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Modeling Model Uncertainty

  • Alexei Onatski
  • Noah Williams

Recently there has been a great deal of interest in studying monetary policy under model uncertainty. We point out that different assumptions about the uncertainty may result in drastically different robust' policy recommendations. Therefore, we develop new methods to analyze uncertainty about the parameters of a model, the lag specification, the serial correlation of shocks, and the effects of real time data in one coherent structure. We consider both parametric and nonparametric specifications of this structure and use them to estimate the uncertainty in a small model of the US economy. We then use our estimates to compute robust Bayesian and minimax monetary policy rules, which are designed to perform well in the face of uncertainty. Our results suggest that the aggressiveness recently found in robust policy rules is likely to be caused by overemphasizing uncertainty about economic dynamics at low frequencies.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9566.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Publication status: published as Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2003. "Modeling Model Uncertainty," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1087-1122, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9566
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Andrew T.. Levin & Volker Wieland & John Williams, 1999. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 263-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  9. Söderström, Ulf, 2000. "Monetary policy with uncertain parameters," Working Paper Series 0013, European Central Bank.
  10. Christopher A. Sims, 2001. "Pitfalls of a Minimax Approach to Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 51-54, May.
  11. John Rust, 1997. "Using Randomization to Break the Curse of Dimensionality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 487-516, May.
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  14. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, June.
  15. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
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  18. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy rules based on real-time data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2004. "Solution of macromodels with Hansen-Sargent robust policies: some extensions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2367-2397, December.
  20. Alexei Onatski & James H. Stock, 1999. "Robust monetary policy under model uncertainty in a small model of the U.S. economy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  21. Alan S. Blinder, 1997. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: What Central Bankers Could Learn from Academics--And Vice Versa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 3-19, Spring.
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