Hui He
Department of Economics
University of Hawaii at Manoa
October, 2007
c _ Hui He, All rights reserved.
ii
Contents
I Foundation 1
1 An Overview 3
1.1 How to Describe a Macro Economy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2 A Simple Dynamic Economy: OneSector Optimal Growth Model 5
1.2.1 Optimal Growth: Planners Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.2.2 Solving Optimal Growth Model: The Euler Equation Ap
proach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.2.3 Solving Optimal Growth Model: The Dynamic Program
ming Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.3 A Stochastic Optimal Growth Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.3.1 Markov Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.3.2 A Stochastic Model of Optimal Growth . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.4 Competitive Equilibrium Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.4.1 Denition of Competitive Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.4.2 Characterization of the Competitive Equilibrium . . . . . 15
1.4.3 More on Two Welfare Theorems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
1.4.4 Sequential Markets Equilibrium (SME) . . . . . . . . . . 18
1.4.5 Recursive Competitive Equilibrium (RCE) . . . . . . . . . 19
1.5 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2 Mathematical Preliminaries 23
2.1 Metric Spaces and Normed Vector Spaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
2.2 The Contraction Mapping Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
2.3 The Theorem of the Maximum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3 Dynamic Programming Under Certainty 31
3.1 The Principle of Optimality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
3.2 Dynamic Programming with Bounded Returns . . . . . . . . . . 39
4 Computational Dynamic Programming 45
4.1 Three Computational Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
4.1.1 Value Function Iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
4.1.2 Guess and Verify . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
4.1.3 Policy Function Iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
iii
iv CONTENTS
4.2 Practical Dynamic Programming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
4.2.1 Discretestate Dynamic Programming . . . . . . . . . . . 48
4.3 Polynomial Approximations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
4.3.1 Computational Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
4.3.2 Chebyshev Polynomials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
4.3.3 Numerical Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
5 Linear Quadratic Dynamic Programming 55
5.1 The Optimal Linear Regulator Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
5.1.1 The Linear Quadratic Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
5.1.2 Value Function Iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
5.1.3 Discounted Optimal Linear Regulator Problem . . . . . . 57
5.1.4 Policy Function Iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
5.1.5 Stochastic Optimal Linear Regulator Problem . . . . . . . 58
5.2 LinearQuadratic Approximations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
II Applications 65
6 Economic Growth 67
6.1 Stylized Facts About Economic Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
6.1.1 Kaldors stylized facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
6.1.2 Other Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
6.2 Exogenous Growth Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
6.2.1 Solow Growth Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
6.2.2 Balanced Growth Path . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
6.2.3 Emprical Evaluation of Solow Model . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
6.2.4 Choosing Growth (RamseyCaseKoopmans Model) . . . 74
6.2.5 A Little Digress on Utility Function . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
6.2.6 Solving the Balanced Growth Path . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
6.3 Endogenous Growth Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
6.3.1 The 1 Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
6.3.2 Romers Externality Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
6.3.3 Lucas Endogenous Growth Model with Human Capital . 86
6.3.4 Rebelos TwoSector Endogenous Growth Model . . . . . 89
7 Asset Pricing 93
7.1 Lucas Tree Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
7.1.1 Lucas Tree Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
7.1.2 Basic Asset Pricing Formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
7.2 The Equity Premium Puzzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
7.2.1 The Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
7.2.2 The Calibration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
7.3 Solving Equity Premium Puzzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
7.3.1 EpsteinZin Recursive Utility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
7.3.2 Habit Persistence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
CONTENTS v
7.3.3 Alternative Habit Model: Catching Up with the Joneses . 109
8 Real Business Cycles and Calibration Exercise 113
8.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
8.2 Stylized Facts about Business Cycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
8.2.1 Early Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
8.2.2 Kydland and Prescott (1982): How to Convert Raw Data
into Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
8.3 Theory After Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
8.3.1 The Benchmark Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
8.3.2 How to Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
8.3.3 Calibration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
9 Overlapping Generations Model 133
9.1 A Pure Exchange Overlapping Generations Model . . . . . . . . 134
9.1.1 Basic Setup of the Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
9.1.2 Denition of Competitive Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . 135
9.1.3 Characterization of the Equilibrium Solutions . . . . . . . 137
9.1.4 Analysis of the Model Using Oer Curves . . . . . . . . . 141
9.1.5 Pareto Optimality in OLG Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
9.1.6 Monetary Equilibrium in OLG Model . . . . . . . . . . . 148
9.2 Government Policys in Overlapping Generations Model . . . . . 154
9.2.1 PayAsYouGo Social Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
9.2.2 The Ricardian Equivalence Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . 156
9.3 Overlapping Generations Models with Production . . . . . . . . . 170
9.3.1 Basic Setup of the Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
9.3.2 Characterization of the Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
9.3.3 An Analytical Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
9.3.4 Dynamic Eciency in the Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
10 BewleyAiyagari Incomplete Market Model 179
10.1 Stylized Facts about the Income and Wealth Distribution . . . . 180
10.1.1 Data Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
10.1.2 Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
10.2 The Classic Income Fluctuation Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
10.2.1 Deterministic Income . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
10.2.2 Stochastic Income and Borrowing Limits . . . . . . . . . . 194
10.3 Economies with Idiosyncratic Risk and Incomplete Markets . . . 197
10.3.1 A Savings Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
10.3.2 Wealthemployment Distributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
10.3.3 Stationary Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
10.3.4 Computing Stationary Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
10.3.5 Borrowing Constraint: Natural vs. Ad Hoc . . . . . . . . 206
10.3.6 Equilibrium Interest Rate and Savings under Idiosyncratic
Risk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
10.3.7 Numerical Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
vi CONTENTS
10.4 Extension of Aiyagari Model with Aggregate Shocks . . . . . . . 214
10.4.1 KrusellSmiths Model Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
10.4.2 Recursive Competitive Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
10.4.3 Computing the Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
10.4.4 Numerical Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
10.5 Some Applications of BewleyAiyagari Model . . . . . . . . . . . 223
10.5.1 Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity
Constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
10.5.2 Wealth Distribution in LifeCycle Economies . . . . . . . 228
10.5.3 A LifeCycle Analysis of Social Security . . . . . . . . . . 234
11 References 245
Preface
This is the lecture notes for the ECON607 course that I am currently teaching at
University of Hawaii. It is heavily based on Stokey, Lucas and Prescott (1989),
Ljungqvist and Sargent (2004), Dirk Kruegers Macroeconomic Theory Lec
ture Notes, and Per Krusells Lecture Notes for Macroeconomic I. I learned a
lot from their books and notes. For this, I have my sincerest thanks.
I learned (and am still learning) Dynamic Macroeconomics from a series of
great teachers. Among them, I would like to thank especially Selo Imrohoroglu,
Caroline Betts, V.V. Chari, Larry Jones, Ed Prescott, Narayana Kocherlakota,
Ellen McGrattan, and Michele Boldrin. This notes is dedicated to them.
I would also like to thank my students at UH for contributing to this notes
in their way. Especially I thank John Rush and Sean Doyle for comments on
the manuscript.
vii
viii PREFACE
Part I
Foundation
1
Chapter 1
An Overview
1.1 How to Describe a Macro Economy?
Macroeconomics is a language. Ed. Prescott
Macroeconomics tries to understand the market interactions and the deci
sions in market settings.
The basic analytical tools for dynamic macroeconomics (or recursive macro
economics) are:
1. maximization
2. equilibrium
How to describe an economy? An economy consists of
1. A list of objects: e.g., commodity space 1 _ 1
l
2. Types of Actors: i 1 for households, , J for rms
3. Consumption sets: A
I
1 and Production sets: 1
1
4. Endowments: .
I
1 and prot shares 0
I
1
=l
, r
I
A
I
, j
re
source feasible if
1
I=l
r
I
=
=l
j
I=l
.
I
.
Denition 2 A competitive equilibrium (CE) is an allocation, and a price
system j 1
l
, such that:
(i). Household i solves
max
r1
n
I
(r
I
) (1.1)
:.t.
jr
I
_ j.
I
=l
0
I
jj
jj
:.t.
j
=l
Pareto Dominates (r
I
)
1
I=l
, (j
=l
if n
I
( r
I
) _ n
I
(r
I
), with inequality for at least one i. An allocation is Pareto
optimal (PO) when no other feasible allocation Pareto Dominates it.
In the following lectures, we will demonstrate that a competitive equilibrium
is Pareto Optimal. We will also prove that under some conditions, any PO
allocation can be supported as a CE. In other words, we will establish the
equivalence between CE and PO. In particular, we have following theorems.
Theorem 4 (First Welfare Theorem): If n
I
is strictly increasing for all i, com
petitive equilibrium allocations are Pareto Optimal.
Theorem 5 (Second Welfare Theorem): Under appropriate convexity assump
tion, any PO allocation can be supported as a CE.
1.2. ASIMPLE DYNAMIC ECONOMY: ONESECTOR OPTIMAL GROWTHMODEL5
1.2 A Simple Dynamic Economy: OneSector
Optimal Growth Model
Lets be more concrete and study a simple dynamic economy. This economy
consists of many (more accurately, measure one) identical, innitely lived house
holds (HH). Time is discrete and indexed by t = 0, 1, 2, ... In each period t a
single good j

(hence the commodity space is 1) is produced by many identical
rms using two inputs: capital /

, and labor :

.
Technology is described by a production function
j

= 1(/

, :

)
Output can be consumed or invested (but allow free disposal)
j

_ c

i

(1.2)
This consumptionsavings decision is the only allocation decision the economy
must make.
Law of motion for capital stock
/
l
= (1 c)/

i

(1.3)
where c (0, 1) is the depreciation rate.
Preference
n(c

o
=0
) =
o
=0
,

l(c

) (1.4)
Endowments: At period 0 each HH is born with initial capital amount /
0
.
In addition, in each period every HH is endowed with a unit of time.
Information: No uncertainty. People have perfect foresight.
1.2.1 Optimal Growth: Planners Problem
The question that a social planner faces is how to choose an allocation (c

)
o
=0
, (i

)
o
=0
, (:

)
o
=0
to maximize the societys welfare. Here by implicitly assuming the planner as
signs equal weight to everyone, maximizing societys welfare is equivalent to
maximizing the representative HHs utility, subject to the technological con
straint of the economy. Before we proceed to the formal presentation of the
planners problem, lets make some further assumptions about this economy.
Assumption 1: Production function 1 : 1
2
is continuously dieren
tiable, strictly increasing, homogenous of degree one, and strictly quasiconcave,
with
1(0, :) = 1(/, 0) = 0, 1

(/, :) 0, 1
n
(/, :) 0, \/, : 0
`1(/, :) = )(`/, `:) (Constant Returns to Scale, CRS)
lim
0
1

(/, :) = , lim
o
1

(/, :) = 0, (Inada Condition)
6 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
(Think about what does this assumption mean in economics?)
Assumption 2: Utility function l : 1
1 is bounded, continuously
dierentiable, strictly increasing, and strictly concave, with
lim
c0
l
t
(c) = , lim
co
l
t
(c) = 0 (Inada Condition)
We have following constraints
0 _ :

_ 1, \t
c

/
l
(1 c)/

_ 1(/

, :

), \t
According to Assumption 1 and 2, two features of any optimum are apparent
(Why?).
:

= 1, \t
c

/
l
(1 c)/

= 1(/

, :

), \t
Dene
)(/) = 1(/, 1) (1 c)/
It is easy to show that
)(0) = 0, )
t
(/) 0, lim
0
)
t
(/) = , lim
o
)
t
(/) = 1 c
We have following social planners problem (SP)
max
]ct,t+1]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

l(c

)
:.t.
c

/
l
= )(/

), \t
c

_ 0, /
l
_ 0, /
0
0 given
If we substitute c

= )(/

) /
l
, we can further simplify the SP
max
]t+1]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

l()(/

) /
l
)
:.t. (1.5)
0 _ /
l
_ )(/

), \t
/
0
0 given
Two questions:
1. Why do we want to solve this problem?
2. How do we solve it?
Below I will introduce two methods to solve this dynamic problem.
1.2. ASIMPLE DYNAMIC ECONOMY: ONESECTOR OPTIMAL GROWTHMODEL7
1.2.2 Solving Optimal Growth Model: The Euler Equa
tion Approach
This is the traditional approach of solving dynamic optimization problems like
the one we just proposed. We rst look at a nite horizon SP and then at the
related innitedimensional problem.
Finite Horizon Case
Suppose the horizon in (1.5) is a nite value T instead of innity.
max
]t+1]
J
t=0
T
=0
,

l()(/

) /
l
)
:.t. (1.6)
0 _ /
l
_ )(/

), \t = 0, 1, , ..., T
/
0
0 given
Obviously, we have /
Tl
= 0. (Who cares at the end of the world!) Now we
have a welldened standard concave programing problem. Since the feasible
set for sequences /
l
T
=0
is closed and bounded (hence compact), and the
objective function is continuous and strictly concave, according to Bolzano
Weierstrass Theorem, there exists a solution. Furthermore, since the constraint
set is convex, and the utility function is strictly concave, this solution is actually
unique, and it is completely characterized by the KuhnTucker conditions.
Since )(0) = 0 and l
t
(0) = , it is clear that the inequality constraints in
(1.6) do not bind, and we will have interior solutions. Hence we have rst order
condition (by directly solving this unconstrainted optimization problem)
l
t
()(/

) /
l
) = ,l
t
()(/
l
) /
2
))
t
(/
l
), t = 0, 1, 2, ..., T (1.7)
Question: What is the economic sense of this Euler equation?
How to solve this secondorder dierence equation? Here is a simple example
which allows analytical solution for the SP problem.
Suppose
l(c) = lnc, )(/) = /
o
, 0 < c < 1
We have planners problem
max
]t+1]
J
t=0
T
=0
,

l(/
o

/
l
)
:.t.
0 _ /
l
_ /
o

, t = 0, 1, 2, ..., T
/
Tl
= 0, /
0
0 given
8 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
Euler equation (or rstorder equation FOC) for this problem is
1
/
o

/
l
=
,c/
ol
l
/
o
l
/
2
(1.8)
Now lets use the transformation .

