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Learning and Time-Varying Macroeconomic Volatility

  • Fabio Milani

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

This paper presents a DSGE model in which agents' learning about the economy can endogenously generate time-varying macroeconomic volatility. Economic agents use simple models to form expectations and need to learn the relevant parameters. Their gain coefficient is endogenous and is adjusted according to past forecast errors. The model is estimated using likelihood-based Bayesian methods. The endogenous gain is jointly estimated with the structural parameters of the system. The estimation results show that private agents appear to have often switched to constant-gain learning, with a high constant gain, during most of the 1970s and until the early 1980s, while reverting to a decreasing gain later on. As a result, the model can generate a pattern of volatility, which is increasing in the 1970s and falling in the second half of the sample, with a decline that can roughly match the magnitude of the Great Moderation. The paper also documents how a failure to incorporate learning into the estimation may lead econometricians to spuriously find time-varying volatility in the exogenous shocks, even when these have constant variance by construction.

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File URL: http://www.economics.uci.edu/files/docs/workingpapers/2007-08/Milani-02.pdf
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Paper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 070802.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:070802
Contact details of provider: Postal: Irvine, CA 92697-3125
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Web page: http://www.economics.uci.edu/

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  1. Wiliam Branch & George W. Evans, 2005. "Model Uncertainty and Endogenous Volatility," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2005-21, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 26 Oct 2006.
  2. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Learning, Monetary Policy Rules, and Macroeconomic Stability," Macroeconomics 0508019, EconWPA.
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  8. James Bullard & Kaushik Mitra, 2007. "Determinacy, Learnability, and Monetary Policy Inertia," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(5), pages 1177-1212, 08.
  9. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy with imperfect knowledge," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  13. Fabio Milani, 2005. "A Bayesian DSGE Model with Infinite-Horizon Learning: Do "Mechanical" Sources of Persistence Become Superfluous?," Working Papers 060703, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  14. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation Targeting under Imperfect Knowledge," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 38, Society for Computational Economics.
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  18. Sungbae An & Frank Schorfheide, 2007. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models—Rejoinder," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 211-219.
  19. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Working Papers 050608, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  20. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
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  24. Fabio Milani, 2011. "Expectation Shocks and Learning as Drivers of the Business Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 379-401, 05.
  25. Thomas Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2002. "Testing for Indeterminacy:An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive 480, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2003.
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  28. Thomas A. Lubik & Paolo Surico, 2010. "The Lucas critique and the stability of empirical models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 177-194.
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  34. In-Koo Cho & Ken Kasa, 2012. "Model Validation and Learning," Discussion Papers dp12-07, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
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