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Inattention to Rare Events

Listed author(s):
  • Mackowiak, Bartosz Adam
  • Wiederholt, Mirko

Why were people so unprepared for the global financial crisis, the European debt crisis, and the Fukushima nuclear accident? To address this question, we study a model in which agents make state-contingent plans - think about actions in different contingencies - subject to the constraint that agents can process only a limited amount of information. The model predicts that agents are unprepared in a state when the state has a low probability, the optimal action in that state is uncorrelated with the optimal action in normal times, and actions are strategic complements. We then compare the equilibrium allocation of attention to the efficient allocation of attention. We characterize analytically the conditions under which society would be better off if agents thought more carefully about optimal actions in rare events.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8626.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8626
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  1. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2008. "Business Cycle Dynamics under Rational Inattention," 2008 Meeting Papers 1059, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Filip Matějka, 2016. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1125-1155.
  3. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2009. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 769-803, June.
  4. Filip Matêjka & Alisdair McKay, 2015. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 272-298, January.
  5. Woodford, Michael, 2009. "Information-constrained state-dependent pricing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(S), pages 100-124.
  6. Marcin Kacperczyk & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Laura Veldkamp, 2009. "Rational Attention Allocation Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 15450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alvarez, Fernando & Barlevy, Gadi, 2014. "Mandatory Disclosure and Financial Contagion," Working Paper Series WP-2014-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Mondria, Jordi, 2010. "Portfolio choice, attention allocation, and price comovement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(5), pages 1837-1864, September.
  9. Antonella Tutino, 2013. "Rationally inattentive consumption choices," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 421-439, July.
  10. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Information Rigidity and the Expectations Formation Process: A Simple Framework and New Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2644-2678, August.
  11. Maćkowiak, Bartosz & Moench, Emanuel & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2009. "Sectoral price data and models of price setting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(S), pages 78-99.
  12. Xavier Gabaix, 2012. "Variable Rare Disasters: An Exactly Solved Framework for Ten Puzzles in Macro-Finance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 645-700.
  13. Venky Venkateswaran & Luis Llosa, 2012. "Efficiency With Endogenous Information Choice," 2012 Meeting Papers 660, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Luigi Paciello & Mirko Wiederholt, 2014. "Exogenous Information, Endogenous Information, and Optimal Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 356-388.
  15. Luca Colombo & Gianluca Femminis & Alessandro Pavan, 2014. "Information Acquisition and Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1438-1483.
  16. Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 823-866.
  17. Leonardo Melosi, 2014. "Estimating Models with Dispersed Information," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-31, January.
  18. Luigi Paciello, 2012. "Monetary Policy and Price Responsiveness to Aggregate Shocks under Rational Inattention," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(7), pages 1375-1399, October.
  19. Ming Yang, 2011. "Coordination with Rational Inattention," Working Papers 1331, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
  20. Yulei Luo, 2008. "Consumption Dynamics under Information Processing Constraints," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 366-385, April.
  21. Ming Yang, 2011. "Coordination with Rational Inattention," Working Papers 1317, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
  22. Matějka, Filip, 2015. "Rigid pricing and rationally inattentive consumer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PB), pages 656-678.
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