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Macroeconomic Analysis without the Rational Expectations Hypothesis

  • Michael Woodford

This paper reviews a variety of alternative approaches to the specification of the expectations of economic decisionmakers in dynamic models, and reconsiders familiar results in the theory of monetary and fiscal policy when one allows for departures from the hypothesis of rational expectations. The various approaches are all illustrated in the context of a common model, a log-linearized New Keynesian model in which both households and firms solve infinite-horizon decision problems; under the hypothesis of rational expectations, the model reduces to the standard "3-equation model" used in studies such as Clarida et al. (1999). The alternative approaches considered include rationalizable equilibrium dynamics (Guesnerie, 2008); restricted perceptions equilibria (Branch, 2004); decreasing-gain and constant-gain variants of least-squares learning dynamics (Evans and Honkapohja, 2001); rational belief equilibria (Kurz, 2012); and near-rational expectations equilibria (Woodford, 2010). Issues treated include Ricardian equivalence; the determinacy of equilibrium under alternative interest-rate rules; non-fundamental sources of aggregate instability; the trade-off between inflation stabilization and output-gap stabilization; and the possibility of a "deflation trap."

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19368.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Publication status: published as Michael Woodford, 2013. "Macroeconomic Analysis Without the Rational Expectations Hypothesis," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 303-346, 05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19368
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  1. Andreas Fuster & Benjamin Hebert & David Laibson, 2011. "Natural Expectations, Macroeconomic Dynamics, and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 17301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bruce Preston, 2005. "Learning about Monetary Policy Rules when Long-Horizon Expectations Matter," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), September.
  3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  4. Slobodyan, Sergey & Wouters, Raf, 2012. "Learning in an estimated medium-scale DSGE model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 26-46.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-01-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2001. "Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2001-6, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 03 Aug 2001.
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  8. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium: I. Observable Actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 191-219, October.
  9. Adam, Klaus & Woodford, Michael, 2012. "Robustly optimal monetary policy in a microfounded New Keynesian model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(5), pages 468-487.
  10. Benhabib, Jess & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2012. "Liquidity Traps and Expectation Dynamics: Fiscal Stimulus or Fiscal Austerity?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9176, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo & Mitra, Kaushik, 2010. "Does Ricardian Equivalence Hold When Expectations are not Rational?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Roger Guesnerie, 2005. "Assessing Rational Expectations 2: "Eductive" Stability in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262072580.
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  25. Mordecai Kurz & Maurizio Motolese, 2007. "Diverse Beliefs and Time Variability of Risk Premia," Discussion Papers 06-044, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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