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On the Applicability of Global Approximation Methods for Models with Jump Discontinuities in Policy Functions

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Görtz
  • Afrasiab Mirza

Abstract

We show that the standard Value Function Iteration (VFI) algorithm has difficulties approximating models with jump discontinuities in policy functions. We find that VFI fails to accurately identify the location and size of jump discontinuities while other methods - such as the Endogenous Grid Method (EGM) and a Finite Element Method (FEM) - are much better at approximating this class of models. We illustrate differences across methods using a standard plant-level investment model with both variable and fixed capital adjustment costs. We find that the policy functions generated by VFI are quite different from those generated by EGM and FEM. Importantly, these differences are economically significant: for our baseline parameterization VFI generates investment spikes that are 5-8% larger in comparison to the other two methods. The choice between EGM and FEM depends on the context. While EGM is faster than FEM, it is much more difficult to implement. For larger models, the modifications necessary to apply EGM can lead to high code complexity. On the other hand, FEM can accommodate larger models with minimal implementation differences and its high scalability can reduce computation time significantly.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Görtz & Afrasiab Mirza, 2014. "On the Applicability of Global Approximation Methods for Models with Jump Discontinuities in Policy Functions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4837, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4837
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dynamic equilibrium economies; non-convex capital adjustment costs; computational methods; nonlinear solution methods;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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