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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. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James H., 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty In A Small Model Of The U.S. Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 85-110, February.
  3. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Pettenuzzo, Davide & Timmermann, Allan, 2004. "Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks," IZA Discussion Papers 1196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2003. "Modeling Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 9566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Rudebusch , Glenn, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Seminar Papers 637, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2000. "Assessing nominal income rules for monetary policy with model and data uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0014, European Central Bank.
  8. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N. & West,K.D., 2003. "Policy evaluation in uncertain economic environments," Working papers 15, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  9. Svensson, Lars E O, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," CEPR Discussion Papers 1998, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Marco Del Negro & Frank Schorfheide, 2005. "Policy Predictions if the Model Does Not Fit," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 434-443, 04/05.
  11. Jonathan H. Wright, 2003. "Forecasting U.S. inflation by Bayesian Model Averaging," International Finance Discussion Papers 780, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Garrat, A. & Lee, K. & Pesaran, M.H. & Shin, Y., 2000. "Forecast Uncertainties in Macroeconometric Modelling: An Application to the UK Economy," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0004, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  13. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Econometrics 0110002, EconWPA.
  14. 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.
  15. William A. Brock & Steven N.Durlauf, 2000. "Growth Economics and Reality," NBER Working Papers 8041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  17. 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.
  18. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:111-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. 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.
  20. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2003. "Elements of a theory of design limits to optimal policy," Working papers 25, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  21. Levin, Andrew T. & Williams, John C., 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 945-975, July.
  22. Avramov, Doron, 2002. "Stock return predictability and model uncertainty," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 423-458, June.
  23. Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Smoothing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 861-886, October.
  24. Wright, Jonathan H., 2008. "Bayesian Model Averaging and exchange rate forecasts," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 329-341, October.
  25. 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.
  26. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 6570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Chamberlain, Gary, 2000. "Econometrics and decision theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 255-283, April.
  28. 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.
  29. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," NBER Working Papers 7750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. 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.
  31. William A. Brock & Cars H. Hommes, 1997. "A Rational Route to Randomness," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1059-1096, September.
  32. repec:bla:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:4:p:1057-1084 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Mark Salmon & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2001. "Robust Decision Theory and the Lucas Critique," Working Papers wp01-10, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  34. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
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  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, Abril.
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