=
t+1

c
t
to transform (1.8) to a rstorder
dierence equation in .

.
l
= 1 c,
c,
.

(1.9)
Since we have a boundary condition .
T
= 0. Start from it, do backward induc
tion (leave as an exercise), we can obtain a general formula
.

= c,
1 (c,)
T
1 (c,)
Tl
and hence
/
l
= c,
1 (c,)
T
1 (c,)
Tl
/
o

c

=
1 (c,)
1 (c,)
Tl
/
o

Innite Horizon Case
When T , we have the innite horizon case. A nature guess is the solution
for innite horizon case is the limit of nite horizon case, i.e., now
/
l
= lim
To
c,
1 (c,)
T
1 (c,)
Tl
/
o

= c,/
o

c

= lim
To
1 (c,)
1 (c,)
Tl
/
o

= (1 c,)/
o

The conjecture actually is correct.
Notice that in the innite horizon case, the policy function should be time
invariant, hence we should have .

= .
l.
In steady state, equation (1.9) has
two steady states. .

= 1 or .

= c,. We can use the following Figure 1 to
show intuitively that only .

= c, is a stable steady state.
Starting from .
Tl
= 0 on jaxis, by (1.9), we have .
T
=
oo
loo
< c, (it
is the intersection of .
l
curve on raxis). Mirror it against 45
0
line, on j
axis we have the value of .
T
. Then Starting again from .
T
on jaxis, we have
.
Tl
closer to c,. Repeating this procedure we can obtain the entire .

T
=0
sequence and hence /
l
T
=0
. Note that when t going backwards to zero, .

approaches c,. Therefore, when T , eventually the economy will go to the
steady state where .

= . = c,, \t. By the same argument, it is easy to show
that when we do backwards, starting from .
l
around . = 1, it will always
diverge from it. Thus . = 1 is not a stable steady state.
1.2. ASIMPLE DYNAMIC ECONOMY: ONESECTOR OPTIMAL GROWTHMODEL9
Dynamics for the Simple Economy
For a formal treatment of Euler equation approach on the innite horizon
case, please see Krueger (2002) P. 4548.
1.2.3 Solving Optimal Growth Model: The Dynamic Pro
gramming Approach
Bellman Equation
Dene value function
0
(/
0
) = max
]t+1]
1
t=0
s..0t+1}(t),0 given
o
=0
,

l()(/

) /
l
)
10 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
Then we have
0
(/
0
) = max
]t+1]
1
t=0
s..0t+1}(t),0 given
o
=0
,

l()(/

) /
l
)
= max
]t+1]
1
t=0
s..0t+1}(t),0 given
_
l()(/
0
) /
l
) ,
o
=l
,
l
l()(/

) /
l
)
_
= max
1
s..01}(0),0 given
_
_
l()(/
0
) /
l
) ,[ max
]t+1]
1
t=1
s..0t+1}(t),1 given
o
=0
,

l()(/

) /
l
)[
_
_
= max
01}(0),0 given
l()(/
0
) /
l
) ,
0
(/
l
)
Notice that when the problem is viewed in this recursive way, the time
subscripts have become a nuisance. Therefore, we can ignore the time subscript
and rewrite the SP problem with current capital stock / as
(/) = max
0}()
l()(/) j) ,(j) (1.10)
This equation in the unknown function is called a functional equation (or
Bellman equation). The study of dynamic optimization problems through the
analysis of such functional equations (FE) is called dynamic programming (DP).
The current capital stock / is the state variable because it completely
determines what allocations are feasible from today onwards. The next period
capital stock /
t
is decided (or controlled) by the social planner, it is called the
control variable.
Solving Bellman equation means nding a value function solving (1.10)
and an optimal policy function
/
t
= q(/)
But we face several questions associated with Bellman equation (1.10):
1. Under what condition does a solution to (1.10) exist? And if it exists, is
it unique?
2. Is there a reliable algorithm that computes the solution?
3. Under what condition can we solve Bellman equation (1.10) and be sure
it is also the solution to the planners problem (1.5)?
4. Can we say something about qualitative properties of and q?
As a rst try, if we know the value function is dierentiable and j = q(/)
is interior, rst order condition for (1.10) is
l
t
()(/) q(/)) = ,
t
[q(/)[ (1.11)
And the envelope condition is
t
(/) = )
t
(/)l()(/) q(/)) (1.12)
1.2. ASIMPLE DYNAMIC ECONOMY: ONESECTOR OPTIMAL GROWTHMODEL11
Substituting (1.12) into (1.11), we have
l
t
()(/) q(/)) = ,)
t
(q(/))l[)(q(/)) q(q(/))[
i.e.
l
t
()(/) /
t
) = ,)
t
(/
t
)l[)(/
t
) /
tt
[
This equation should remind you the Euler equation (1.7). Coincidence? It
actually hints on the equivalence between SP and FE.
An Example
Consider the previous example l(c) = lnc, )(/) = /
o
. In this economy, the
Bellman equation is
(/) = max
0
0

c
ln(/
o
/
t
) ,(/
t
) (1.13)
How can we solve this value function? We are going to do it by using a clever
approach called "Guess and Verify".
We will directly guess a particular functional form of the solution to value
function . Lets guess
(/) = 1ln(/) (1.14)
where and 1 are the two coecients to be determined.
Substituting (1.14) into (1.13), we have
(/) = max
0
0

c
ln(/
o
/
t
) ,(1ln/
t
) (1.15)
The FOC for right hand side (RHS) is
1
/
o
/
t
=
,1
/
t
This leads to
/
t
=
,1/
o
1 ,1
(1.16)
Now lets substitute the optimal policy function (1.16) back into Bellman
equation (1.15), we have
(/) = ln(/
o
/
t
) ,(1ln/
t
)
= ln(/
o
,1/
o
1 ,1
) ,(1ln
,1/
o
1 ,1
)
= ln
/
o
1 ,1
,,1ln
,1/
o
1 ,1
= ,(1 ,1) ln(1 ,1) ln,1 c(1 ,1) ln/
Now substituting our guess (1.14) for (/), we have
1ln(/) = ,(1 ,1) ln(1 ,1) ln,1 c(1 ,1) ln/
12 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
which means
(1 c(1 ,1)) ln/ = (, 1)(1 ,1) ln(1 ,1) ln,1
= constant
It implies
1 c(1 ,1) = 0 =1 =
c
1 c,
Accordingly, we have
=
1
1 ,
[
c,
1 c,
ln(c,) ln(1 c,)[
Therefore, the optimal policy function is
/
t
=
,1/
o
1 ,1
= c,/
o
Look familiar? Yes, that is exactly the same as the one solved by Euler equation
approach.
1.3 A Stochastic Optimal Growth Model
Now lets relax our assumption about information structure. In this section, we
will discuss a optimal growth model with uncertainty.
1.3.1 Markov Process
Markov shock is a stochastic process with the following properties:
1. There are nite number of possible states for each time. :

o =
c
l
, c
2
, ..., c
at time t 1 as
I
= Ii(:
l
= c
[ :

= c
I
).
I
is one generic element of a matrix called transition matrix. We have
I
_ 0 and
=l
I
= 1, \i.
Denote the history of events up to time t by :

= :
l
, :
2
, ..., :

. It is easy
to show that
(:
l
) = (:
l
[ :

) (:

[ :
l
) (:
l
[ :
2
) (:
l
[ :
0
) (:
0
)
1.4. COMPETITIVE EQUILIBRIUM GROWTH 13
1.3.2 A Stochastic Model of Optimal Growth
Consider an optimal growth model in which the uncertainty aects the technol
ogy only. Assume the production function
j

= .

)(/

)
where .

is a sequence of independently and identically distributed (i.i.d.)
random variables. Therefore, the SP becomes
max 1[
o
=0
,

l(c

)[
:.t.
c

/
l
_ .

)(/

),
c

, /
l
_ 0, /
0
0 given
Timing of the model: in each period
1. At the beginning of the period t, shock .

is revealed
2. Output is known, HHs make consumptionsavings decision
Thus, the state variable is the pair (/

, .

). The social planner does not
choose a sequence of numbers anymore rather a sequence of contingency plans
(c

(.

), (/
l
(.

)
o
=0
.
We can also write down the Bellman equation for this economy.
(/, .) = max
0}()
l(.)(/) j) ,1[(j, .
t
)[
The optimal capital path is given by
j = q(/, .)
or
/
l
= q(/

, .

) (1.17)
Equation (1.17) is called rstorder stochastic dierence equation. Obviously
the /
l
o
=0
generated by this equation is a (rstorder) Markov process.
In Chapter 4, we will learn how to solve this type of stochastic dynamic
programming problem by using numerical methods.
1.4 Competitive Equilibrium Growth
In this section, I will show that the solutions to social planners problem can,
under appropriate conditions, be interpreted as predictions about the behaviors
of market economy. After all, what we are really interested in are allocations
and prices arise when rms and consumers interact in markets.
14 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
Suppose that we have solved the innitehorizon optimal growth problem
(1.5) and obtained solution (c

, /
l
)
o
=0
. Our goal is to nd prices to support
these quantities as a competitive equilibrium. However, in order to do this, we
have to rst specify the ownership rights of households and rms, as well as the
structure of markets.
Assume that HHs own all factors of production and all shares in rms. Firms
own nothing; they simply hire capital and labor on a rental basis to produce out
put every period, sell the output produced back to HHs, and return any prots
to the shareholders. Finally, assume that all transactions take place in a single
onceforall market that meets in period 0. All trading takes place at that time,
so all prices and quantities are determined simultaneously. No further trades
are negotiated later. After this market has closed, in the subsequent periods,
agents simply deliver the contracts at period 0. We assume that all contracts are
perfectly enforceable. This market is often called ArrowDebreu market struc
ture. And the corresponding competitive equilibrium is called ArrowDebreu
Equilibrium (ADE).
1.4.1 Denition of Competitive Equilibrium
Given prices j

, r

, n

o
=0
, the rms problem is to choose (/
J

, :
J

, j

)
o
=0
to
max =
o
=0
j

[j

r

/
J

n

:
J

[ (1.18)
:.t.
j

_ 1(/
J

, :
J

), t = 0, 1, 2, ...
j

, /
J

, :
J

_ 0
Given prices j

, r

, n

o
=0
, the HHs problem is to choose (c

, i

, r
l
, /
s

, :
s

)
o
=0
to
max
o
=0
,

l(c

) (1.19)
:.t.
o
=0
j

[c

i

[ _
o
=0
j

[r

/
s

n

:
s

[
r
l
= (1 c)r

i

, \t = 0, 1, ...
0 _ :
s

_ 1, 0 _ /
s

_ r

, \t = 0, 1, ...
c

, r
l
_ 0, \t = 0, 1, ...
r
0
given
Remark 6 Note that j

is the price of a unit of timet good in terms of time0
good (ArrowDebreu price). While n

and r

are the prices of a unit of labor
and rental capital at time t in terms of timet good.
1.4. COMPETITIVE EQUILIBRIUM GROWTH 15
Remark 7 Note the dierence between capital owned r

and capital supplied to
rms /
s

.
Denition 8 A competitive equilibrium is a set of prices (j

, r

, n

)
o
=0
, an al
location (/
J

, :
J

, j

) for the representative rm, and an allocation (c

, i

, r
l
, /
s

, :
s

)
o
=0
for the representative household, such that:
a. Given prices j

, r

, n

o
=0
, (/
J

, :
J

, j

) solves the rms problem (1.18).
b. Given prices j

, r

, n

o
=0
, (c

, i

, r
l
, /
s

, :
s

)
o
=0
solves the represen
tative HHs problem (1.19).
c. All markets clear: /
J

= /
s

, :
J

= :
s

, c

i

= j

, for all t.
Question: How to nd a CE?
1.4.2 Characterization of the Competitive Equilibrium
Lets start from a couple of conjectures. First lets simply denote
/

