NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Alexei Onatski

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

August 2005Monetary Policy Under Uncertainty in Micro-Founded Macroeconometric Models
with Andrew T. Levin, John C. Williams, Noah Williams: w11523
We use a micro-founded macroeconometric modeling framework to investigate the design of monetary policy when the central bank faces uncertainty about the true structure of the economy. We apply Bayesian methods to estimate the parameters of the baseline specification using postwar U.S. data, and then determine the policy under commitment that maximizes household welfare. We find that the performance of the optimal policy is closely matched by a simple operational rule that focuses solely on stabilizing nominal wage inflation. Furthermore, this simple wage stabilization rule is remarkably robust to uncertainty about the model parameters and to various assumptions regarding the nature and incidence of the innovations. However, the characteristics of optimal policy are very sensitive to the s...
March 2003Modeling Model Uncertainty
with Noah Williams: w9566
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...
April 2001Searching for Prosperity
with Michael Kremer, James Stock: w8250
Quah's [1993a] transition matrix analysis of world income distribution based on annual data suggests an ergodic distribution with twin peaks at the rich and poor end of the distribution. Since the ergodic distribution is a highly non-linear function of the underlying transition matrix estimated extremely noisily. Estimates over the foreseeable future are more precise. The Markovian assumptions underlying the analysis are much better satisfied with an analysis based on five-year transitions than one-year transitions. Such an analysis yields an ergodic distribution with 72% of mass in the top income category, but a prolonged transition, during which some inequality measures increase. The rosy ergodic forecast and prolonged transition arise because countries' relative incomes move both up and...
January 2000Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty in a Small Model of the U.S. Economy
with James H. Stock: w7490
This paper examines monetary policy in Rudebusch and Svensson's (1999) two equation macroeconomic model when the policymaker recognizes that the model is an approximation and is uncertain about the quality of that approximation. It is argued that the minimax approach of robust control provides a general and tractable alternative to the conventional Bayesian decision theoretic approach. Robust control techniques are used to construct robust monetary policies. In most (but not all) cases, these robust policies are more aggressive than the optimal policies absent model uncertainty. The specific robust policies depend strongly on the formation of model uncertainty used, and we make some suggestions about which formulation is most relevant for monetary policy applications.

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