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Value Function Iteration as a Solution Method for the Ramsey Model


  • Heer Burkhard

    () (Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, School of Economics and Management, Piazza Universitá , 39100 Bolzano-Bozen, Italy)

  • Maußner Alfred

    () (University of Augsburg, Department of Economics, Universitätsstraße 16, 86159 Augsburg, Germany)


Value function iteration is one of the standard tools for the solution of dynamic general equilibrium models if the dimension of the state space is one ore two. We consider three kinds of models: the deterministic and the stochastic growth model and a simple heterogenous agent model. Each model is solved with six different algorithms: (1) simple value function iteration as compared to (2) smart value function iteration neglects the special structure of the problem. (3) Full and (4) modified policy iteration are methods to speed up convergence. (5) linear and (6) cubic interpolation between the grid points are methods that enhance precision and reduce the size of the grid. We evaluate the algorithms with respect to speed and accuracy. Accuracy is defined as the maximum absolute value of the residual of the Euler equation that determines the household’s savings. We demonstrate that the run time of all algorithms can be reduced substantially if the value function is initialized stepwise, starting on a coarse grid and increasing the number of grid points successively until the desired size is reached.We find that value function iteration with cubic spline interpolation between grid points dominates the other methods if a high level of accuracy is needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Heer Burkhard & Maußner Alfred, 2011. "Value Function Iteration as a Solution Method for the Ramsey Model," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 231(4), pages 494-515, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:231:y:2011:i:4:p:494-515

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heer, Burkhard & Maußner, Alfred, 2008. "Computation Of Business Cycle Models: A Comparison Of Numerical Methods," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 641-663, November.
    2. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2000. "Algorithms for solving dynamic models with occasionally binding constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1179-1232, July.
    4. Gaspar, Jess & L. Judd, Kenneth, 1997. "Solving Large-Scale Rational-Expectations Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 45-75, January.
    5. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Comparing solution methods for dynamic equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2477-2508, December.
    6. Martin L. Puterman & Moon Chirl Shin, 1978. "Modified Policy Iteration Algorithms for Discounted Markov Decision Problems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(11), pages 1127-1137, July.
    7. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
    8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1992. "Projection methods for solving aggregate growth models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 410-452, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brüggemann, Bettina & Yoo, Jinhyuk, 2015. "Aggregate and distributional effects of increasing taxes on top income earners," IMFS Working Paper Series 94, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).

    More about this item


    Value function iteration; policy function iteration; Howard’s Algorithm; acceleration; cubic interpolation; stochastic Ramsey model; heterogeneous agents;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles


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