= /
J

= /
s

:

= :
J

= :
s

Since l
t
(c) 0, our rst guess is j

0. (Think about why?) Similarly, since
1

(/, :) 0, 1
n
(/, :) 0, we should also have r

, n

0.
Now consider the representation rm. Since prices are strictly positive, we
have
j

= 1(/

, :

), \t
And the rm does not face a dynamic decision problem (there is no dynamic
state variable in rms problem as /

in HHs problem), its problem is equivalent
to a series of oneperiod maximization problems.
max
t,nt0

= j

[1(/

, :

) r

/

n

:

[, t = 0, 1, 2, ... (1.20)
FOCs are
r

= 1

(/

, :

), \t
:

= 1
n
(/

, :

), \t
Since the production function 1(, ) is homogeneous degree of one (h.o.d.1),
according to Eulers Theorem, we have
1(/

, :

) = r

/

n

:

which implies

= 0, \t
Remark 9 With h.o.d.1, the total prots of the representative rm are equal
to zero in equilibrium. This shows that the number of rms in indeterminate
in equilibrium. We can view the representative rm is the aggregation of a
16 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
whole bunch (maybe millions) of rms. Therefore, this really justies that the
assumption of a single representative rm is without any loss of generality (as
long as we assume that this rm is a pricetaker).
1
Next we consider the representative HH. Given all the prices are strictly
positive, we should have
:

= 1, /

= r

, \t
Also notice that the utility function is strictly increasing, therefore, the budget
constraint (BC) will hold with equality. We can rewrite the HHs problem as
following
max
o
=0
,

l(c

)
:.t.
o
=0
j

[c

/
l
(1 c)/

[ =
o
=0
j

(r

/

n

) (1.21)
c

, /
l
_ 0, \t
/
0
given
FOC (or Euler Equation) is
,l
t
(c
l
)
l
t
(c

)
=
j
l
j

=
1
r
l
1 c
(1.22)
Or
l
t
(c

) = ,l
t
(c
l
)(r
l
1 c) (1.23)
As we dene earlier
)(/

) = 1(/

, 1) (1 c)/

Therefore
)
t
(/

) = 1

(/

, 1) 1 c
= r

1 c
1
Note that
J
X
j=1
1(I
jt
, a
jt
) =
J
X
j=1
(vtI
jt
+&ta
jt
)
= vt
J
X
j=1
I
jt
+&t
J
X
j=1
a
jt
= 1(
J
X
j=1
I
jt
,
J
X
j=1
a
jt
).
1.4. COMPETITIVE EQUILIBRIUM GROWTH 17
Substituting into Euler equation (1.23)
l
t
(c

) = ,l
t
(c
l
))
t
(/
l
)
Looks familiar? This is quite close to the one in the social planners problem.
Next, let me show that it is actually same.
1.4.3 More on Two Welfare Theorems
Lets be more specic about the connections between equilibrium and opti
mal allocations. First Welfare Theorem says that any CE allocation is PO. In
order to prove it, if (c
t

, /
t
l
, j
t

, r
t

, n
t

)
o
=0
is a CE, we have to show that
(c
t

, /
t
l
)
o
=0
is PO.
We use contradiction. Suppose that (c
t

, /
t
l
)
o
=0
is not PO. Suppose that
there is another feasible allocation (c
t

, /
t
l
)
o
=0
that c
t

yields higher total
utility in the objective function. Then this allocation must violate BC of (1.21),
because otherwise the household would have chosen it. (Recall the Weak Axiom
of Revealed Preference, see MWG P. 29) But if BC is violated, we have
t
=
o
=0
j

[c
t

i
t

r

/
t

n

[
=
o
=0
j

[c
t

/
t
l
(1 c)/
t

r

/
t

n

[
0
contracting the hypothesis that (/
t

, :
t

= 1) was a protmaximizing choice
of inputs.
How about the Second Welfare Theorem? We want to show that under some
appropriate conditions, any PO allocation can be supported as a CE. Suppose
(c
+

, /
+
l
)
o
=0
is a solution to the planners problem, hence it is PO. Then we
know that (/
+
l
)
o
=0
is the unique sequence satisfying the following FOC
l
t
()(/
+
l
) /
+

) = ,)
t
(/
+

)l
t
[)(/
+

) /
+
l
[, \t
and c
+

is given by
c
+

= )(/
+

) /
+
l
, \t
To construct a CE, we have to nd supporting prices (j
+

, r
+

, n
+

)
o
=0
. From
the pricing kernel (1.22) we already know that the good prices must satisfy
j
+

=
j
+
l
)
t
(/
+

)
Therefore, starting from an arbitrary initial price j
0
(w.l.o.g, assume j
0
= 1),
once we know (/
+
l
)
o
=0
, we can construct a sequence of good prices j
+

o
=0
.
Next, we construct factor equilibrium prices as follows
r
+

= )
t
(/
+

) (1 c)
n
+

= )(/
+

) /
+

)
t
(/
+

)
18 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
It is easy to show that with the allocation (c
+

, /
+
l
)
o
=0
and the constructed
prices (j
t

, r
t

, n
t

)
o
=0
, the Euler equation for Planners problem becomes
l
t
(c
+

) = ,l
t
(c
+
l
)(r
+
l
1 c)
Furthermore, we can show that BC of HHs problem is as same as resource
constraint of Planners problem. Thus these two problems share same constraint
set, same objective function and same FOCs. Since the solution to CE and
planner problem is unique, therefore, it has to be same.
1.4.4 Sequential Markets Equilibrium (SME)
We all know that ADE has a very weird market arrangement. Agents can
make a choice ONCE in ArrowDebreu world. Now lets relax this unrealistic
assumption to make it a little bit closer to the real world. Suppose that the
agents meet in a market at the beginning of every period. In the market held
in period t, agents trade currentperiod labor, rental services of existing capital,
and nal output. In addition, one security (called Arrow security) is traded:
a claim to one unit of nal output in the subsequent period. In each period,
factor and bond prices are expressed in terms of currentperiod goods.
We will assume that people have perfect foresight. Given this expectations
hypothesis, the rms problem is as same as in ADE. But the HHs problem
changes
max
o
=0
,

l(c

)
:.t.
c


:
l
/
l
(1 c)/

_ r

/

n

:

:


, \t (1.24)
0 _ :

_ 1, \t
c

, /
l
_ 0
where :

is the quantity held of a one period bond. (Think about why I do not
put nonnegativity constraint on :

)
Denition 10 A sequential market competitive equilibrium (SME) is a set of
prices (

, r

, n

)
o
=0
, an allocation (/
J

, :
J

, j

) for the representative rm,
and an allocation (c

, i

, :
l
, /
s

, :
s

)
o
=0
for the representative household, such
that:
a. Given prices

, r

, n

o
=0
, (/
J

, :
J

, j

) solves the rms problem (1.20).
b. Given prices

, r

, n

o
=0
, (c

, i

, :
l
, /
s

, :
s

)
o
=0
solves the represen
tative HHs problem (1.24).
c. All markets clear: /
J

= /
s

, :
J

= :
s

, c

i

= j

, :
l
= 0 for all t.
FOCs for HHs problem:
c

: ,

l
t
(c

) = `

/
l
: `
l
(r
l
1 c) = `

:
l
: `


= `
l
1.4. COMPETITIVE EQUILIBRIUM GROWTH 19
Combining FOCs, we have

=
,l
t
(c
l
)
l
t
(c

)
l
t
(c

) = ,l
t
(c
l
)(r
l
1 c)
This is exactly as same as ones in ADE. Therefore, we set up the equivalence
between SME and ADE.
The intuition for the equivalence is as following. since in the equilibrium,
the net supply of bonds is zero, the representative household has a net demand
of zero for each of the securities. Hence, if bonds markets are simply shut down,
the remaining prices and the real allocation are unaltered. Therefore, we can
price Arrow security even though there is not a trade in equilibrium. Extending
this idea, we can determine prices of all market instruments even though they
are redundant in equilibrium. This is the virtue of Lucas Tree model and it is
the fundamental for all nance literature.
It is not hard to show that if we substitute out :

from sequential BC, we
end up with the same BC as in ADE. We leave this as an exercise.
Remark 11 If markets are complete, then normally ADE is easier to be solved.
If markets are not complete, then SME is the tool that you should use.
1.4.5 Recursive Competitive Equilibrium (RCE)
There is yet a third way in which the solution to the optimal growth model
can be interpreted as a competitive equilibrium, one that is closely related to
the dynamic programming approach and to the sequence of markets interpre
tation of equilibrium. The general idea is to characterize equilibrium prices as
functions of the economywide capital stock /, and to view individual HHs as
dynamic programmers whose state variables include both individual level and
the economywide ones. Notice that in this subsection, as I showed equivalence
between sequential problem (SP) and functional equation (FE) of social plan
ners problemin the previous sections, I am going to show the equivalence among
three equilibrium concepts: ADE, SME and RCE.
First, the factor prices can be expressed as the function of state variable /.
1(/) = 1

(/, 1) (1.25)
c(/) = 1
n
(/, 1) (1.26)
Next, I have to develop a DP representing the decision problem faced by a
typical HH. To do so, we need to distinguish between the economywide capital
stock /, and its own capital stock 1. Therefore, for individual HH, the state
variable is the pair (1, /).
Suppose the economywide capital stock accumulates according to law of
motion
/
t
= /(/)
20 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
The HHs problem is
\ (1, /) = max
c,Y
l(C) ,\ [1, /(/)[ (1.27)
subject to
C [1 (1 c)1[ _ 11(/) c(/)
Let
1 = H(1, /)
be the optimal policy function for the HH.
Denition 12 A Recursive Competitive Equilibrium (RCE) is a value function
\ : 1
2
1, a policy function H : 1
2
1

