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Rational inattention: a research agenda

  • Sims, Christopher A.

The literature applying information-theoretic ideas to economics has so far considered only Gaussian uncertainty. Ex post Gaussian uncertainty can be justified as optimal when the associated optimization problem is linear-quadratic, but the literature has often assumed Gaussian uncertainty even where it cannot be justified as optimal. This paper considers a simple two-period optimal saving problem with a Shannon capacity constraint and non-quadratic utility. It derives an optimal ex post probability density for wealth in two leading cases (log and linear utility) and lays out a general approach for handling other cases numerically. It displays and discusses numerical solutions for other utility functions, and considers the feasibility of extending this paper?s approaches to general non-LQ dynamic programming problems. The introduction of the paper discusses approaches that have been taken in the existing literature to applying Shannon capacity to economic modeling, making criticisms and suggesting promising directions for further progress.

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Paper provided by Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre in its series Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies with number 2005,34.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:4228
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  1. Michael Funke & Sebastian Weber & Jörg Döpke & Sean Holly, 2005. "The Cross-Sectional Dynamics of German Business Cycles: A Bird´s Eye View," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20508, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
  2. Falko Fecht & Kevin X. D. Huang & Antoine Martin, 2004. "Financial intermediaries, markets, and growth," Working Papers 04-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. John Y. Campbell & Jens Hilscher & Jan Szilagyi, 2008. "In Search of Distress Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2899-2939, December.
  4. Koetter, Michael & Bos, Jaap W. B. & Heid, Frank & Kool, Clemens J. M. & Kolari, James W. & Porath, Daniel, 2005. "Accounting for distress in bank mergers," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2005,09, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  5. Hamerle, Alfred & Liebig, Thilo & Scheule, Harald, 2004. "Forecasting Credit Portfolio Risk," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2004,01, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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