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Learning as a Rational Foundation for Macroeconomics and Finance

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  • Evans, George W.
  • Honkapohja, Seppo

Abstract

Expectations play a central role in modern macroeconomics. The econometric learning approach, in line with the cognitive consistency principle, models agents as forming expectations by estimating and updating subjective forecasting models in real time. This approach provides a stability test for RE equilibria and a selection criterion in models with multiple equilibria. Further features of learning, such as discounting of older data, use of misspecified models, or heterogeneous choice by agents between competing models, generate novel learning dynamics. Empirical applications are reviewed and the roles of the planning horizon and structural knowledge are discussed. We develop several applications of learning to macroeconomic policy: the scope of Ricardian equivalence, appropriate specification of interest-rate rules, implementation of price-level targeting to achieve learning-stability of the optimal RE equilibrium and whether under learning price-level targeting can rule out the deflation trap at the zero-lower-bound.

Suggested Citation

  • Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2011. "Learning as a Rational Foundation for Macroeconomics and Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 8340, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8340
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Steinar Holden, 2012. "Implications of insights from behavioral economics for macroeconomic models," IMK Working Paper 99-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    2. Murray, James, 2014. "Fiscal Policy Uncertainty and Its Macroeconomic Consequences," MPRA Paper 57409, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. George W. Evans, 2011. "Comment on "Natural Expectations, Macroeconomic Dynamics, and Asset Pricing"," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2011, Volume 26, pages 61-71 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Uehara, Takuro, 2013. "Ecological threshold and ecological economic threshold: Implications from an ecological economic model with adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 374-384.
    5. Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo & Mitra, Kaushik, 2012. "Fiscal Policy and Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 8891, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Bovi, Maurizio, 2013. "Are the representative agent’s beliefs based on efficient econometric models?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 633-648.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset prices; business cycles; Cognitive consistency; E-stability; least-squares; monetary policy; persistent learning dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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