for capital, and factor price functions
1 : 1
and c : 1
such that
i. Given /, 1, c, \ solves HHs problem and H is the optimal policy function
of HHs problem.
ii. 1 and c satisfy (1.25) and (1.26).
iii. Individual choice is consistent with the aggreagte law of motion (consis
tency condition)
H(/, /) = /(/), \/
FWT of RCE: If (\, H, /, 1, c) is a RCE, then (/) = \ (/, /) is the value
function for social planners problem, and q = / is the planners optimal policy
function.
SWT of RCE: If is the value function for the planners problem and q is the
optimal policy function, then the value and policy function for the individual
household (\, H) satises (1.27) and have properties that \ (/, /) = (/) and
H(/, /) = /(/).
This equivalence between the planners problem and RCE can be shown
through a comparison of the rstorder and envelope conditions for the two
dynamic programs. Recall for the planners problem, they are
j : l
t
()(/) q(/)) = ,
t
[q(/)[
/ :
t
(/) = )
t
(/)l
t
()(/) q(/))
For the HHs problem, the analogous conditions are
1 : l
t
[)(/) )
t
(/)(1 /) H(1, /)[ = ,\
l
[H(1, /), /(/)[
1 : \
l
(1, /) = l
t
[)(/) )
t
(/)(1 /) H(1, /)[)
t
(/)
In equilibrium, we have 1 = /. Since H(/, /) = /(/), these conditions can be
rewritten as
l
t
[)(/) /(/)[ = ,
l
[/(/), /(/)[
l
(/, /) = )
t
(/)l
t
()(/) /(/))
Thus, if
l
(/, /) =
t
(/), the equilibrium conditions of RCE match the condi
tions for planners problem.
1.5. CONCLUSIONS 21
1.5 Conclusions
Where do we stand now?
We show that for social planners problem, SP=FE. A sequential representa
tion of planners problem can be solved using Dynamic Programming approach.
Then we show that solutions to planners problem, which is PO, is equivalent
to allocations in ADE by using two welfare theorems.
We also show the equivalence among ADE, SME, and RCE.
In the following two chapters, we will have more rigorous treatment to es
tablish the equivalence between SP and FE and introduce the DP technique.
22 CHAPTER 1. AN OVERVIEW
Chapter 2
Mathematical Preliminaries
The purpose of this chapter and the next is to show precisely the relationship
between the sequential problem (SP) and the functional equation representation
of the planners problem.
Recall the Functional equation
(/) = max
c,
[l(c) ,(j)[
:.t.
c j _ )(/)
c, j _ 0
In order to study FE, dene the following operator T
(T)(/) = max
0}()
[l()(/) j) ,(j)[
This operator takes the function as input and returns a new function T. A
solution to FE is thus a xed point of this operator, i.e., a function
+
such that
+
= T
+
We want to study under what conditions the operator T has a xed point
(existence), under what conditions it is unique (uniqueness), and how can we
obtain this xed point (classic technique is called method of successive approxi
mation, start from an arbitrary function , apply the operator T repeatedly to
get convergence of .)
In Section 1, we will review the basic facts about metric spaces and normed
spaces. In Section 2, we will state and prove the Contraction Mapping Theorem
(CMT), a very useful xedpoint theorem for FE. In Section 3, we will prove
Theorem of Maximum, which is very useful for the next chapter.
2.1 Metric Spaces and Normed Vector Spaces
To be skipped. Professor Nori Tarui will teach you these stu in ECON627.
23
24 CHAPTER 2. MATHEMATICAL PRELIMINARIES
2.2 The Contraction Mapping Theorem
In this section we will prove two main results. The rst one is Contraction
Mapping Theorem (CMT), which gives us the existence and uniqueness of a
xed point of operator T. The second is a set of sucient conditions, due to
Blackwell, for establishing that certain operators are contraction mapping.
Denition 13 Let (o, j) be a metric space and T : o o be a function map
ping o into itself. The function T is a contraction mapping if there exists a
number , (0, 1) satisfying j(Tr, Tj) _ ,j(r, j) for all r, j o. The number
, is called the modulus of the contraction mapping.
Example 14 o = [a, /[, with j(r, j) = [r j[. Then T : o o is a contrac
tion mapping if for some , (0, 1)
[Tr Tj[
[r j[
_ , < 1, all r, j o with r ,= j
That is, T is a contraction mapping if it is a function with slope uniformly less
than one in absolute value.
It is easy to show that if T is a contraction mapping, then T is continuous.
We leave this as an exercise.
We now state and prove CMT.
Theorem 15 (Contraction Mapping Theorem) Let (o, j) be a complete metric
space and suppose that T : o o is a contraction mapping with modulus ,.
Then
a). the operator T has exactly one xed point o and
b). for any
0
o, and any : we have
j(T
n
0
, ) _ ,
n
j(
0
, )
Part (a) of the Theorem establishs the existence and uniqueness of the xed
point for the contraction mapping. Part (b) assets that no matter what initial
guess
0
is, the sequence
n
o
n=0
will converge to the xed point at a geometric
rate of ,. This part is extremely important for computation. It is the theoretical
foundation of value function iteration method for DP.
Proof. To prove (a), we must nd a candidate for , show that it satises
T = , and show that no other element o does.
Dene the iterates of T, the mappings T
n
, by T
0
r = r, and T
n
r =
T(T
nl
r), : = 1, 2, .... Lets choose an arbitrary
0
o, and dene
n
o
n=0
by
nl
= T
n
, so that
n
= T
n
0
. By the contraction property of operator T,
j(
2
,
l
) = j(T
l
, T
0
) _ ,j(
l
,
0
).
By induction
j(
nl
,
n
) = j(T
n
, T
nl
) _ ,j(
n
,
nl
)
= ,j(T
nl
, T
n2
) _ ,
2
j(
nl
,
n2
)
= ...... = ,
n
j(
l
,
0
)
2.2. THE CONTRACTION MAPPING THEOREM 25
Therefore, for any : :,
j(
n
,
n
) _ j(
n
,
nl
) j(
nl
,
n2
) ... j(
n2
,
nl
) j(
nl
,
n
)
_ [,
nl
,
n2
... ,
nl
,
n
[j(
l
,
0
)
= ,
n
[,
nnl
... , 1[j(
l
,
0
)
_
,
n
1 ,
j(
l
,
0
)
First inequality comes from triangle inequality of metric space. Second one
comes from the contraction property we just derived. When : , we can
make
o
r
lo
j(
l
,
0
) < , where  is an arbitrary small number. Therefore, by
denition (see SLP P. 46),
n
o
n=0
o is a Cauchy sequence. Since o is a
complete metric space, every Cauchy sequence in o converges to an element in
o (See SLP P. 47), we have = lim
no
n
o.
To show T = , note that for all : and all
0
o, we have
j(T, ) _ j(T,
n
) j(
n
, )
= j(T, T
n
0
) j(T
n
0
, )
_ ,j(, T
nl
0
) j(T
n
0
, )
= ,j(,
nl
) j(
n
, )
When : , since we already show that
n
o
n=0
is a Cauchy sequence,
lim
no
n
= lim
no
nl
= . Thus we have
j(T, ) = 0, i.e., T =
Next we need to show is unique. We prove by contradiction. Suppose
,= is another solution. Then we have
0 < a = j( , ) = j(T , T) _ ,j( , ) = ,a
Since , (0, 1), the inequality cannot hold. Contradiction. This concludes part
(a).
To prove part (b), observe that for any : _ 1, we have
j(T
n
0
, ) = j(T(T
nl
0
), T) _ ,j(T
nl
0
, )
= ,j(T(T
n2
0
), T) _ ,
2
j(T
n2
0
, )
= .... _ ,
n
j(T
0
0
, ) = ,
n
j(
0
, )
Sometimes, we will nd the following theorem is helpful.
Theorem 16 Let (o, j) be a complete metric space, and let T : o o be a
contraction mapping with xed point o. If o
t
is a closed subset of o and
T(o
t
) _ o, then o
t
. If in addition T(o
t
) _ o
tt
_ o
t
, then o
tt
.
26 CHAPTER 2. MATHEMATICAL PRELIMINARIES
We know CMT is very useful for our analysis of FE. But how can we know
a mapping is a contraction mapping? In 1965 Blackwell provided sucient
conditions for an operator to be a contraction mapping. It turns out that these
conditions can be easily checked in a lot of applications. However, since they
are only sucient, failure of these conditions does not imply that the operator
is not a contraction. In these cases we just have to look somewhere else. Here
is Blackwells theorem.
Theorem 17 (Blackwells sucient conditions for a contraction) Let A _ 1
l
,
and let 1(A) be a space of bounded functions ) : A 1, with the sup norm.
Let T : 1(A) 1(A) be an operator satisfying
a). (monotonicity) ), q 1(A) and )(r) _ q(r), for all r A, implies
(T))(r) _ (Tq)(r), for all r A;
b). (discounting) some , (0, 1) such that
[T() a)[(r) _ (T))(r) ,a, all ) 1(A), a _ 0, r A.
[Here () a)(r) is a function dened by () a)(r) = )(r) a.] Then T is a
contraction with modulus ,.
Proof. In notation, if )(r) _ q(r), \r, then we write ) _ q. Now for any
), q 1(A), it is easy to show that (since we have sup norm) ) _ q ) q.
Thus we have
T) _ T(q ) q) _ Tq , ) q (2.1)
Notice the rst inequality uses property (a), the second comes from part (b).
(Note that norm  is a real number and  _ 0)
Reversing the roles of ) and q, follow the same argument above, we have
Tq _ T() ) q) _ T) , ) q (2.2)
Combining (2.1) and (2.2), we have
T) Tq _ , ) q
Tq T) _ , ) q
Therefore
sup[T) Tq[ = T) Tq _ , ) q
Now it is time to go back to our FE to check if it is a contarction mapping by
using Blackwells sucient conditions. Again we dene the following operator
T
(T)(/) = max
0}()
[l()(/) j) ,(j)[
First lets check T is a operator mapping to itself. Since 1(A), is
bounded. Since we also assume l is bounded, it is obviously T is also bounded,
hence T 1(A).
2.3. THE THEOREM OF THE MAXIMUM 27
Second, lets check the monotonicity. Suppose , n 1(A) and _ n.
Denote q
u
(/) an optimal policy function corresponding to . We will have \/
T(/) = l()(/) q
u
(/)) ,(q
u
(/))
_ l()(/) q
u
(/)) ,n(q
u
(/))
_ l()(/) q
u
(/)) ,n(q
u
(/))
= max
0
0
}()
[l()(/) /
t
) ,n(/
t
)[
= Tn(/)
Finally, check discounting.
T( a)(/) = T((/) a)
= max
0}()
[l()(/) j) ,((j) a)[
= max
0}()
[l()(/) j) ,((j))[ ,a
= (T)(/) ,a
Therefore, the neoclassical growth model with bounded utility satises the suf
cient conditions for a contraction and there is a unique xed point to the func
tional equation that can be computed from any starting guess
0
by repeated
application of the Toperator.
2.3 The Theorem of the Maximum
Notice that the Blackwell Sucient Conditions apply to a space of bounded
functions. Since a lot of economic applications focus on continuous function, we
would like to study the operator on a space of continuous functions ). And we
would like to know the properties of resulting function T) and the corresponding
optimal policy functions. The Thorem of the Maximum (TOM) will help us to
establish that.
The operator T is dened by
(T)(r) = sup[1(r, j) ,(j)[
:.t. j is feasible, given r
Obviously, T is an operator to map the space of bounded continuous functions
C(A) to itself. We use correspondence I to describle the feasible set. I : A 1
maps each element r A into a subset I(r) of 1 . Hence the image of the point
r under I may consist of more than one point (in contrast to a function, in
which the image of r always consists of a singleton).
Dene )(r, j) = 1(r, j),(j), the FE above can be rewritten as a problem
with the form sup
I(r)
)(r, j). If for each r, )(r, ) is continuous in j and
the set I(r) is nonempty and compact, according to Weierstrass Theorem (or
28 CHAPTER 2. MATHEMATICAL PRELIMINARIES
Maximum Value Theorem), then for each r the maximum is attained. In this
case, the function
/(r) = max
I(r)
)(r, j) (2.3)
is welldened and gives the value of the maximization problem. We also dene
G(r) = j I(r) : )(r, j) = /(r) (2.4)
as the set of j values that attain the maximum.
Since we will talk about continuity, lets make some denitions about conti
nuity rst.
Denition 18 A compactvalued correspondence I : A 1 is upperhemicontinuous
(u.h.c.) at a point r if I(r) ,= O and if for every sequence r
n
in A converging
to some r A and every sequence j
n
in 1 such that j
n
I(r
n
) for all :,
there exists a convergent subsequence of j
n
that converges to some j I(r).
A correspondence is upperhemicontinuous if it is upperhemicontinuous at all
r A.
Denition 19 A correspondence I : A 1 is lowerhemicontinuous (l.h.c.)
at a point r if I(r) ,= O and if for every j I(r) and every sequence r
n
r,
there exists _ 1 and a sequence j
n
o
n=
such that j
n
j and j
n
I(r
n
), all : _ . A correspondence is lowerhemicontinuous if it is lower
hemicontinuous at all r A.
Denition 20 A correspondence I : A 1 is continuous if it is both upper
hemicontinuous and lowerhemicontinuous.
[ Insert Figure 3.2 in SLP here]
When trying to establish properties of a correspondence I : A 1 , it is
sometimes useful to deal with its graph
= (r, j) A 1 : j I(r).
We are now ready to answer the questions: Under what conditions do the
function /(r) dened by the maximization problem in (2.3) and the associated
set of maximizing j values G(r) dened in (2.4) vary continuously with r? We
have the following theorem.
Theorem 21 (Theorem of Maximum) Let A _ 1
l
and 1 _ 1
n
, let ) : A
1 1 be a continuous function, and let I : A 1 be a compactvalued and
continuous correspondence. Then the function / : A 1 dened in (2.3) is
continuous, and the correspondence G : A 1 dened in (2.4) is nonempty,
compactvalued, and u.h.c.
2.3. THE THEOREM OF THE MAXIMUM 29
Proof. First we show G is nonempty and compact. Fix r A. Since by
assumption I(r) is nonempty and compact, and )(r, ) is continuous, hence
according to Maximum Value theorem, the maximum in (2.3) is attained, and
the set G(r) of maximizers is nonempty. Moreover, since G(r) _ I(r) and
I(r) is a compact (closed and bounded), obviously G(r) is bounded. Suppose
j
n
j, and j
n
G(r), all :. Since G(r) _ I(r), hence j
n
I(r). and
I(r) is closed, we have j I(r). (A set is closed i it contains all of the
limiting points of convergent sequences in this set. See Rosenlicht P. 47). Also,
since j
n
G(r), we have /(r) = )(r, j
n
), all :, and since ) is continuous, by
denition of continuity, /(r) = )(r, j). Therefore, again by the denition of G,
j G(r). So G(r) is closed. Since r is arbitrary, thus G(r) is nonempty and
compact, for each r.
Next, we will show that G is u.h.c.. Fix r, and let r
n
be any sequence
converging to r. Choose j
n
G(r
n
), all :. Since I is continuous, hence it
is also u.h.c. Therefore, a subsequence j
n
!
converging to j I(r). Let
. I(r). Since I is also l.h.c., a sequence .
n
!
., with .
n
!
I(r
n
!
), all /.
Since j
n
!
G(r
n
!
), by the denition of G, we have )(r
n
!
, j
n
!
) _ )(r
n
!
, .
n
!
),
all /. Again, the continuity of ) then guarantee that )(r, j) _ )(r, .). Since
this holds for any . I(r), by the denition of G, it follows that j G(r).
Hence G is u.h.c.
Finally, we will show that / is continuous. Fix r, and let r
n
be any
sequence converging to r. Choose j
n
G(r
n
), all :. Let
/ = limsup/(r
n
)
and h
= liminf /(r
n
). Then there exists a subsequence r
n
!
such that
/ =
lim)(r
n
!
, j
n
!
). But since G is u.h.c., there exists a subsequence of j
n
!
, call
it j
t
, j
t
. Hence /(r
n
) /(r). i.e., /(r) is continuous at r. Since r is
arbitrary, / is continuous.
Proposition 22 Suppose that in addition to the hypothesis of the Theorem
of the Maximum the correspondence I is convexvalued and the function ) is
strictly concave in j. Then G is a singlevalued continuous function.
30 CHAPTER 2. MATHEMATICAL PRELIMINARIES
Chapter 3
Dynamic Programming
Under Certainty
From the previous two chapters, we know that we are interested in the sequential
problem (SP) with the form
sup
]rt+1]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
)
:.t.
r
l
I(r

