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Ambiguous Business Cycles

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  • Cosmin Ilut
  • Martin Schneider

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cosmin Ilut & Martin Schneider, 2012. "Ambiguous Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 17900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17900
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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