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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
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Carlsson, Hans & Ganslandt, Mattias, 1998. "Noisy equilibrium selection in coordination games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 23-34, July.
  2. Carlsson, H. & van Damme, E.E.C., 1993. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Other publications TiSEM 49a54f00-dcec-4fc1-9488-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
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  8. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-97, June.
  9. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, . ""Approximate Common Knowledge and Co-ordination: Recent Lessons from Game Theory''," CARESS Working Papres 96-07, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  10. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, June.
  17. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
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  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521570176 is not listed on IDEAS
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