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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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17900.pdf
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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
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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. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  2. 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.
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  4. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. R?diger Bachmann & Steffen Elstner & Eric R. Sims, 2013. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 217-49, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Justiniano, Alejandro & Primiceri, Giorgio E & Tambalotti, Andrea, 2009. "Investment Shocks and the Relative Price of Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7598, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2006. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," NBER Technical Working Papers 0321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Francois Gourio, 2012. "Disaster Risk and Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2734-66, October.
  11. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  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.
  13. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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