NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

On Non-Uniqueness in Rational Expectations Models: An Attempt at Perspective

Bennett T. McCallum

NBER Working Paper No. 684 (Also Reprint No. r0402)
Issued in June 1981
NBER Program(s):   EFG

Many macroeconomic models involving rational expect at ions give rise to an infinity of solution paths, even when the models are linear in all variables. Some writers have suggested that this non-uniqueness constitutes a serious weakness for the rational expectations hypothesis. One purpose of the present paper is to argue that the non-uniqueness in question is not properly attributable to the rationality hypothesis but, instead, is a general feature of dynamic models involving expectations. It is also argued that there typically exists, in a very wide class of linear rational expectations models, a single solution that excludes "bubble" or "bootstrap" effects -- ones that occur only because they are arbitrarily expected to occur. A systematic procedure for obtaining solutions free from such effects is introduced and discussed. In addition, this procedure is used to interpret and reconsider several prominent examples with solution multiplicities, including ones developed by Fischer Black and John B. Taylor.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0684

Published: McCallum, Bennett T. "On Non-Uniqueness in Rational Expectations Models: An Attempt at Perspective." Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 11, No. 2, (March 1983) pp. 139-168. citation courtesy of

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