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Avoiding Nash Inflation : Bayesian and Robust Responses to Model Uncertainty

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  • Robert J. Tetlow
  • Peter Von zur Muehlen

Abstract

We examine learning, model misspecification, and robust policy responses to misspecification in a quasi-real-time environment. The laboratory for the analysis is the Sargent (1999) explanation for the origins of inflation in the 1970s and the subsequent disinflation. Three robust policy rules are derived that differ according to the extent that misspecification is taken as a parametric phenomenon. These responses to drifting estimated parameters and apparent misspecification are compared to the certainty-equivalent case studied by Sargent. We find gains from utilizing robust approaches to monetary policy design, but only when the approach to robustness is carefully tailored to the problem at hand. In the least parametric approach, the medicine of robust control turns out to be too potent for the disease of misspecification. In the most parametric approach, the response to misspecification is too weak and too misdirected to be of help. But when the robust approach to policy is narrowly directed in the correct location, it can avoid Nash inflation and improve social welfare. It follows that agnosticism regarding the sources of misspecification has its pitfalls. We also find that Sargent?s story for the rise of inflation of the 1970s and its subsequent decline in the 1980s is robust to most ways of relaxing a strong assumption in the original work.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Tetlow & Peter Von zur Muehlen, 2003. "Avoiding Nash Inflation : Bayesian and Robust Responses to Model Uncertainty," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2002-09
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams & Tao Zha, 2009. "The Conquest of South American Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 211-256, April.
    2. Tetlow, Robert J. & von zur Muehlen, Peter, 2009. "Robustifying learnability," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 296-316, February.
    3. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John Williams & Noah M. Williams, 2006. "Monetary Policy Under Uncertainty in Micro-Founded Macroeconometric Models," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 229-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Qin, Li & Sidiropoulos, Moïse & Spyromitros, Eleftherios, 2013. "Robust monetary policy under model uncertainty and inflation persistence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 721-728.
    5. Martin Ellison & Thomas J. Sargent, 2012. "A Defense Of The Fomc," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1047-1065, November.
    6. Zampolli, Fabrizio, 2006. "Optimal monetary policy in a regime-switching economy: The response to abrupt shifts in exchange rate dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1527-1567.
    7. Keith Kuester & Volker Wieland, 2010. "Insurance Policies for Monetary Policy in the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 872-912, June.
    8. David Kendrick & Hans Amman, 2006. "A Classification System for Economic Stochastic Control Models," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 453-481, June.
    9. Fidel Gonzalez & Arnulfo Rodriguez, 2004. "Robust Control: A Note on the Response of the Control to Changes in the “Free” Parameter Conditional on the Character of Nature," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 223-238, March.
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    11. Georges, Christophre, 2006. "Learning with misspecification in an artificial currency market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 70-84, May.
    12. Martin Ellison & Liam Graham & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Strong Contagion with Weak Spillovers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 263-283, April.
    13. Kendrick, David A., 2005. "Stochastic control for economic models: past, present and the paths ahead," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 3-30, January.
    14. Gonzalez F. & Rodriguez A. & Gonzalez-Garcia J.R., 2005. "Uncertainty about the Persistence of Periods with Large Price Shocks and the Optimal Reaction of the Monetary Authority," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 402, Society for Computational Economics.
    15. Meixing DAI & Eleftherios SPYROMITROS, 2008. "Monetary policy, asset prices and model uncertainty," Working Papers of BETA 2008-15, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    16. Arnulfo Rodríguez & Fidel González & Jesús R. González García, 2007. "Uncertainty about the Persistence of Cost-Push Shocks and the Optimal Reaction of the Monetary Authority," Working Papers 2007-05, Banco de México.

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    Keywords

    Uncertainty ; Knightian uncertainty ; Robust control ; Learning ; Monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs

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