William A. Branch

William A. Branch
University of California, Irvine | UCI · Department of Economics

About

38
Publications
2,750
Reads
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1,734
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2004 - present
University of California, Irvine
Position
  • Professor
August 2001 - June 2004
College of William and Mary
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 1996 - June 2001
University of Oregon
Field of study
  • Economics
August 1990 - June 1994
College of William and Mary
Field of study
  • Economics/Mathematics

Publications

Publications (38)
Article
This paper shows that belief‐driven economic fluctuations are a general feature of many determinate macroeconomic models. In environments with hidden state variables, forecast‐model misspecification can break the link between indeterminacy and sunspots by establishing the existence of “statistical sunspots” in models that have a unique rational exp...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper shows that belief-driven economic fluctuations are a general feature of many determinate macroeconomic models. Model misspecification can break the link between indeterminacy and sunspots by establishing the existence of "statistical sunspots" in models that have a unique rational expectations equilibrium. Building on the insights of Mar...
Article
This paper studies long-run inflation targets and stability in an imper-fect information environment. When central banks set an inflation target that is not fully communicated, agents draw inferences about inflation from recent data and remain alert to structural change in their econometric model by forming expectations from a forecasting model tha...
Article
We develop a two-sector search-matching model of the labor market with imperfect mobility of workers, augmented to incorporate a housing market and a frictional goods market. Homeowners use home equity as collateral to finance idiosyncratic consumption opportunities. A financial innovation that raises the acceptability of homes as collateral raises...
Article
Heterogeneous beliefs are introduced into the monetary economy of Lagos and Wright (2005) and the implications for monetary equilibria are considered. An endogenous fraction of agents hold rational expectations and the remaining agents employ an adaptive learning rule similar to Evans and Honkapohja (2001) and Brock and Hommes (1997). Three primary...
Article
Insufficient liquidity can lead to substantial movements in asset prices. There is a single asset traded in a centralized market that facilitates exchange in decentralized trade. If the asset is in short supply the price includes a liquidity premium. Traders have imperfect knowledge about future asset prices and estimate, in real-time, an econometr...
Article
Actual federal funds rates in the U.S. have, at times, deviated from the recommendations of a simple Taylor rule. This paper proposes a “nowcasting” Taylor rule that preserves the form of the Taylor rule but encompasses realistic assumptions on information observable to policymakers. Because contemporaneous inflation rates and output gaps are not o...
Article
A restricted-perceptions equilibrium exists in which risk-averse agents believe stock prices follow a random walk with a conditional variance that is self-fulfilling. When agents estimate risk, bubbles and crashes arise. These effects are stronger when agents allow for ARCH in excess returns.
Article
Full-text available
This paper studies adaptive learning in economic environments subject to recurring structural change. Stochastically evolving institutional and policy-making features can be described by regime-switching rational expectations models whose parameters evolve according to a finite state Markov process. We demonstrate that in non-linear models of this...
Article
Full-text available
Incorporating adaptive learning into macroeconomics requires assumptions about how agents incorporate their forecasts into their decision-making. We develop a theory of bounded rationality that we call finite-horizon learning. This approach generalizes the two existing benchmarks in the literature: Eulerequation learning, which assumes that consump...
Article
Full-text available
This paper studies the implications for business cycle dynamics of heterogeneous expectations in a stochastic growth model. The assumption of homogeneous, rational expectations is replaced with a heterogeneous expectations model where a fraction of agents hold rational expectations and the remaining fraction adopt parsimonious forecasting models th...
Article
This paper introduces dynamic predictor selection into a New Keynesian model with heterogeneous expectations and examines its implications for monetary policy. We extend Branch and McGough (2009) by incorporating endogenous time-varying predictor proportions along the lines of Brock and Hommes (1997). We find that periodic orbits and complex dynami...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we analyze a credit economy � la Kiyotaki and Moore [1997. Credit cycles. Journal of Political Economy 105, 211-248] enriched with learning dynamics, where both borrowers and lenders need to form expectations about the future price of the collateral. We find that under homogeneous learning, the MSV REE for this economy is E-stable and...
Article
Full-text available
This article advocates a theory of expectation formation that incorporates many of the central motivations of behavioral finance theory while retaining much of the discipline of the rational expectations approach. We provide a framework in which agents, in an asset pricing model, underparameterize their forecasting model in a spirit similar to Hong...
Article
Within a New Keynesian model, we incorporate bounded rationality at the individual agent level, and we determine restrictions on expectations operators sufficient to imply aggregate IS and AS relations of the same functional form as those under rationality. This result provides dual implications: the strong nature of the restrictions required to ac...
Article
