The Effects of News Shocks and Bounded Rationality on Macroeconomic Volatility
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This dissertation studies the impact embedding boundedly rational agents in real business cycle-type news-shock models may have on a variety of model predictions, from simulated moments to structural parameter estimates. In particular, I analyze the qualitative and quantitative effects of assuming agents are boundedly rational in a class of DSGE models which attempt to explain the observed volatility and comovements in key aggregate measures of U.S. economic performance as the result of endogenous responses to information in the form of ``news shocks''. The first chapter explores the theoretical feasibility of relaxing the rational expectations hypothesis in a three-sector real business cycle (RBC) model which generates boom-bust cycles as a result of periods of optimism and pessimism on the part of households. The second chapter determines whether agents forming linear forecasts of shadow prices in a nonlinear framework can lead to behavior approximately consistent with fully informed individuals in a one-sector real business cycle model. The third chapter analyzes whether empirical estimates of the relative importance of anticipated shocks may be biased by assuming rational expectations. By merging the two hitherto separate but complementary strands of literature related to bounded rationality and news shocks I am able to conduct in-depth analysis of the importance of both the information agents have and what they choose to do with it. At its core, the study of news in macroeconomics is a study of the specific role alternative information sets play in generating macroeconomic volatility. Adaptive learning on the other hand is concerned with the behavior of agents given an information set. Taken together, these fields jointly describe the input and the ``black box'' which produce model predictions from DSGE models. While previous research has been conducted on the effects of bounded rationality or news shocks in isolation, this dissertation marks the first set of research explicitly focused on the interaction of these two model features.