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Heterogeneous forecasts and aggregate dynamics

  • Antulio N. Bomfim
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    Motivated by issues raised in both the finance and economics literatures, I construct a dynamic general equilibrium model where agents use differing degrees of sophistication when forecasting future economic conditions. All agents solve standard dynamic optimization problems and face strategic complementarity in production, but some solve their inference problems based on simple forecasting rules of thumb. Assuming a hierarchical information structure similar to the one in Townsend's (1983) model of informationally dispersed markets, I show that even a minority of rule-of-thumb forecasters can have a significant effect on the aggregate properties of the economy. For instance, as agents try to forecast each others' behavior they effectively strengthen the internal propagation mechanism of the economy. The quantitative results are obtained by calibrating the model and running a battery of sensitivity tests on key parameters. The analysis highlights the role of strategic complementarity in the heterogeneous expectations literature and quantifies many qualitative claims about the aggregate implications of expectational heterogeneity.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2000-16.

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    Date of creation: 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2000-16
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    1. Cooper, Russell & Haltiwanger, John, 1996. "Evidence on Macroeconomic Complementarities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 78-93, February.
    2. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    3. Evans, George W & Ramey, Garey, 1992. "Expectation Calculation and Macroeconomic Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 207-24, March.
    4. Timothy Cogley & James M. Nason, 1993. "Output dynamics in real business cycle models," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 93-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Robert G. King, 1995. "Quantitative theory and econometrics," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 53-105.
    6. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
    7. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Lyons, Richard K., 1992. "External effects in U.S. procyclical productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 209-225, April.
    8. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1994. "Are apparent productive spillovers a figment of specification error?," International Finance Discussion Papers 463, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    10. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-38, August.
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    12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:3:p:463-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Board Raymond, 1994. "Polynomially Bounded Rationality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 246-270, August.
    14. John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1983. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," UCLA Economics Working Papers 303, UCLA Department of Economics.
    15. Arthur, W Brian, 1994. "Inductive Reasoning and Bounded Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 406-11, May.
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