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Mirko Wiederholt

19 February 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1009
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Abstract
This paper presents a model in which price setting firms decide what to pay attention to, subject to a constraint on information flow. When idiosyncratic conditions are more variable or more important than aggregate conditions, firms pay more attention to idiosyncratic conditions than to aggregate conditions. When we calibrate the model to match the large average absolute size of price changes observed in micro data, prices react fast and by large amounts to idiosyncratic shocks, but prices react only slowly and by small amounts to nominal shocks. Nominal shocks have strong and persistent real effects. We use the model to investigate how the optimal allocation of attention and the dynamics of prices depend on the firms’ environment.
JEL Code
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
D8 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
20 April 2011
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1331
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Abstract
We develop a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with rational inattention by households and firms. Consumption responds slowly to interest rate changes because households decide to pay little attention to the real interest rate. Prices respond quickly to some shocks and slowly to other shocks. The mix of fast and slow responses of prices to shocks matches the pattern found in the empirical literature. Changes in the conduct of monetary policy yield very different outcomes than in models currently used at central banks because systematic changes in policy cause reallocation of attention by decision-makers in households and firms.
JEL Code
D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
21 August 2015
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1841
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Abstract
The world recently experienced several rare events with disastrous consequences: the global financial crisis, the European sovereign debt crisis, and the Fukushima nuclear accident. These events have in common that key decision-makers were unprepared for them, which aggravated these events. We develop a model in which agents make state-contingent plans
JEL Code
D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
E60 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→General
31 January 2017
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2007
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Abstract
Dynamic rational inattention problems used to be difficult to solve. This paper provides simple, analytical results for dynamic rational inattention problems. We start from the benchmark rational inattention problem. An agent tracks a variable of interest that follows a Gaussian process. The agent chooses how to pay attention to this variable. The agent aims to minimize, say, the mean squared error subject to a constraint on information flow, as in Sims (2003). We prove that if the variable of interest follows an ARMA(p,q) process, the optimal signal is about a linear combination of {Xt,…,Xt-p+1} and {εt,…, εt-q+1}, where Xt denotes the variable of interest and εt denotes its period t innovation. The optimal signal weights can be computed from a simple extension of the Kalman filter: the usual Kalman filter equations in combination with first-order conditions for the optimal signal weights. We provide several analytical results regarding those signal weights. We also prove the equivalence of several different formulations of the information flow constraint. We conclude with general equilibrium applications from Macroeconomics.
JEL Code
D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
21 June 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2570
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Abstract
We review the recent literature on rational inattention, identify the main theoretical mechanisms, and explain how it helps us understand a variety of phenomena across fields of economics. The theory of rational inattention assumes that agents cannot process all available information, but they can choose which exact pieces of information to attend to. Several important results in economics have been built around imperfect information. Nowadays, many more forms of information than ever before are available due to new technologies, and yet we are able to digest little of it. Which form of imperfect information we possess and act upon is thus largely determined by which information we choose to pay attention to. These choices are driven by current economic conditions and imply behavior that features numerous empirically supported departures from standard models. Combining these insights about human limitations with the optimizing approach of neoclassical economics yields a new, generally applicable model.
JEL Code
D8 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty