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Government Policy and Probabilistic Equilibrium Selection

  • Huberto Ennis

    (Cornell University)

  • Todd Keister

    (Centro de Investigacion Economica)

We study an economy where search frictions create a coordination problem among agents - each agent wants to produce if and only if enough other agents are producing. This environment easily generates multiple Pareto-ranked equilibria. Our interest is in how likely it is that the economy will find its way to each of these equilibria when agents are learning about some fundamental parameters of the economy. Specifically, we study Bayesian learning and show how this process generates a probability distribution over the equilibrium set. We then study a particular type of demand-management policy that the government can use to encourage agents to engage in production. We show that this policy can make it more likely that the economy converges to the Pareto superior equilibrium, but that in the process it reduces the value of being in that equilibrium. Hence a tradeoff arises in this model between the likelihood of attaining a particular equilibrium and the value of being in it. We analyze this tradeoff in the context of a numerical example.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1148.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1148
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  1. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Learning to Believe in Sunspots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 277-307, March.
  2. Ricardo A. Lagos, . ""An Alternative Approach to Market Frictions: An Application to the Market for Taxicab Rides''," CARESS Working Papres 96-09, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. Bennett T. McCallum, 1981. "On Non-Uniqueness in Rational Expectations Models: An Attempt at Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1986. "Stabilizing competitive business cycles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 57-76, October.
  5. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
  6. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Wallace, Neil, 1997. "Government Transaction Policy, the Medium of Exchange, and Welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-18, May.
  8. Smith, Bruce D, 1994. "Efficiency and Determinacy of Equilibrium under Inflation Targeting," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 327-44.
  9. Lawrence Blume & David Easley, 1993. "Rational Expectations and Rational Learning," Game Theory and Information 9307003, EconWPA.
  10. Howitt, P. & Mcfee, R.P., 1990. "Animal Spirits," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9005, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  11. Keister, Todd, 1998. "Money Taxes and Efficiency When Sunspots Matter," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 43-68, November.
  12. Woodford, Michael, 1986. "Stationary sunspot equilibria in a finance constrained economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 128-137, October.
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1986. "Adaptive Behavior and Economic Theory," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S401-26, October.
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