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Ambiguous Business Cycles

  • Cosmin Ilut
  • Martin Schneider

This paper considers business cycle models with agents who dislike both risk and ambiguity (Knightian uncertainty). Ambiguity aversion is described by recursive multiple priors preferences that capture agents' lack of confidence in probability assessments. While modeling changes in risk typically requires higher-order approximations, changes in ambiguity in our models work like changes in conditional means. Our models thus allow for uncertainty shocks but can still be solved and estimated using first-order approximations. In our estimated medium-scale DSGE model, a loss of confidence about productivity works like 'unrealized' bad news. Time-varying confidence emerges as a major source of business cycle fluctuations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17900.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as \Ambiguous Business Cycles", with Martin Schneider, American Economic Review, forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17900
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Eric R. Sims, 2012. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," Working Papers 014, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2012.
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  7. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  8. Marco Cagetti & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams, 2002. "Robustness and Pricing with Uncertain Growth," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 363-404, March.
  9. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan Francisco, 2006. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 5513, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Susanto Basu & Brent Bundick, 2011. "Uncertainty Shocks in a Model of Effective Demand," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 774, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 20 Sep 2012.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  12. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
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