Learning as a Rational Foundation for Macroeconomics and Finance

55 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2011

See all articles by George W. Evans

George W. Evans

University of Oregon - Department of Economics; University of St. Andrews - School of Economics and Finance

Seppo Honkapohja

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Aalto University School of Business; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Aalto University - School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

Expectations play a central role in modern macroeconomics. The econometric learning approach, in line with the cognitive consistency principle, models agents as forming expectations by estimating and updating subjective forecasting models in real time. This approach provides a stability test for RE equilibria and a selection criterion in models with multiple equilibria. Further features of learning, such as discounting of older data, use of misspecified models, or heterogeneous choice by agents between competing models, generate novel learning dynamics. Empirical applications are reviewed and the roles of the planning horizon and structural knowledge are discussed. We develop several applications of learning to macroeconomic policy: the scope of Ricardian equivalence, appropriate specification of interest-rate rules, implementation of price-level targeting to achieve learning-stability of the optimal RE equilibrium and whether under learning price-level targeting can rule out the deflation trap at the zero-lower-bound.

Keywords: asset prices, business cycles, Cognitive consistency, E-stability, least-squares, monetary policy, persistent learning dynamics

JEL Classification: C62, D83, D84, E32

Suggested Citation

Evans, George W. and Honkapohja, Seppo and Honkapohja, Seppo, Learning as a Rational Foundation for Macroeconomics and Finance (April 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8340, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1815815

George W. Evans (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )

1285 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States
541-346-4662 (Phone)
541-346-1243 (Fax)

University of St. Andrews - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

The Scores, Castlecliff
St. Andrews, Fife KY16 8RD
United Kingdom
44-1334-462435 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/economics/staff/pages.g.evans.shtml

Seppo Honkapohja

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Aalto University School of Business ( email )

, PO Box 21210
Aalto FI-00076
Finland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Aalto University - School of Business

Finland

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