This article considers the interaction of optimal monetary policy and agents’ beliefs. We assume that agents choose their information acquisition rate by minimising a loss function that depends on expected forecast errors and information costs. Endogenous inattention is a Nash equilibrium in the information processing rate. Although a decline of po...
Article
This paper examines the implications of forward- and backward-looking monetary policy rules in an environment with monetary-fiscal interactions. We find that the unique stationary rational expectations equilibrium (REE) is always non-Ricardian under simple implementable monetary policy rules. Copyright (c) 2008 The Ohio State University.
Article
Full-text available
This paper demonstrates that an asset pricing model with least-squares learning can lead to bubbles and crashes as endogenous responses to the fundamentals driving asset prices. When agents are risk-averse they need to make forecasts of the conditional variance of a stock's return. Recursive updating of both the conditional variance and the expecte...
Article
This paper extends the adaptively rational equilibrium dynamics of Brock and Hommes [Brock, W.A., Hommes, C.H., 1997. A rational route to randomness. Econometrica 65, 1059–1160] by introducing a generalized version of the replicator dynamic. The replicator equilibrium dynamics (RED) couples the price dynamics of a Cobweb model with predictor select...
Article
This paper compares three reduced-form models of heterogeneity in survey inflation expectations. On the one hand, we specify two models of forecasting inflation based on limited information flows of the type developed in Mankiw and Reis [2002. Sticky information versus sticky prices: a proposal to replace the new Keynesian Phillips curve. Quarterly...
Article
This paper identifies two channels through which the economy can generate endogenous inflation and output volatility, an empirical regularity, by introducing model uncertainty into a Lucas-type monetary model. The equilibrium path of inflation depends on agents' expectations and a vector of exogenous random variables. Following Branch and Evans (20...
Article
Full-text available
Regime-switching rational expectations models, in which the parameters of the model evolve according to a finite state Markov process, have properties that differentiate them from linear models. Issues that are well understood in linear contexts, such as equilibrium determinacy and stability under adaptive learning, re-emerge in this new context. T...
Article
This paper develops an adaptive learning formulation of an extension to the Ball, Mankiw and Reis (2005) sticky information model that incorporates endogenous inattention. We show that, following an exogenous increase in the policymaker's preferences for price vs. output stability, the learning process can converge to a new equilibrium in which bot...
Article
We introduce the concept of Misspecification Equilibrium to dynamic macroeconomics. Agents choose between a list of misspecified econometric models and base their selection on relative forecast performance. A Misspecification Equilibrium is a stochastic process in which agents forecast optimally given their choices, with forecast model parameters a...
Article
This paper generalizes existence results on first-order Stochastic Consistent Expectations Equilibria (SCEE) obtained by Hommes et al. (Learning to Believe in Linearity in an Unknown Nonlinear Stochastic Economy, 2002). We present a stochastic non-linear self-referential model in which expectations are based on linear perceptions. In an SCEE the sa...
Article
We compare the performance of alternative recursive forecasting models. A simple constant gain algorithm, used widely in the learning literature, both forecasts well out of sample and also provides the best fit to the Survey of Professional Forecasters.
Article
Full-text available
This paper fills an important gap in the literature on determinacy and existence of sunspot equilibria in stochastic linear self-referential models. The results in this paper demonstrate that heterogeneity in expectations may alter a model's regions of determinacy. We show how to associate with a heterogeneous expectations model (HE-model) a ration...
Article
Previous work with survey data on inflationary expectations casts doubt on the Rational Expectations Hypothesis. In this paper, we develop a model of expectation formation where agents form their forecasts of inflation by selecting a predictor function from a set of costly alternatives whereby they may rationally choose a method other than the most...
Article
Many models of monetary policy predict a trade-off between inflation and output variance despite compelling evidence that the Federal Reserve has become more aggressive in fighting inflation and there has been a resulting decline in both inflation and output variance. We address this apparent puzzle by studying the interaction of optimal monetary p...
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1970's Rational Expectations (RE) has become the dominant paradigm in macroeconomics. One reason for its popularity is the consistency it imposes between beliefs and outcomes. Under RE agents'subjective probability distribution coincides with the true distribution for the economy. Not surprisingly, a large literature objects to RE on the...
Article
This paper gives local stability conditions for convergence of the price dynamics in a cobweb model with rationally heterogeneous expectations, generalizing the example of Brock and Hommes (1997). When agents choose between rational, naive, and adaptive beliefs, the steady state may be locally asymptotically stable if the adaptive predictor places...
Article
Full-text available
Previous work with survey data on inflationary expectations casts doubt on the Rational Expectations Hypothesis. In this paper, we develop a model of expectation formation where agents form their forecasts of inflation by selecting a predictor function from a set of costly alternatives whereby they may rationally choose a method other than the most...

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