This study explores the macroeconomic implications of adaptive expectations in a standard real business cycle model. When rational expectations are replaced by adaptive expectations, we show that the self-confirming equilibrium is the same as the steady-state rational expectations equilibrium for all admissible parameters but that dynamics around the steady state are substantially different between the two equilibria. The differences are driven mainly by the dampened wealth effect and the strengthened intertemporal substitution effect, not by the escapes emphasized by Williams (2003). As a result, adaptive expectations can be an important source of frictions that amplify and propagate technology shocks and seem promising for generating plausible labor market dynamics.
JEL classification: E32
Key words: self-confirming equilibrium, amplification, labor market dynamics, wealth and substitution effects, hump-shaped responses
The authors thank the referees and the editor as well as Klaus Adam, James Bullard, Marty Eichenbaum, Martin Ellison, George Evans, Seppo Honkapohja, Selo Imrohoroglu, Bruce Preston, Tom Sargent, and Paolo Surico for helpful comments. The views expressed here are the authors' and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the authors' responsibility.
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