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Certainty equivalence and model uncertainty

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  • Lars Peter Hansen
  • Thomas J. Sargent

Abstract

Simon’s and Theil’s certainty equivalence property justifies a convenient algorithm for solving dynamic programming problems with quadratic objectives and linear transition laws: first, optimize under perfect foresight, then substitute optimal forecasts for unknown future values. A similar decomposition into separate optimization and forecasting steps prevails when a decision maker wants a decision rule that is robust to model misspecification. Concerns about model misspecification leave the first step of the algorithm intact and affect only the second step of forecasting the future. The decision maker attains robustness by making forecasts with a distorted model that twists probabilities relative to his approximating model. The appropriate twisting emerges from a two-player zero-sum dynamic game.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Certainty equivalence and model uncertainty," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 17-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgpr:y:2005:p:17-38
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/events/conferences/mmp2004/pdf/hansensargent.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Prescott, Edward C, 1971. "Investment Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 659-681, September.
    2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J. & Wang, Neng E., 2002. "Robust Permanent Income And Pricing With Filtering," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 40-84, February.
    3. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-969, July.
    4. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent & Thomas D. Tallarini, 1999. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 873-907.
    5. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
    6. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    7. Philippe Weil, 1993. "Precautionary Savings and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 367-383.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gavin, William T. & Keen, Benjamin D. & Pakko, Michael R., 2009. "Inflation Risk And Optimal Monetary Policy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(S1), pages 58-75, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Raghu Suryanarayanan, 2006. "A Model of Anticipated Regret and Endogenous Beliefs," CSEF Working Papers 161, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Dec 2008.
    4. Raghu Suryanarayanan, 2006. "Implications of Anticipated Regret and Endogenous Beliefs for Equilibrium Asset Prices: A Theoretical Framework," CSEF Working Papers 162, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.

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