), t = 0, 1, 2, ...
r
0
A given.
Corresponding to any such problem, we have a functional equation (FE) of
the form
(r) = sup
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,(j)[, \r A
In this chapter we will establish the relationship between solutions to these two
problems and develop methods for analyzing the latter.
3.1 The Principle of Optimality
In this section, we study the realtionship between solutions to SP and FE. The
general idea is that the solution to FE, evaluated at r
0
, (r
0
), gives the value
of the supremum in SP when the initial state is r
0
and that a sequence r
l
o
=0
attains the supremum in SP i it satises
(r

) = 1(r

, r
l
) ,(r
l
), t = 0, 1, 2, ... (3.1)
This idea is called the Principle of Optimality by Richard Bellman.
31
32 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
Lets establish some notation rst. Let A be the set of possible values for
the state variable r. Let I : A A be the correspondence describing the
feasibility constraints of next period state variable j, given that todays state is
r. Denote be the graph of I:
= (r, j) A A : j I(r)
1 : 1 is the oneperiod return function. , _ 0 is the discount factor.
(A, 1, I, ,) is our "givens" in this problem.
We call any sequence r

o
=0
in A a plan. Given r
0
A, denote the set of
feasible plan starting from r
0
H(r
0
) = r

o
=0
: r
l
I(r

), t = 0, 1, 2, ...
That is, H(r
0
) is the set of all sequences r

satisfying the constraints in SP.
Let r = (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ...) denote a typical element of H(r
0
).
We have following assumptions.
Assumption 1: I(r) is nonempty for all r A.
Assumption 2: For all r
0
A and r H(r
0
),
lim
no
n
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
)
exists (although it might be or ).
Obviously, if function 1 is bounded and 0 < , < 1, Assumption 2 is satised.
(If 0 _ [1(r, j)[ < 1 < and 0 < , < 1, then lim
no
n
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) _
lim
no
n
=0
,

1 =
1
lo
.) Thus a sucient condition for Assumptions 12 is
that 1 is bounded above or below and 0 < , < 1. Another sucient condition
is that \r
0
A and r H(r
0
), 0 (0, ,
l
) and 0 < c < such that
1(r

, r
l
) _ c0

, all t
Hence we do not need restriction on 1. As long as the returns from the sequence
do not grow too fast (at a rate higher than
l
o
), we are still ne.
Dene n
n
: H(r
0
) 1 by
n
n
( r) =
n
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
).
Then n
n
( r) is the partial sum of the discounted returns to period 0 through :
from the feasible plan r. Under Assumption 2, we can also dene n : H(r
0
)
1
(
1 = 1 ' , is the set of extended real numbers)
n( r) = lim
no
n
n
( r).
If Assumptions 1 and 2 both hold, then the set of feasible plans H(r
0
) is
nonempty and the objective funtion in SP is well dened for every plan r
H(r
0
). We can then dene the supremum function
+
: A
1 by
+
(r
0
) = sup
rI(r0)
n( r).
3.1. THE PRINCIPLE OF OPTIMALITY 33
Therefore,
+
(r
0
) is the supremum in SP given th initial state is r
0
. Note that
by denition
+
is the unique function satisfying the following three conditions:
a. if [
+
(r
0
)[ < , then
+
(r
0
) _ n( r), \ r H(r
0
); (3.2)
This shows
+
is a upper bound of n. And for any  0,
+
(r
0
) _ n( r) , for some r H(r
0
); (3.3)
This shows that
+
is the least upper bound.
b. if
+
(r
0
) = , then there exists a sequence r

in H(r
0
) such that
lim
o
n( r

) = ; and
c. if
+
(r
0
) = , then n( r) = , \ r H(r
0
).
Note that by construction, whenever
+
exists, it is unique (since the supre
mum of a set of real numbers is always unique).
Accordingly, we say that
+
satises FE if the following three conditions
hold:
a. if [
+
(r
0
)[ < , then
+
(r
0
) _ 1(r
0
, j) ,
+
(j), for all j I(r
0
); (3.4)
and for any  0,
+
(r
0
) _ 1(r
0
, j) ,
+
(j) , for some j I(r
0
); (3.5)
b. if
+
(r
0
) = , then there exists a sequence j

in I(r
0
) such that
lim
o
[1(r
0
, j

) ,
+
(j

)[ = ; (3.6)
c. if
+
(r
0
) = , then
1(r
0
, j) ,
+
(j) = , for all j I(r
0
). (3.7)
Note that FE may not have a unique solution.
We will establish a preliminary result by proving following lemma.
Lemma 23 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 2. Then for any r
0
A
and any (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ...) = r H(r
0
), we have
n( r) = 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,n( r
t
),
where r
t
= (r
l
, r
2
, ...).
Proof. Under Assumption 2, by denition, for any r
0
A and any r H(r
0
),
n( r) = lim
no
n
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
)
= 1(r
0
, r
l
) , lim
no
n
=0
,

1(r
l
, r
2
)
= 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,n( r
t
).
34 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
Now it is the time to show that the supremum function
+
for the SP problem
satises FE.
Theorem 24 Suppose A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumptions 12. Then the func
tion
+
satises FE.
Proof. If , = 0,
+
= 1(r
0
, r
l
) in both SP and FE. The result is trival. Hence
lets suppose , 0, and choose r
0
A.
Suppose
+
(r
0
) is nite. Then (3.2) and (3.3) hold. We want to show that
(3.4) and (3.5) also hold for
+
(r
0
). To establish (3.4), let r
l
I(r
0
) and  0
is given. Then by (3.3), r
t
= (r
l
, r
2
, ...) H(r
l
) such that n( r
t
) _
+
(r
l
) .
Note that r = (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ...) H(r
0
). Hence it follows from (3.2) and the
lemma above that
+
(r
0
) _ n( r) = 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,n( r
t
) _ 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,
+
(r
l
) .
Since  0 can be arbitrarily small, (3.4) follows.
To establish (3.5), choose r
0
A and  0. From (3.3) and the lemma
above, it follows that we can choose one plan r = (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ...) H(r
0
), so
that
+
(r
0
) _ n( r)  = 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,n( r
t
) ,
where r
t
= (r
l
, r
2
, ...). It then follows (3.2) that
+
(r
0
) _ 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,
+
(r
l
) .
Since r
l
H(r
0
), this establishs (3.5).
If
+
(r
0
) = , then there exists a sequence r

in H(r
0
) such that
lim
o
n( r

) = . Since r

l
I(r
0
), all /, and by (3.2) and the lemma
above (notice that here
+
(r

l
) is still nite)
n( r

) = 1(r
0
, r

l
) ,n( r
t
) _ 1(r
0
, r

l
) ,
+
(r

l
), all /
Take a limit on both side of above inequality
lim
o
n( r

) = lim
o
[1(r
0
, r

l
) ,n( r
t
)[ _ lim
o
[1(r
0
, r

l
) ,
+
(r

l
)[
Since we know
lim
o
n( r

) =
Therefore, lim
o
[1(r
0
, r

l
) ,
+
(r

l
)[ = with the sequence j

= r

l
.
If
+
(r
0
) = , then by lemma above
n( r) = 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,n( r
t
) = , \ r H(r
0
)
Since 1 is a realvalued function (it does not take on the value or ), it
follows that
n( r
t
) = , all r
l
I(r
0
), all r
t
I(r
l
).
3.1. THE PRINCIPLE OF OPTIMALITY 35
Then by (3.3)
+
(r
l
) _ n( r
t
) 
for any  0, which implies
+
(r
l
) = , all r
l
I(r
0
).
Let j = r
l
, since 1 is a realvalued function and , 0, (3.7) follows immedi
ately.
The next theorem provides a partial converse to the theorem above. It shows
that
+
is the only solution to the functional equation that satises a certain
boundedness condition.
Theorem 25 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 12. If the function is a
solution to FE and satises
lim
no
,
n
(r
n
) = 0, all (r
0
, r
l
, ...) H(r
0
), all r
0
A, (3.8)
then =
+
.
Proof. If (r
0
) is nite, then (3.4) and (3.5) hold. We want to show given this,
(3.2) and (3.3) also hold.
Notice that (3.4) implies that for all r H(r
0
),
(r
0
) _ 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,(r
l
)
_ 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,1(r
l
, r
2
) ,
2
(r
2
)
.......
_ n
n
( r) ,
nl
(r
nl
), : = 0, 1, 2, ...
Take the limit on both side as : and using the denition of n( r) and
boundary condition (3.8), we nd (3.2) holds.
Next, we show (3.3) also holds. Fix  0 and choose c

o
=l
in 1
such
that
o
=l
,
l
c

_ . Since (3.5) holds, we can choose r
l
I(r
0
), r
2
I(r
l
),
... so that
(r

) _ 1(r

, r
l
) ,(r
l
) c
l
, t = 0, 1, ...
Then r = (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ...) H(r
0
), and by repeatedly applying the inequality
above, we have
(r
0
) _ 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,(r
l
) c
l
_ 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,(1(r
l
, r
2
) ,(r
2
) c
2
) c
l
.......
_
n
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) ,
nl
(r
nl
)
n
=0
,

c
l
_ n
n
( r) ,
nl
(r
nl
) 
Now thake limit when : , (3.8) implies
+
(r
0
) _ n( r) . (3.3) holds.
36 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
If (r
0
) = , choose : _ 0 and (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ..., r
n
) such that r

I(r
l
)
and (r

) = for t = 0, 1, ..., : and (r
nl
) < for all r
n
I(r
nl
).
Clearly (3.8) implies that : is nite. Fix any 0. Since (r
n
) = , (3.6)
implies that we can choose r
.
nl
I(r
n
) such that
1(r
n
, r
.
nl
) ,(r
.
nl
) _ ,
n
[ 1
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
)[.
Since (r
nl
) < , we can choose r
.
nl
H(r
.
nl
) such that by (3.3) (re
member we already proved that it holds)
n( r
.
nl
) _ (r
.
nl
) ,
(nl)
Then r
.
= (r
0
, r
l
, ..., r
n
, r
.
nl
) H(r
0
), and
n( r
.
) =
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) ,
n
1(r
n
, r
.
nl
) ,
nl
n( r
.
nl
) (using the Lemma)
_
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) ,
n
1(r
n
, r
.
nl
) ,
nl
((r
.
nl
) ,
(nl)
)
=
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) ,
n
1(r
n
, r
.
nl
) ,
nl
(r
.
nl
) 1
=
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) ,
n
(1(r
n
, r
.
nl
) ,(r
.
nl
)) 1
_
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) 1
nl
=0
,

