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Initial Expectations in New Keynesian Models with Learning


  • James Murray

    () (Indiana University Bloomington)


This paper examines how the estimation results for a standard New Keynesian model with constant gain least squares learning is sensitive to the stance taken on agents beliefs at the beginning of the sample. The New Keynesian model is estimated under rational expectations and under learning with three different frameworks for how expectations are set at the beginning of the sample. The results show that initial beliefs can have an impact on the predictions of an estimated model; in fact previous literature has exposed this sensitivity to explain the changing volatilities of output and inflation in the post-war United States. The results indicate statistical evidence for adaptive learning, however the rational expectations framework performs at least as well as the learning frameworks, if not better, in in-sample and out-of-sample forecast error criteria. Moreover, learning is not found to better explain time varying macroeconomic volatility any better than rational expectations. Finally, impulse response functions from the estimated models show that the dynamics following a structural shock can depend crucially on how expectations are initialized and what information agents are assumed to have.

Suggested Citation

  • James Murray, 2008. "Initial Expectations in New Keynesian Models with Learning," Caepr Working Papers 2008-017, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  • Handle: RePEc:inu:caeprp:2008-017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2005. "Inflation scares and forecast-based monetary policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 498-527, April.
    2. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policy-Makers' Beliefs and U. S. Postwar Stabilization Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 867-901.
    3. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Convergence of Least-Squares Learning in Environments with Hidden State Variables and Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1306-1322, December.
    4. Argia M. Sbordone & Timothy Cogley, 2004. "A Search for a Structural Phillips Curve," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 291, Society for Computational Economics.
    5. James M. Nason & Gregor W. Smith, 2008. "Identifying the new Keynesian Phillips curve," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 525-551.
    6. Peter N. Ireland, 2004. "Technology Shocks in the New Keynesian Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 923-936, November.
    7. Bruce Preston, 2005. "Learning about Monetary Policy Rules when Long-Horizon Expectations Matter," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), September.
    8. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
    9. McCallum, Bennett T., 1999. "Issues in the design of monetary policy rules," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1483-1530 Elsevier.
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    11. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    12. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
    13. Marc Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Inflation-Targeting Rules," NBER Chapters,in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 93-172 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    Learning; expectations; New Keynesian model; maximum likelihood;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General

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