2,887 research outputs found

    Beliefs, Doubts and Learning: Valuing Economic Risk

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    This paper explores two perspectives on the rational expectations hypothesis. One perspective is that of economic agents in such a model, who form inferences about the future using probabilities implied by the model. The other is that of an econometrician who makes inferences about the probability model that economic agents are presumed to use. Typically it is assumed that economic agents know more than the econometrician, and econometric ambiguity is often withheld from the economic agents. To understand better both of these perspectives and the relation between them, I appeal to statistical decision theory to characterize when learning or discriminating among competing probability models is challenging. I also use choice theory under uncertainty to explore the ramifications of model uncertainty and learning in environments in which historical data may be insufficient to yield precise probability statements. I use both tools to reassess the macroeconomic underpinnings of asset pricing models. I illustrate how statistical ambiguity can alter the risk-return tradeoff familiar from asset pricing; and I show that when real time learning is included risk premia are larger when macroeconomic growth is lower than average.

    Aversion to ambiguity and model misspecification in dynamic stochastic environments

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    Preferences that accommodate aversion to subjective uncertainty and its potential misspecification in dynamic settings are a valuable tool of analysis in many disciplines. By generalizing previous analyses, we propose a tractable approach to incorporating broadly conceived responses to uncertainty. We illustrate our approach on some stylized stochastic environments. By design, these discrete time environments have revealing continuous time limits. Drawing on these illustrations, we construct recursive representations of intertemporal preferences that allow for penalized and smooth ambiguity aversion to subjective uncertainty. These recursive representations imply continuous time limiting Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman equations for solving control problems in the presence of uncertainty.Published versio

    Long Term Risk: An Operator Approach

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    We create an analytical structure that reveals the long run risk-return relationship for nonlinear continuous time Markov environments. We do so by studying an eigenvalue problem associated with a positive eigenfunction for a conveniently chosen family of valuation operators. This family forms a semigroup whose members are indexed by the elapsed time between payoff and valuation dates. We represent the semigroup using a positive process with three components: an exponential term constructed from the eigenvalue, a martingale and a transient eigenfunction term. The eigenvalue encodes the risk adjustment, the martingale alters the probability measure to capture long run approximation, and the eigenfunction gives the long run dependence on the Markov state. We establish existence and uniqueness of the relevant eigenvalue and eigenfunction. By showing how changes in the stochastic growth components of cash flows induce changes in the corresponding eigenvalues and eigenfunctions, we reveal a long-run risk return tradeoff.

    Certainty equivalence and model uncertainty

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    Simon’s and Theil’s certainty equivalence property justifies a convenient algorithm for solving dynamic programming problems with quadratic objectives and linear transition laws: first, optimize under perfect foresight, then substitute optimal forecasts for unknown future values. A similar decomposition into separate optimization and forecasting steps prevails when a decision maker wants a decision rule that is robust to model misspecification. Concerns about model misspecification leave the first step of the algorithm intact and affect only the second step of forecasting the future. The decision maker attains robustness by making forecasts with a distorted model that twists probabilities relative to his approximating model. The appropriate twisting emerges from a two-player zero-sum dynamic game.

    Acknowledgement Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory

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    We explore methods for confronting model misspecification in macroeconomics. We construct dynamic equilibria in which private agents and policy makers recognize that models are approximations. We explore two generalizations of rational expectations equilibria. In one of these equilibria, decision makers use dynamic evolution equations that are imperfect statistical approximations, and in the other misspecification is impossible to detect even from infinite samples of time-series data. In the first of these equilibria, decision rules are tailored to be robust to the allowable statistical discrepancies. Using frequency domain methods, we show that robust decision makers treat model misspecification like time-series econometricians.

    Efficient Estimation of Linear Asset Pricing Models with Moving-Average Errors

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    This paper explores in depth the nature of the conditional moment restrictions implied by log-linear intertemporal capital asset pricing models (ICAPMs) and shows that the generalized instrumental variables (GMM) estimators of these models (as typically implemented in practice) are inefficient. The moment conditions in the presence of temporally aggregated consumption are derived for two log-linear ICAPMs. The first is a continuous time model in which agents maximize expected utility. In the context of this model, we show that there are important asymmetries between the implied moment conditions for infinitely and finitely-lived securities. The second model assumes that agents maximize non-expected utility, and leads to a very similar econometric relation for the return on the wealth portfolio. Then we describe the efficiency bound (greatest lower bound for the asymptotic variances) of the CNN estimators of the preference parameters in these models. In addition, we calculate the efficient CNN estimators that attain this bound. Finally, we assess the gains in precision from using this optimal CNN estimator relative to the commonly used inefficient CMN estimators.