1(r

, r
l
) 1
= .
Since 0 is arbitrary, we nd a sequence r
.
H(r
0
) such that lim
.o
n( r
.
) =
.
If (3.8) holds, then (3.7) implies that has to be bounded. Therefore, it
cannot take the value .
This theorem immediately implies that FE can only have at most one solu
tion satisfying (3.8). The following example is a case where FE has an extraneous
solution in addition to
+
.
Consider the following consumption problem of an innitely lived HH. The
household has initial wealth r
0
A = 1. He can borrow or lend at a gross
interest rate 1 r =
l
o
. So the price of a bond that pays o one unit of
consumption next period is =
l
l:
= ,. There are no borrowing constraints,
so the sequential budget constraint is
c

,r
l
_ r

3.1. THE PRINCIPLE OF OPTIMALITY 37
Now the social planners problem is
max
o
=0
,

c

:.t.
0 _ c

_ r

,r
l
r
0
given.
Since there are no borrowing constraints, the consumer can assure herself innite
utility by just borrowing an innite amount in period 0 and then rolling over the
debt by even borrowing more in the future. i.e., r
l
= =c

= . Such a
strategy is called a Ponzi scheme. Consumption is unbounded, the sup function
is obviously
+
(r) = , for all r. Now consider the recursive formulation of
this problem. The return function is 1(r, j) = r ,j, and the correspondence
describing the feasible set is I(r) = (, ,
l
r[. The FE is
(r) = sup
o
1
r
[r ,j ,(j)[.
Obviously the function (r) = satises this functional equation, SP=FE.
But (r) = r, \r is feasible, also satises FE (Check!). However, since the se
quence r

= ,

r
0
o
=0
is in I(r
0
), while
lim
no
,
n
(r
n
) = lim
no
,
n
r
n
= r
0
0,
(3.8) does not hold here. Hence (r) = r, although is a solution to FE, not a
solution to SP. FE;SP.
Remark 26 It is actually easy to understand that value function (r) = r with
feasible allocation r

= ,

r
0
o
=0
cannot be the solution to SP in terms of
economic sense. Allocation r

= ,

r
0
o
=0
implies c

= 0
o
=0
, which in turn
will yield zero lifetime utility.
Now we want to establish a similar equivalence between SP and FE with
respect to the optimal policies/plans. We call a feasible plan r H(r
0
) an
optimal plan from r
0
if it attains the supremum in SP, that is, if n( r) =
+
(r
0
).
The next two theorems deal with the relationship between optimal plans and
those that satisfy the policy equation (3.1) for =
+
. The following theorem
shows that optimal plans satisfy (3.1).
Theorem 27 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 12. Let r
+
H(r
0
) be a
feasible plan that attains the supremum in SP for initial state r
0
. Then
+
(r
+

) = 1(r
+

, r
+
l
) ,(r
+
l
), t = 0, 1, 2, ... (3.9)
38 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
Proof. Since r
+
attains the supremum, we have
+
(r
0
) = n( r
+
) (3.10)
= 1(r
0
, r
+
l
) ,n( r
+t
)
_ n( r)
= 1(r
0
, r
l
) ,n( r
t
), all r H(r
0
).
The rst equality comes from the denition of
+
. The second equality comes
from Lemma 23. The third inequality is from equation (3.2). The fourth equality
again is using Lemma 23. In particular, the inequality holds for all plans with
r
l
= r
+
l
. Since (r
+
l
, r
2
, r
3
, ...) H(r
+
l
) implies that (r
0
, r
+
l
, r
2
, r
3
, ...) H(r
0
),
it follows that
n( r
+t
) _ n( r
t
), all r H(r
+
l
).
Therefore n( r
+t
) is a supremum. By denition, n( r
+t
) = (r
+
l
). Substituting
this into (3.10) gives (3.9) for t = 0. Continuing by induction establishes (3.9)
for all t.
The next theorem provides a partial converse to Theorem 27. It says that
any sequence satisfying (3.9) and a boundedness condition is an optimal plan.
Theorem 28 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 12. Let r
+
H(r
0
) be a
feasible plan from r
0
satisfying (3.9), and with
lim
o
sup,

+
(r
+

) _ 0. (3.11)
Then r
+
attains the supremum in SP for initial state r
0
.
Proof. Suppose that r
+
H(r
0
) satises (3.9) and (3.11). Then it follows by
an induction on (3.9) that
+
(r
0
) = 1(r
0
, r
+
l
) ,
+
(r
+
l
)
= 1(r
0
, r
+
l
) ,[1(r
+
l
, r
+
2
) ,
+
(r
+
2
)[
= 1(r
0
, r
+
l
) ,1(r
+
l
, r
+
2
) ,
2
[1(r
+
2
, r
+
3
) ,
+
(r
+
3
)[
......
=
n
=0
,

1(r
+

, r
+
l
) ,
nl
+
(r
+
nl
), : = 1, 2, ...
Then take limit on both sides and using (3.11), we nd that
+
(r
0
) _ n( r
+
).
Since r
+
H(r
0
), by denition of
+
(r
0
) = sup
rI(r0)
n( r), we also have
+
(r
0
) _ n( r
+
). This establishes the result.
The consumption example (or Cakeeating problem) used after Theorem
25 can be modied to illustrate why the boundary condition (3.11) is needed.
Now we impose a borrowing constraint of zero (you can only save, not borrow).
3.2. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING WITH BOUNDED RETURNS 39
The sequential problem is
max
]rt+1]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

(r

,r
l
)
:.t.
0 _ r
l
_ ,
l
r

, t = 0, 1, 2, ...
r
0
given
Obviously the supremum function is
+
(r
0
) = r
0
, all r
0
_ 0. It is also clear
that this
+
satises FE
+
(r) = max
0o
1
r
[r ,j ,
+
(j)[, all r
as Theorem 24 implies.
Now consider plans that attain the optimum. Obviously, (r
0
, 0, 0, 0, ...) (only
consume in period 0) is a feasible plan. It is clear that this plan satises
(3.9). Since it is also clear that lim
o
sup,

+
(r
+

) = 0 for this plan, as
Theorem 28 states, this plan attains the supremum in SP. Similarly, plans like
(r
0
, ,
l
r
0
, 0, 0, ...) (only consume in period 1), (r
0
, ,
l
r
0
, ,
2
r
0
, 0, 0, ...) (only
consume in period 2) and all convex combinations of them attain the supre
mum in SP. But feasible plan r

= ,

r
0
, t = 0, 1, 2, ... (never consume, save
forever) does not attain the supremum because
lim
o
sup,

+
(r
+

) = lim
o
sup,

(,

r
0
) = r
0
0.
(3.11) is violated hence Theorem 28 does not apply.
3.2 Dynamic Programming with Bounded Re
turns
In this section we study functional equations of the form
(r) = max
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,(j)[ (3.12)
under the assumption that function 1 is bounded and the discount factor , is
strictly less than one.
Lets make some further assumptions.
Assumption 3: A is a convex subset of 1
l
, and the correspondence I :
A A is noempty, compactvalued, and continuous.
Assumption 4: The function 1 : 1 is bounded and continuous, and
0 < , < 1.
Recall that is the graph of I
= (r, j) A A : j I(r).
40 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
Clearly, under Assumption 34, Assumption 12 hold. Therefore, the the
orems in the previous section apply. We dene the policy correspondence
G : A A by
G(r) = j I(r) : (r) = 1(r, j) ,(j). (3.13)
If a sequence r = (r
0
, r
l
, r
2
, ....) satises r
l
I(r

), t = 0, 1, 2, ..., we will
say that r is generated from r
0
by G. So Theorem 27 and 28 imply that for
any r
0
A, a sequence r
+

attains the supremum in SP i it is generated by
G. (Thorem 25 establish the onlt if part. Theorem 26 together with the facts
that
+
is bounded and 0 < , < 1 guarantee that lim
o
sup,

+
(r
+

) = 0,
hence proves the if part.)
Dene the operator T on the space of bounded continuous function C(A)
by
(T))(r) = max
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,)(j)[ (3.14)
Therefore, functional equation (3.12) becomes = T, i.e., is a xed point of
the functional equation.
The following theorem establishes that T : C(A) C(A), that T has
a unique xed point in C(A), and that the policy correspondence dened in
(3.13) is nonempty and u.h.c.
Theorem 29 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 34, and let C(A) be the
space of bounded continuous functions ) : A 1, with the sup norm. Then
the operator T maps C(A) into itself, T : C(A) C(A); T has a unique xed
point C(A); and for all
0
C(A),
T
n
0
 _ ,
n

n
 , : = 0, 1, 2, ...
Moreover, given , the optimal policy correspondence G : A A dened by
(3.13) is compactvalued and u.h.c.
Proof. Under Assumptions 34, for each ) C(A), and r A, the problem
in (3.14) is to maximize the continuous function [1(r, ) ,)()[ over the com
pact set I(r). Hence according to maximum value theorem, the maximum is
attained. Since both 1 and ) are bounded, clearly T) is bounded. And since
1 and ) are continuous, and I is compactedvalued and continuous, it follows
from the Theorem of Maximum (Theorem 21) that T) is continuous. Therefore,
T is a mapping from C(A) to itself.
Then it is easy to show that T satises Blackwells sucient conditions for
a contraction mapping (Theorem 15). According to Theorem 3.1 in SLP, C(A)
with a sup norm is a complete normed vector space. Therefore, Contraction
Mapping Theorem (Theorem 15) applies, that T has a unique xed point
C(A), ans we have T
n
0
 _ ,
n

