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"Forecasting the forecasts of others." Expectational heterogeneity and aggregate dynamics

  • Antulio N. Bomfim
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    I construct a dynamic general equilibrium model where agents differ in the way they form expectations. Sophisticated agents form model-consistent expectations. Rule-of-thumb agents' expectations are based on an intuitive forecasting rule. All agents solve standard dynamic optimization problems and face strategic complementarity in production. Extending the work of Haltiwanger and Waldman (1989), 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. I solve the model by assuming a hierarchical information structure similar to the one in Townsend's (1983) model of informationally dispersed markets. 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 precisely quantify 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 96-41.

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    Date of creation: 1996
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:96-41
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    1. Townsend, Robert M, 1983. "Forecasting the Forecasts of Others," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 546-88, August.
    2. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
    3. Arthur, W Brian, 1994. "Inductive Reasoning and Bounded Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 406-11, May.
    4. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
    5. Robert G. King, 1995. "Quantitative theory and econometrics," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 53-105.
    6. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 198, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
    8. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I., 1988. "Real business cycles : Introduction," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 191-193.
    9. Sethi, Rajiv & Franke, Reiner, 1995. "Behavioural Heterogeneity under Evolutionary Pressure: Macroeconomic Implications of Costly Optimisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 583-600, May.
    10. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    11. Haltiwanger, John & Waldman, Michael, 1985. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 326-40, June.
    12. Oh, Seonghwan & Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Strategic Complementarity Slows Macroeconomic Adjustment to Temporary Shocks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(2), pages 318-29, April.
    13. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, June.
    14. Board Raymond, 1994. "Polynomially Bounded Rationality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 246-270, August.
    15. P. D., 1988. "Introduction," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 10(4), pages 527, July.
    16. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1975. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1113-44, December.
    17. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    18. Krusell, Per & Smith, Anthony Jr., 1996. "Rules of thumb in macroeconomic equilibrium A quantitative analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 527-558, April.
    19. Evans, George W & Ramey, Garey, 1992. "Expectation Calculation and Macroeconomic Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 207-24, March.
    20. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
    21. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
    22. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
    23. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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