IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Learning as a rational foundation for macroeconomics and finance

  • Evans, George W

    (University of Oregon and University of Saint Andrews)

  • Honkapohja, Seppo


    (Bank of Finland)

Expectations play a central role in modern macroeconomics. The econometric learning approach, in line with the cognitive consistency principle, models agents as forming expectations by estimating and updating subjective forecasting models in real time. This approach provides a stability test for RE equilibria and a selection criterion in models with multiple equilibria. Further features of learning – such as discounting of older data, use of misspecified models or heterogeneous choice by agents between competing models – generate novel learning dynamics. Empirical applications are reviewed and the roles of the planning horizon and structural knowledge are discussed. We develop several applications of learning with relevance to macroeconomic policy: the scope of Ricardian equivalence, appropriate specification of interest-rate rules, implementation of price-level targeting to achieve learning stability of the optimal RE equilibrium and whether, under learning, price-level targeting can rule out the deflation trap at the zero lower bound.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 8/2011.

in new window

Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: 24 Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2011_008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. David L. Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
  2. Agnieszka Markiewicz, 2010. "Monetary Policy, Model Uncertainty and Exchange Rate Volatility," CESifo Working Paper Series 2949, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Adam, Klaus, 2005. "Experimental Evidence on the Persistence of Output and Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2004. "The decline of activist stabilization policy: natural rate misperceptions, learning, and expectations," International Finance Discussion Papers 804, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Martin Ellison & Tony Yates, 2007. "Escaping Volatile Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 981-993, 06.
  6. James B. Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2003. "Did the Great Inflation occur despite policymaker commitment to a Taylor rule?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. Bruce Preston, 2003. "Learning about monetary policy rules when long-horizon expectations matter," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  8. James B. Bullard, 2006. "The learnability criterion and monetary policy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 203-217.
  9. Sargent, Thomas J., 1991. "Equilibrium with signal extraction from endogenous variables," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 245-273, April.
  10. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2002. "Monetary Policy, Expectations and Commitment," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2005-11, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 06 Apr 2005.
  11. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2003. "Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 807-824.
  12. Pfajfar, Damjan, 2013. "Formation of rationally heterogeneous expectations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1434-1452.
  13. Emiliano Santoro & Damjan Pfajfar, 2006. "Heterogeneity and learning in inflation expectation formation: an empirical assessment," Department of Economics Working Papers 0607, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  14. Adam, Klaus & Marcet, Albert & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 2008. "Stock market volatility and learning," Working Paper Series 0862, European Central Bank.
  15. Roberto Ricciuti, 2003. "Assessing Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 55-78, February.
  16. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2004. "Policy interaction, expectations and the liquidity trap," Macroeconomics 0404033, EconWPA.
  17. George W. Evans & Avik Chakraborty, 2006. "Can Perpetual Learning Explain the Forward Premium Puzzle?," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2006-8, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 20 Aug 2006.
  18. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Inflation scares and forecast-based monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2003-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  19. Bullard, James & Mitra, Kaushik, 2002. "Learning about monetary policy rules," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1105-1129, September.
  20. Evans, George W. & Guse, Eran & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2008. "Liquidity traps, learning and stagnation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1438-1463, November.
  21. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2008. "Expectations, Learning And Business Cycle Fluctuations," CAMA Working Papers 2008-20, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  22. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Alex Brazier & Richard Harrison & Mervyn King & Tony Yates, 2006. "The danger of inflating expectations of macroeconomic stability: heuristic switching in an overlapping generations monetary model," Bank of England working papers 303, Bank of England.
  24. Preston, Bruce, 2006. "Adaptive learning, forecast-based instrument rules and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 507-535, April.
  25. Andreas Fuster & David Laibson & Brock Mendel, 2010. "Natural Expectations and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 67-84, Fall.
  26. Wiliam Branch & George W. Evans, . "Asset Return Dynamics and Learning," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2006-14, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  27. George W. Evans & Roger Guesnerie & Bruce McGough, 2014. "Eductive Stability in Real Business Cycle Models," CDMA Working Paper Series 201406, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  28. Berardi, Michele, 2007. "Heterogeneity and misspecifications in learning," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 3203-3227, October.
  29. Marimon, Ramon & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Indeterminacy of Equilibria in a Hyperinflationary World: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1073-107, September.
  30. Fourgeaud, Claude & Gourieroux, Christian & Pradel, Jacqueline, 1986. "Learning Procedures and Convergence to Rationality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 845-68, July.
  31. Hommes, Cars & Sorger, Gerhard, 1998. "Consistent Expectations Equilibria," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 287-321, September.
  32. Brock, W.A. & Hommes, C.H. & Wagener, F.O.O., 2009. "More hedging instruments may destabilize markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1912-1928, November.
  33. William Branch & George W. Evans & Bruce McGough, 2012. "Finite Horizon Learning," CDMA Working Paper Series 201204, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  34. Guse, Eran A., 2005. "Stability properties for learning with heterogeneous expectations and multiple equilibria," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1623-1642, October.
  35. Chryssi Giannitsarou, 2003. "Heterogeneous Learning," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 885-906, October.
  36. repec:clu:wpaper:0708-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. Giuseppe Ferrero & Alessandro Secchi, 2010. "Central bank’s macroeconomic projections and learning," National Bank of Poland Working Papers 72, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2011_008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Minna Nyman)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.