n
. The stated properties of G then
follow from the Theorem of Maximum.
It follows immediately from Theorem 25 that under the hypothesis of The
orem 29, the unique bounded continuous function satisfying FE is also the
3.2. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING WITH BOUNDED RETURNS 41
supremum function for SP. Therefore, supremum function in SP is also bounded
and continuous. Moreover, it then follows from Theorem 28 and 29 that there
exists at least one optimal plan: any plan generated by the correspondence G
is optimal.
In order to characterize and G more sharply, we need further information
about 1 and I.
Assumption 5: For each j, 1(, j) is strictly increasing in each of its rst
 arguments.
Assumption 6: I is monotone in the sense that r _ r
t
implies I(r) _
I(r
t
).
Under these assumptions, we can show that the value function is strictly
increasing.
Theorem 30 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 36, and let be the unique
solution to FE (3.12). Then is strictly increasing.
Proof. Obviously. See SLP P. 80.
We have a similar result in spirit if we make assumptions about the curvature
of the return function and the convexity of the constraint set.
Assumption 7: 1 is strictly concave, i.e.,
1[0(r, j) (1 0)(r
t
, j
t
)[ _ 01(r, j) (1 0)1(r
t
, j
t
),
all (r, j), (r
t
, j
t
) , and all 0 (0, 1)
and the inequality is strict if r ,= r
t
.
What is the economic meaning of this assumption? (strictly convex prefer
ence, love of variety)
Assumption 8: I is convex in the sense that for any 0 [0, 1[, and r, r
t
A, j I(r) and j
t
I(r
t
) implies
0j (1 0)j
t
I[0r (1 0)r
t
[
What is the economic meaning of this assumption? (no increasing returns)
Theorem 31 Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy Assumption 34 and 78; let be the
unique solution to FE (3.12); and let policy correspondence G satisfy (3.13).
Then is strictly concave and G is a continuous, singlevalued function.
Proof. Let C
t
(A) C(A) be the set of bounded, continuous, weakly concave
functions on A, and let C
tt
(A) C
t
(A) be the set of strictly concave func
tion. Obviously, C
t
(A) is a closed subset of the complete metric space C(A).
According to Theorem 29 and Theorem 16, in order to show C
tt
(A), it is
sucient to show that T[C
t
(A)[ _ C
tt
(A).
To verify this, let ) C
t
(A) and let
r
0
,= r
l
, 0 (0, 1), and r
0
= 0r
0
(1 0)r
l
.
42 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
Let j
I
I(r
I
) attain (T))(r
I
), for i = 0, 1. Then by Assumption 8, we know
j
0
= 0j
0
(1 0)j
l
I(r
0
). It follows that
(T))(r
0
) _ 1(r
0
, j
0
) ,)(j
0
)
[01(r
0
, j
0
) (1 0)1(r
l
, j
l
)[ ,[0)(j
0
) (1 0))(j
l
)[
= 0[1(r
0
, j
0
) ,)(j
0
)[ (1 0)[1(r
l
, j
l
) ,)(j
l
)[
= 0(T))(r
0
) (1 0)(T))(r
l
).
Where the rst weak inequality comes from the denition of (T)) (see equation
(3.14)) and the fact j
0
I(r
0
); the second strict inequality uses the hypothesis
that ) C
t
(A), i.e., ) is weakly concave and Assumption 7, 1 is strictly
concave. and the last equality comes from the way j
0
and j
l
were selected.
Since r
0
and r
l
are arbitrary, it follows that T) is strictly concave, and since )
is arbitrary, we have T[C
t
(A)[ _ C
tt
(A).
Now since T[C
t
(A)[ _ C
tt
(A) C
t
(A), according to Theorem 16, we have
C
tt
(A). is strictly concave. Therefore, objective function 1(r, j) ,)(j)
is strictly concave. By Assumption 8, the constraint set I(r) is strictly convex,
it follows that the maximum in mapping T problem (3.14) is attained at a
unique j value. Hence G is a singlevalued function. The continuity of G then
follows from the fact that it is u.h.c. (See Theorem 29).
Since now, we call this singlevalued policy correspondence G policy function,
we denote it as q. From the Contraction Mapping Theorem, we know that we
can obtain the value function by repeatly iterating FE, eventually
n
.
Can we also have a similar result for policy function?
Theorem 32 (Convergence of the policy functions) Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy
Assumption 34 and 78; let be the unique solution to FE (3.12); and let policy
function q satises (3.13). Let C
t
(A) be the set of bounded, continuous, concave
functions ) : A 1 and let
0
C
t
(A). Let (
n
, q
n
) be dened by
nl
= T
n
, : = 0, 1, 2, ...
and
q
n
(r) = aig max
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,)
n
(j)[, : = 0, 1, 2, ...
Then q
n
q pointwise. If A is compact, then the convergence is uniform.
This theorem is the theoretical foundation of the policy function iteration
method to solving dynamic programming.
Proof. Skip. See SLP P. 82.
Finally we state a result about the dierentiability of the value function ,
the famous envelope theorem (some people call it the BenvenisteScheinkman
theorem).
We begin with the theorem originally proved by Benveniste and Scheinkman.
Theorem 33 (BenvenisteScheinkman) Let A _ 1
l
be a convex set, let \ :
A 1 be concave, let r
0
i:tA, and let 1 be a neighborhood of r
0
. If there
3.2. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING WITH BOUNDED RETURNS 43
is a concave, dierentiable function \ : 1 1, with \(r
0
) = \ (r
0
) and with
\(r) _ \ (r) for all r 1, then \ is dierentiable at r
0
, and
\
I
(r
0
) = \
I
(r
0
), i = 1, 2, ..., ,
where \
I
is the rstorder derivative of \ w.r.t. the ith argument.
Proof. Any subgradient j of \ at r
0
(j = \
I
(r
0
)) must satisfy
j (r r
0
) _ \ (r) \ (r
0
) _ \(r) \(r
0
), all r 1
where the rst inequality uses the denition of a subgradient and the fact that
\ is concave. The second uses the fact that \(r) _ \ (r), with equality at
r
0
. Since \ is dierentiable at r
0
, j is unique, and any unique function with a
unique subgradient at an interior point r
0
is dierentiable at r
0
.
Remark 34 We call \ is the envelope for \ in the case above.
[ Insert Figure 4.1 in SLP here. ]
Apply this theorem to dynamic programs is straightforward, but we need
the following additional restriction.
Assumption 9: 1 is continuously dierentiable on the interior of .
Theorem 35 (Dierentiability of the value function) Let A, 1, I, and , satisfy
Assumption 34 and 79; let be the unique solution to FE (3.12); and let
policy function q satises (3.13). If r
0
i:tA and q(r
0
) i:tI(r
0
), then is
continuously dierentiable at r
0
, with derivatives given by
I
(r
0
) = 1
I
[r
0
, q(r
0
)[, i = 1, 2, ..., .
Proof. Since q(r
0
) i:tI(r
0
) and I is continuous, it follows that q(r
0
)
i:tI(r), for all r in some neighborhood 1 of r
0
. Dene \ on 1 by
\(r) = 1[r, q(r
0
)[ ,[q(r
0
)[.
Since 1 is concave and dierentiable in its rst  arguments (Assumption 7),
and dierentiable (Assumption 9), it follows that \ is concave and dierentiable
w.r.t. r. Moreover, since q(r
0
) i:tI(r), for all r 1, it follows that
\(r) _ max
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,(j)[ = (r), \r 1,
with equality at r
0
. Hence and \ satisfy the hypothesis of Benveniste
Scheinkman Theorem, it thus establishes the result.
This theorem gives us an easy way to derive Euler equations from the recur
sive formulation of the neoclassical growth model. Recall FE
(/) = max
0
0
}()
l()(/) /
t
) ,(/
t
)
44 CHAPTER 3. DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING UNDER CERTAINTY
Take the FOC w.r.t. /
t
, we get
l
t
()(/) /
t
) = ,
t
(/
t
)
Denote by /
t
= q(/) the optimal policy function. The problem is that we do
not know
t
. That is the reason why we need BenvenisteScheinkman theorem.
According to Theorem 35, we have
t
(/) = l
t
()(/) /
t
))
t
(/)
Substituting it into FOC
l
t
()(/) /
t
) = ,
t
(/
t
)
= ,l
t
()(/
t
) /
tt
))
t
(/
t
)
That is the same Euler equation (secondorder dierence equation) as we obtain
by using Euler equation approach to solve SP.
Chapter 4
Computational Dynamic
Programming
The previous chapter lays out the theoretical foundation of dynamic program
ming. Under ordinary assumptions of objective function and constraint set, we
show the existence and uniqueness of the value function. We also show that this
value function is strictly increasing, strictly concave, and continuously dieren
tiable. And there is a unique and timeinvariant optimal policy function q for
the functional equation.
The goal of this chapter is to show how we can solve FE
(r) = max
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,(j)[ (4.1)
practically. We rst introduce three main types of computational methods for
solving DP. Then we will talk about two popular methods for obtaining numer
ical approximations of value and policy functions.
4.1 Three Computational Methods
There are three widely used computational methods for solving dynamic pro
gramming problems like the one in (4.1).
4.1.1 Value Function Iteration
The rst method proceeds by constructing a sequence of value functions and the
associated policy functions. The sequence is created by iterating on the following
equation, starting from
0
= 0, and continuing until
n
has converged
1
:
nl
(r) = max
I(r)
[1(r, j) ,
n
(j)[.
1
In practice, we will use a tolerance say tc = 10
8
for the stopping criteria of the con
veregnce. i.e., we stop when k
n+1
nk < tc.
45
46 CHAPTER 4. COMPUTATIONAL DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
As we said before, the Contraction Mapping Theorem is the theoretical foun
dation for this method. It assets that no matters what initial guess
0
is, the
sequence
n
o
n=0
will converge to xed point at a geometric rate of ,.
4.1.2 Guess and Verify
As the name of this method, Guess and Verify method involves guessing a
functional form of the value function and then substituting the guess back
into FE to verify that it is indeed a correct guess. This method relies on the
uniqueness of the solution to FE. But because it relies on luck in making a good
guess, it is not generally available.
The optimal growth model with utility function l(c) = lnc and Cobb
Douglas production function )(/) = /
o
is a example that we can apply Guess
and Verify method. Please see Section 1.2.3 for a detailed explanation.
Here is another example that we can use Guess and Verify.
Example 36 Consider optimal growth model with l(c) = lnc and production
function )(/) = /
2
. This problem is called CakeEating. FE is
(/) = max
0
0

[ln(/ /
t
) ,(/
t
)[ (4.2)
Lets guess (/) = 1ln/, 1 is the coecient to be determined. Substituting
our guess into FE above, we obtain
1ln/ = (/) = max
0
0

[ln(/ /
t
) ,1ln/
t
[
FOC w.r.t. /
t
is
1
/ /
t
=
,1
/
t
=
/
t
=
,1
1 ,1
/
Substituting this optimal policy function back into FE
1ln/ = (/)
= ln(
1
1 ,1
/) ,1ln(
,1
1 ,1
/)
= (1 ,1) ln/ ,1ln
,1
1 ,1
ln(
1
1 ,1
)
which implies
1 = 1 ,1
=
1 =
1
1 ,
2
Obviously, the cakeeating problem is a special case for the general case with log utility
function and CD production technology.
4.2. PRACTICAL DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING 47
Hence
(/) =
1
1 ,
ln/
/
t
= q(/) = ,/
4.1.3 Policy Function Iteration
A third method, known as policy function iteration or Howards improvement
algorithm, consists of the following steps:
1. Pick a feasible policy, j = q
0
(r), and compute the value function associ
ated with operating forever with this policy
r
(r) =
o
=0
,

1[r

, q
n
(r

)[
where r
l
= q
n
(r

) with : = 0.
2. Generate a new policy j = q
nl
(r) that solves the twoperiod problem
for each r
max
[1(r, j) ,
r
(j)[.
3. Iterate over : to convergence on steps 1 and 2.
The idea about the policy function iteration method is following: Suppose
we start from an initial guess of policy function j = q
0
(r). Plug this policy
function into SP, we can calculate the associated value function. Now given this
value function, we go back to FE, to solve a dynamic problem that economy will
follow the suggested policy function since tomorrow to forever. We solve this
FE to obtain a new policy function. If this new policy function is as same as
the one guessed before, we achieve the timeinvariant optimal policy function,
hence we stop. Otherwise, we use the newly solved one to replace the initial
guess to start the process again until it converges.
The theoretical foundation for policy function iteration is Theorem 32. Since
this algorithm does not require maximization (maximization is usually the ex
pensive step in these computations), this method ofen converges faster than
does value function iteration.
So far, only two special types of dynamic problems can be analytically solved.
One is with logarithmic preference and CobbDouglas constraints, which is stud
ied in this chapter. Another is an economy with linear constraints and quadratic
preference which will be studied in the next chapter. Therefore we have to rely
on computer to do the iterations for us.
4.2 Practical Dynamic Programming
What can we do if we cannot obtain closed form solutions for iterating on the
Bellman equation (or functional equation)? We have to adopt some numerical
approximations. This section will describe two popular methods for obtaining
48 CHAPTER 4. COMPUTATIONAL DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
numerical approximations for value function: discretestate dynamic program
ming and polynomial approximations.
4.2.1 Discretestate Dynamic Programming
We introduce the method of discretization of the state space in the context of
a particular discretestate version of a stochastic optimal savings problem. An
innitely lived household likes to consume one good, which it can acquire by
using labor income or accumulated savings. The household has an endowment
of labor at time t , :

, that evolves according to an :state Markov chain with
transition matrix 1 (See Section 1.3.1 for details). If the realization of the
process at t is :
I
, then at time t the household receives labor income of amount
n :
I
. The wage n is xed over time. For simplicity, we sometimes assume that :
is 2, and that :

takes on value 0 in an unemployed state and 1 in an employed
state. In this case, n has the interpretation of being the wage of employed
workers.
The household can choose to hold a single asset in discrete amount a

/,
where / is a grid [a
l
< a
2
< ... < a
n
[. The interest rate for asset holding r is
constant over time.
For given values of n, r and given initial values of a
0
, :
0
, the HHs op
timization problem is
max
]ct,ot+1]
1
t=0
1
0
o
=0
,

l(c

)
:.t.
c

a
l
_ (1 r)a

n:

c

_ 0, a
l
/
The associated Bellman equation (FE) is
(a, :) = max
o
0
,
l[(1 r)a n: a
t
[ ,1(a
t
, :
t
) [ :.
Or more specically, in terms of discretestate space, for each i [1, 2, ..., :[
and / [1, 2, ..., :[,
(a

, :
I
) = max
o
0
,
l[(1 r)a

n :
I
a
t
[ ,
n
=l
I
(a
t
, :
) (4.3)
A solution of this problem is a value function (a, :) that satises equation
(4.3) and an associated policy function a
t
= q(a, :) mapping this periods state
variables (a, :) pair into an optimal choice of assets to carry into next period.
Value Function Iteration
We pick value function iteration method to slove this Bellman equation numer
ically. But how to write a computer program (for example Matlab code) to do
iteration on the Bellman equation (4.3)?
4.2. PRACTICAL DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING 49
Let / = [a
l
, a
2
, ..., a
n
[ be the asset space and o = [:
l
, :
2
[ be the discrete
space for employment status. Dene two : 1 vectors
, , = 1, 2, whose ith
rows are determined by
(i) = (a
I
, :
a

