IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Second-Order Sensitivity in Applied General Equilibrium



In most policy applications of general equilibrium modeling, cost functions are calibrated to benchmark data. Modelers often choose the functional form for cost functions based on suitability for numerical solution of the model. The data (including elasticities of substitution) determine first and second order derivatives (local behavior) of the cost functions at the benchmark. The functional form implicitly defines third and higher order derivatives (global behavior). In the absence of substantial analytic and computational effort, it is hard to assess the extent to which results of a particular model depend on third and higher order derivatives. Assuming that a modeler has no (or weak) empirical foundation for her choice of functional form in a model, it is therefore a priori unclear to what extent her results are driven by this choice. I present a method for performing second-order sensitivity analysis of modeling results with respect to functional form. As an illustration of this method I examine three general equilibrium models from the literature and demonstrate the extent to which results depend on functional form. The outcomes suggest that modeling results typically do not depend on the functional form for comparative static policy experiments in models with constant returns to scale. This is in contrast to an example with increasing returns to scale and an endogenous steady-state capital stock. Here results move far from benchmark equilibrium and significantly depend on the choice of functional form.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Landis, 2010. "Second-Order Sensitivity in Applied General Equilibrium," CEPE Working paper series 10-71, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:cee:wpcepe:10-71

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    sensitivity analysis; out-of-sample behavior; CGE models; flexible functional forms;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:cee:wpcepe:10-71. 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: (Carlos Ordas). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.