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Learning and excess volatility

Listed author(s):
  • James B. Bullard
  • John Duffy

We introduce adaptive learning behavior into a general equilibrium lifecycle economy with capital accumulation. Agents form forecasts of the rate of return to capital assets using least squares autoregressions on past data. We show that, in contrast to the perfect foresight dynamics, the dynamical system under learning possesses equilibria characterized by persistent excess volatility in returns to capital. We explore a quantitative case for these learning equilibria. We use an evolutionary search algorithm to calibrate a version of the system under learning and show that this system can generate data that matches some features of the time series data for U.S. stock returns and per capita consumption. We argue that this finding provides support for the hypothesis that the observed excess volatility of asset returns can by explained by changes in investor expectations against a background of relatively small changes in fundamental factors.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 1998-016.

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Date of creation: 1998
Publication status: Published in Macroeconomic Dynamics, April 2001, 5(2), pp. 272-302
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1998-016
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  1. Campbell, John, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Scholarly Articles 3207695, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Farebrother, R W, 1980. "The Durbin-Watson Test for Serial Correlation When There Is No Intercept in the Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1553-1563, September.
  4. Allan Timmermann, 1996. "Excess Volatility and Predictability of Stock Prices in Autoregressive Dividend Models with Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 523-557.
  5. Brock, W.A. & Hommes, C.H., 1996. "A Rational Route to Randomness," Working papers 9530r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Jean-Michel Grandmont, 1997. "Expectations Formation and Stability of Large Socioeconomic Systems," Working Papers 97-27, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 2343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Albert Marcet & Juan P. Nicolini, 1995. "Recurrent hyperinflations and learning," Economics Working Papers 244, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2001.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-227, May.
  10. Allan G. Timmermann, 1993. "How Learning in Financial Markets Generates Excess Volatility and Predictability in Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1135-1145.
  11. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  12. W. Brian Arthur & John H. Holland & Blake LeBaron & Richard Palmer & Paul Taylor, 1996. "Asset Pricing Under Endogenous Expectation in an Artificial Stock Market," Working Papers 96-12-093, Santa Fe Institute.
  13. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
  14. James B. Bullard, 1991. "Learning equilibria," Working Papers 1991-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  15. Bray, Margaret M & Savin, Nathan E, 1986. "Rational Expectations Equilibria, Learning, and Model Specification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1129-1160, September.
  16. Kenneth D. West, 1988. "Bubbles, Fads, and Stock Price Volatility Tests: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 2574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hommes, Cars & Sorger, Gerhard, 1998. "Consistent Expectations Equilibria," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 287-321, September.
  18. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303 Elsevier.
  19. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-574, May.
  20. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1996. "The Behavior of the Exchange Rate in the Genetic Algorithm and Experimental Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 510-541, June.
  21. Arifovic, Jasmina & Bullard, James & Duffy, John, 1997. "The Transition from Stagnation to Growth: An Adaptive Learning Approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 185-209, July.
  22. repec:cup:macdyn:v:2:y:1998:i:3:p:287-321 is not listed on IDEAS
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