999. "Rules of thumb in life-cycle savings models," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-81, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    4. Pemberton, James, 1997. "Modelling and measuring income uncertainty in life cycle models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 81-98, January.
    5. Hideaki Tamura & Yoichi Matsubayashi, 2014. "A New Solution to the Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle: Theory and Evidence," Discussion Papers 1422, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    6. Alho, Juha M., 2014. "Forecasting demographic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1128-1135.
    7. Insong Jang, 2001. "Forward Looking Behavior And Empirical Household Consumption Function," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse7_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
    8. Binswanger, J., 2010. "Towards Understanding Life Cycle Savings of Boundedly Rational Agents : A Model with Feasibility Goals (Revision of DP 2008-14)," Discussion Paper 2010-138, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    9. Binswanger, Johannes, 2011. "Dynamic decision making with feasibility goals: A procedural-rationality approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 219-228, May.
    10. Binswanger, Johannes, 2012. "Life cycle saving: Insights from the perspective of bounded rationality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 605-623.

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