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Learning and Excess Volatility

  • James Bullard

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • John Duffy

    ()

    (University of Pittsburgh)

We introduce adaptive learning behavior into a general equilibrium lifecycle economy with capital accumulation. Agents form forecasts of the rate of return to capital assets using least squares autoregressions on past data. We show that, in contrast to the perfect foresight dynamics, a dynamical system under learning-possess equilibria is characterized by persistent excess volatility in returns to capital. We explore a quantitative case for these learning equilibria. We use an evolutionary search algorithm to calibrate a version of the system under learning and show that this system can generate data that matches some features of the time-series data for U.S. stock returns and per capita consumption. We argue that this finding provides support for the hypothesis that the observed excess volatility in asset returns can be explained by changes in investor expectations against a background of relatively small changes in fundamental factors.

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 with number 224.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf9:224
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CEF99, Boston College, Department of Economics, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA

Fax: +1-617-552-2308
Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/CEF99/

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  1. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303 Elsevier.
  2. Jean-Michel Grandmont, 1997. "Expectations Formation and Stability of Large Socioeconomic Systems," Working Papers 97-27, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  3. Allan Timmermann, 1996. "Excess Volatility and Predictability of Stock Prices in Autoregressive Dividend Models with Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 523-557.
  4. Kenneth D. West, 1988. "Bubbles, Fads, and Stock Price Volatility Tests: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 2574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-27, May.
  6. repec:cup:macdyn:v:2:y:1998:i:3:p:287-321 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Arifovic, Jasmina & Bullard, James & Duffy, John, 1997. "The Transition from Stagnation to Growth: An Adaptive Learning Approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 185-209, July.
  8. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1996. "The Behavior of the Exchange Rate in the Genetic Algorithm and Experimental Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 510-41, June.
  9. Poterba, James M. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1988. "Mean reversion in stock prices : Evidence and Implications," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 27-59, October.
  10. Bray, Margaret M & Savin, Nathan E, 1986. "Rational Expectations Equilibria, Learning, and Model Specification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1129-60, September.
  11. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
  12. Brock, W.A. & Hommes, C.H., 1996. "A Rational Route to Randomness," Working papers 9530r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  14. Marcet, Albert & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "Recurrent Hyperinflations and Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1875, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Allan G. Timmermann, 1993. "How Learning in Financial Markets Generates Excess Volatility and Predictability in Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1135-1145.
  16. John Y. Campbell, 1990. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," NBER Working Papers 3246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. W. Brian Arthur & John H. Holland & Blake LeBaron & Richard Palmer & Paul Taylor, 1996. "Asset Pricing Under Endogenous Expectation in an Artificial Stock Market," Working Papers 96-12-093, Santa Fe Institute.
  19. Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Cyclical and Secular Behavior of the Labor Input : Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Papers 36, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  20. Farebrother, R W, 1980. "The Durbin-Watson Test for Serial Correlation When There Is No Intercept in the Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1553-63, September.
  21. James B. Bullard, 1991. "Learning equilibria," Working Papers 1991-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  22. Hommes, Cars & Sorger, Gerhard, 1998. "Consistent Expectations Equilibria," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 287-321, September.
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