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Model Uncertainty and Policy Evaluation: Some Theory and Empirics

  • William A. Brock
  • Steven N. Durlauf
  • Kenneth D. West

This paper explores ways to integrate model uncertainty into policy evaluation. We first describe a general framework for the incorporation of model uncertainty into standard econometric calculations. This framework employs Bayesian model averaging methods that have begun to appear in a range of economic studies. Second, we illustrate these general ideas in the context of assessment of simple monetary policy rules for some standard New Keynesian specifications. The specifications vary in their treatment of expectations as well as in the dynamics of output and inflation. We conclude that the Taylor rule has good robustness properties, but may reasonably be challenged in overall quality with respect to stabilization by alternative simple rules that also condition on lagged interest rates, even though these rules employ parameters that are set without accounting for model uncertainty.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10916.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10916.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Publication status: published as William Brock & Steven Durlauf & Kenneth West, 2005. "Model uncertainty and policy evaluation: some theory and empirics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10916
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2005. "Local robustness analysis: Theory and application," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 2067-2092, November.
  2. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2000. "Assessing nominal income rules for monetary policy with model and data uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0014, European Central Bank.
  3. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Rudebusch , Glenn, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Seminar Papers 637, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Onatski, Alexei & Williams, Noah, 2002. "Modeling model uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0169, European Central Bank.
  5. William A. Brock & Steven N.Durlauf, 2000. "Growth Economics and Reality," NBER Working Papers 8041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pesaran, M Hashem & Pettenuzzo, Davide & Timmermann, Allan G, 2004. "Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks," CEPR Discussion Papers 4636, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. J. Tetlow, Robert & von zur Muehlen, Peter, 2001. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: Does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 911-949, June.
  8. Avramov, Doron, 2002. "Stock return predictability and model uncertainty," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 423-458, June.
  9. Mark Salmon & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2001. "Robust Decision Theory and the Lucas Critique," Working Papers wp01-10, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  10. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & Kenneth D. West, 2003. "Policy Evaluation in Uncertain Economic Environments," NBER Working Papers 10025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jonathan H. Wright, 2009. "Forecasting US inflation by Bayesian model averaging," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 131-144.
  12. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
  13. Wright, Jonathan H., 2008. "Bayesian Model Averaging and exchange rate forecasts," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 329-341, October.
  14. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2003. "Elements of a theory of design limits to optimal policy," Working papers 25, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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  16. Brock, W.A., 1995. "A Rational Route to Randomness," Working papers 9530, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  17. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
  18. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  19. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of simple monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1998. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," CFS Working Paper Series 1998/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  21. Leamer, Edward E, 1983. "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 31-43, March.
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  23. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Alexei Onatski & James H. Stock, 2000. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty in a Small Model of the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 7490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Garratt, Anthony & Kevin Lee & M Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin, 2002. "Forecast Uncertainties In Macroeconometric Modelling: An Application to the UK Economy," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 82, Royal Economic Society.
  26. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, May.
  27. repec:bla:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:4:p:1057-1084 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 111-144, February.
  29. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "The conquest of U.S. inflation: learning and robustness to model uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0478, European Central Bank.
  30. 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.
  31. Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Smoothing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 861-886.
  32. Christopher A. Sims, 2002. "The Role of Models and Probabilities in the Monetary Policy Process," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 1-62.
  33. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark F. J. Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 563-576.
  34. Marco Del Negro & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Policy predictions if the model doesn’t fit," Working Paper 2004-38, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  35. Chamberlain, Gary, 2000. "Econometrics and decision theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 255-283, April.
  36. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  37. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Certainty equivalence and model uncertainty," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 17-38.
  38. Marc P. Giannoni, 2007. "Robust optimal monetary policy in a forward-looking model with parameter and shock uncertainty," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 179-213.
  39. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:167-85 is not listed on IDEAS
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