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Rethinking Multiple Equilibria in Macroeconomic Modelling

Are beliefs as indeterminate as suggested by models with multiple equilibria? Multiplicity of equilibria arise largely as the unintended consequence of two modelling assumptions -- the fundamentals are assumed to be common knowledge, and economic agents know others' actions in equilibrium. Both are questionable. When others' actions are not known with certainty, such as when actions rely on noisy signals, self-fulfilling beliefs lead to a unique outcome determined by the fundamentals and the knowledges that others are rational. This paper illustrates this approach in the context of a model of bank runs and other similar applications. Such an approach places comparative statics and policy analyses on a firmer footing. It also suggests that public information has a disproportionately larger impact on the outcome than private information.

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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1260.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, MIT Press, 2001, pp. 139-161
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1260
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  1. Gorton, Gary, 1988. "Banking Panics and Business Cycles," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(4), pages 751-81, December.
  2. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-26, October.
  3. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1997. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-fulfilling Currency Attacks," CEPR Discussion Papers 1687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  5. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  6. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2001. "Coordination risk and the price of debt," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25046, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  8. Ganslandt, Mattias & Carlsson, Hans, 1997. "Noisy Equilibrium Selection in Coordination Games," Working Paper Series 485, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Carlsson, H. & van Damme, E.E.C., 1990. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Discussion Paper 1990-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, . "Approximate Common Knowledge and Co-ordination: Recent Lessons from Game Theory," CARESS Working Papres 97-8, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  11. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, March.
  12. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-70, May.
  13. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, March.
  14. David M. Frankel & Stephen Morris & Ady Pauzner, 2000. "Equilibrium Selection in Global Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1490, Econometric Society.
  15. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521570176, Junio.
  16. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1989. "The Electronic Mail Game: Strategic Behavior under "Almost Common Knowledge."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 385-91, June.
  17. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521578967, Junio.
  18. Postlewaite, Andrew & Vives, Xavier, 1987. "Bank Runs as an Equilibrium Phenomenon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 485-91, June.
  19. John Bryant, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-528.
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