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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. Chamberlain, Gary, 2000. "Econometrics and decision theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 255-283, April.
  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. 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.).
  4. 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.
  5. Jonathan H. Wright, 2003. "Bayesian Model Averaging and exchange rate forecasts," International Finance Discussion Papers 779, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Glenn Rudebusch, 2000. "Assessing Nominal Income Rules for Monetary Policy with Model and Data Uncertainty," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0065, Econometric Society.
  7. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Rudebusch , Glenn, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Seminar Papers 637, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  8. Brock, W.A., 1995. "A Rational Route to Randomness," Working papers 9530, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  9. 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.
  10. John C. Williams & Andrew T. Levin, 2003. "Robust Monetary Policy with Competing Reference Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 291, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," Seminar Papers 646, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  13. M. Hashem Pesaran & Davide Pettenuzzo & Allan Timmermann, 2006. "Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 1057-1084.
  14. M. Hashem Pesaran, 2000. "Forecast Uncertainties in Macroeconometric Modelling: An Application to the UK Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 345, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Salmon, Mark, 2002. "Robust Decision Theory And The Lucas Critique," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 167-185, February.
  16. 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.
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  18. repec:bla:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:4:p:1057-1084 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. 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.
  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. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "The conquest of US inflation: Learning and robustness to model uncertainty," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 528-563, April.
  22. 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.
  23. William A. Brock & Steven N.Durlauf, 2000. "Growth Economics and Reality," NBER Working Papers 8041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
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  28. 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.
  29. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  31. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark Steel, 1999. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Econometrics 9903003, EconWPA, revised 06 Oct 2001.
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  36. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
  37. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, June.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
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