[, i = 1, ..., :, / = 1, ..., :.
In words, 1
, the
asset holding at the beginning of period t is a
I
, and the agent will choose to
hold asset amount a

through this period.
Dene an operator T([
l
,
2
[) that maps a pair of vectors [
l
,
2
[ into a pair
of vector [t
l
, t
2
[:
t
l
..
nl
= max 1
l
..
nn
,
ll
1
..
nl
t
l
..
ln
,
l2
1
..
nl
t
2
..
ln
t
2
= max1
2
,
2l
1
t
l
,
22
1
t
2
. (4.4)
Here the max operator applied to a :: matrix ' returns an (:1) vector
whose ith element is the maximum of the ith row of the matrix '. These two
equations can be written compactly as
_
t
l
t
2
_
= max
_
1
l
1
2
_
,(1 1)
_
t
l
t
2
_
,
where is the Kronecker product.
The Bellman equation then can be represented as a xed point
(
l
,
2
) = T([
l
,
2
[),
and can be solved by iterating to converegnce on
[
l
,
2
[
nl
= T([
l
,
2
[
n
).
Lets briey summarize the procedure of a standard value function iteration
method:
1. Choosing a functional form for the utility function and production tech
nology.
2. Discretizing the state and control variables.
3. Building a computer code to perform value function iteration.
4. Evaluating the value and the policy function.
50 CHAPTER 4. COMPUTATIONAL DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
Policy Function Iteration
Ofen time computation speed is very important. As we mentioned before, policy
improvement algorithm can be much faster than directly iterating on the Bell
man equation. It is also easy to implement the Howard improvement algorithm
in the present setting.
Consider a given feasible policy function a
t
= q(a, :). For each /, dene the
: : matrices J

by
J

(a, a
t
) =
_
1 if q(a, :

) = a
t
0 otherwise
Here / = 1, 2, ..., : where : is the number of possible values for state :

, and
J

(a, a
t
) is the element of J

with rows corresponding to initial assets a and
columns to terminal assets a
t
. J

(a, a
t
) is an index function. When a
t
satises
the policy function, it is one; otherwise zero.
For a given policy function a
t
= q(a, :), dene the :1 vector r

with rows
corresponding to
r

(a) = l[(1 r)a n:

q(a, :

)[ (4.5)
for / = 1, 2, ..., :. Therefore, vector r

is the utility level when the state is :

,
the asset holding at the beginning of current period is a, and the next period
asset holding is determined by policy function q(a, :

). The ith element of r

is
corresponded to the current asset holding a
I
and the next period asset holding
q(a
I
, :

).
Suppose the policy function a
t
= q(a, :) will be used forever. Let the value
function associated with using q(a, :) forever be represented by the : vectors
[
l
,
2
, ...,
n
[. Each vector

, / = 1, 2, ..., : is a : 1 vector where its ith
element

(a
I
) is the value of lifetime utility starting from state (a
I
, :

). Suppose
that : = 2, the vectors [
l
,
2
[ obey
_
l
2
_
=
_
r
l
r
2
_
_
,
ll
J
l
,
l2
J
l
,
2l
J
2
,
22
J
2
_ _
l
2
_
. (4.6)
Then
_
l
2
_
=
_
1 ,
_
ll
J
l
l2
J
l
2l
J
2
22
J
2
__
l
_
r
l
r
2
_
(4.7)
where 1 is a 2: 2: identity matrix.
Here is how to implement the Policy Function Iteration algorithm.
Step 1. For an initial feasible policy function q
l
,
2
[ implied by using that policy forever.
Step 2. Use [
l
,
2
[ as the terminal value vectors in Bellman equation (4.4),
and perform one step on the Bellman equation to nd a new policy function
q
l
(a, :) for , 1 = 2. Use this policy function, update ,, and repeat step 1.
Step 3. Iterate to converegnece on steps 1 and 2. i.e., if
_
_
_[
l
l
,
l
2
[ [
l
,
2
[
_
_
_ <
, stop.
4.3. POLYNOMIAL APPROXIMATIONS 51
Note that having a good initial guess of policy function is crucial. Given
a good guess close to the actual policy function, policy function iteration of
ten takes a few iterations. Unfortunately, the inverse operation in step 2
may be expensive, making each iteration costly. Researchers have had an ac
celeration procedure called modied policy iteration with / steps, implements
the basic idea of policy iteration without intensively computing the inverse
_
1 ,
_
ll
J
l
l2
J
l
2l
J
2
22
J
2
__
l
. The idea is for / _ 2, iterate / times on Bellman
equation (4.4). Take the resulting policy and value function and use (4.7) to
produce a new candidate value function. Then starting from this terminal value
function, perform another / iterations on the Bellman equation. Continue in
this fashion until the decision rule converges. In this way, we avoid intensively
repeating inverse operation in step 2 by mixing the advantages of value function
iteration and policy function iteration.
4.3 Polynomial Approximations
In this section, we describe a numerical method for iterating on the Bellman
equation using a polynomial to approximate the value function and a numerical
optimizer to perform the optimization at each iteration.
We describe this method in the context of the Bellman equation for a par
ticular economic problem: Hopenhayn and Nicolini (1997)s model of optimal
umemployment insurance. In their model, a planner wants to provide incentives
to an unemployed worker to search for a new job while also partially insuring
the worker against bad luck in the search process. The planner seeks to deliver
discounted expected utility \ to an unemployed worker at minimum cost while
providing proper incentives to search for work. Hopenhayn and Nicolini show
that the minimum cost C(\ ) satises the Bellman equation as following
C(\ ) = min
\
r
c ,[1 j(a)[C(\
u
) (4.8)
where c, a are given by
c = l
l
[max(0, \ a ,j(a)\
t
[1 j(a)[\
u
)[, (4.9)
and
a = max0,
log[r,(\
t
\
u
)[
r
. (4.10)
Here \ is a discounted present value that an insurer (social planner) has promised
to an umemployed worker. \
t
is the expected sum of discounted utility of an
employed worker. \
u
is a value for next period that the insurer promises the
worker if he remains unemployed. 1 j(a) is the probability of remaining un
employed if the worker exerts search eort a, and c is the workers consumption
52 CHAPTER 4. COMPUTATIONAL DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
level.
\
t
=
l(n)
1 ,
\
u
= max
o0
l(0) a ,[j(a)\
t
(1 j(a))\
u
[
Hopenhayn and Nicolini assume that j(a) = 1 oxp(ra), r 0.
4.3.1 Computational Strategy
To approximate the solution of the Bellman equation (4.8), we use a polynomial
to approximate the ith iteration C
I
(\ ) of C(\ ). This polynomial is stored on
the computer in terms of :1 coecients. Then at each iteration, the Bellman
equation is to be solved at a small number : _ :1 values of \ . This procedure
gives values of the ith iterate of the value function C
I
(\ ) at those particular \ s.
Then we interpolate (or connect the dots) to ll in the continuous function
C
I
(\ ). Substituting this approximation C
I
(\ ) for C(\ ) in equation (4.8), we
pass the minimum problem on the right side of equation (4.8) to a numerical
minimizer. Programming languages like Matlab and Gauss have easytouse
algorithms for minimizing continuous functions of several variables. We solve
one such numerical problem minimization for each node value for \ . Doing so
yields optimized value C
Il
(\ ) at those node points. We then interpolate to
build up C
Il
(\ ). We iterate on this scheme to convergence.
4.3.2 Chebyshev Polynomials
According to the Weierstarss Theorem, any continuous realvalued function )
dened on a bounded interval [a, /[ of the real line can be approximated to any
degree of accuracy using a polynomial. But what kind of polynomials are we
going to use to approximate C(\ )? The widely used one is called Chebyshev
Polynomials. ( Thoerem in Numerical Analysis shows that Chebyshev polyno
mials are optimal.)
for nonnegative integer : and r 1, the :th Chebyshev polynomial is
T
n
(r) = cos(
:
cos r
)
Given coecients c
I=l
c
(r). (4.11)
And it is dened over the interval [1, 1[. For computational purposes, we want
to form an approximator to a realvalued function ) of the form (4.11). Note
that a nice thing about this polynomial is this approximator simply can be
stored as the : 1 coecients c
s in equation (4.11).
4.3. POLYNOMIAL APPROXIMATIONS 53
In particular, to interpolate a function of a single variable r with domain
r [1, 1[, Judd (1998) recommends evaluating the function ) at the : _ :1
points r

, / = 1, 2, ..., :, where
r

= cos(
2/ 1
2:
), / = 1, 2, ..., :. (4.12)
Here r

is the zero of the /th Chebyshev polynomial on [1, 1[. Given the
: _ :1 values of )(r

) for / = 1, 2, ..., :, we choose the least square values
of coecient c
n
=l
)(r

)T
(r

)
n
=l
T
(r

)
2
, , = 0, 1, ..., : (4.13)
4.3.3 Numerical Algorithm
In summary, applied to the HopenhaynNicolini model, the numerical procedure
consists of the following steps:
1. Choose upper and lower bounds for \
u
, so that \ and \
u
will be in the
interval [V
u
,
\
u
[. In particular, set
\
u
= \
t
l
o
0
(0)
, the bound required
to assure positive search eort a 0.
2. Choose a degree : for the approximator, a Chebyshev polynomial, and a
number : _ : 1 of nodes or grid points.
3. Generate the : zeros of the Chebyshev polynomial on the domain [1, 1[,
given by (4.12).
4. By a change of scale, transform the r

s to the corresponding points \
u
l
in [V
u
,
\
u
[.
5. Choose initial values of the :1 coecients in the Chebyshev polynomial,
for example, c
o
=0
max
]ut]
1
t=0
o
=0
r
t

1r

n
t

Qn

:.t.
r
l
= r

1n

r
0
given.
Here r

is an : 1 vector of state variables, n

is an / 1 vector of control
variables, 1 is a negative semidenite (NSD) symmetric matrix, Q is a positive
55
56 CHAPTER 5. LINEAR QUADRATIC DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
denite (PD) symmetric matrix, is an :: matrix, and B is an :/ matrix.
We guess (recall the Guess and Verify method) that the value function is
quadratic,
(r) = r
t
1r
where 1 is a positive semidenite (PSD) symmetric matrix. We want to know
what does 1 look like.
Using the transition law r
l
= r

1n

to eliminate next periods state,
the Bellman equation becomes
(r

) = maxr
t

1r

n
t

Qn

(r
l
)
= maxr
t

1r

n
t

Qn

r
l
t
1r
l
= maxr
t

1r

n
t

Qn

(r

1n

)
t
1(r

1n

)
We can ignore the time subscript and rewrite RHS of Bellman equation as
following
(r) = max
u
r
t
1r n
t
Qn r
t
t
1r r
t
t
11n n
t
1
t
1r n
t
1
t
11n
FOC w.r.t. n is
1
(QQ
t
)n 1
t
1
t
r 1
t
1r (1
t
11 1
t
1
t
1)n = 0
Since Q and 1 are symmetric, we have
2Qn 21
t
11n 21
t
1r = 0
=
(Q1
t
11)n = 1
t
1r,
which implies the feedback rule (policy function) for n:
n = (Q1
t
11)
l
1
t
1r
or
n = 1r, where 1 = (Q1
t
11)
l
1
t
1 (5.1)
Substituting back the policy function (5.1) to Bellman equation, we have
2
(r) = r
t
1r (r
t
1
t
)Q(1r) r
t
t
1r r
t
t
11(1r) r
t
1
t
1
t
1r (r
t
1
t
)1
t
11(1r)
= r
t
1r r
t
1
t
Q1r r
t
t
1r r
t
t
111r r
t
1
t
1
t
1r r
t
1
t
1
t
111r
= r
t
1r r
t
t
1r r
t
t
111r r
t
1
t
1
t
1r r
t
1
t
(Q1
t
11)1r
= r
t
1r r
t
t
1r r
t
t
111r r
t
1
t
1
t
1r r
t
1
t
(Q1
t
11)(Q1
t
11)
l
1
t
1r
= r
t
1r r
t
t
1r r
t
t
111r r
t
1
t
1
t
1r r1
t
1
t
1r
= r
t
1r r
t
t
1r r
t
t
111r
= r
t
(1
t
1
t
111)r
1
We use the following rules for dierentiating quadratic and bilinear matrix forms:
@x
0
Ax
@x
=
(+
0
)a;
@y
0
Bz
@y
= 1:;
@y
0
Bz
@z
= 1
0
j.
2
Here we use transpose and inverse properties of matrix. (
0
)
0
= ; ( + 1)
0
=
0
+
1
0
; (1)
0
= 1
0
0
;
1
= 1; (
1
)
0
= (
0
)
1
. We also use the fact that 1, Q, 1 are
symmetric matrix.
5.1. THE OPTIMAL LINEAR REGULATOR PROBLEM 57
Note that by guess, we have
(r) = r
t
1r
This implies that in order to justify this guess, we should have
1 = 1
t
1
t
111
= 1
t
1
t
11(Q1
t
11)
l
1
t
1 (5.2)
Equation (5.2) is called the algebraic matrix Riccati equation. It expresses the
matrix 1 as an implicit function of the exogenously given matrices 1, Q, , 1.
Solving this equation for 1 requires a computer whenever 1 is larger than a
2 2 matrix.
5.1.2 Value Function Iteration
How to solve Riccati equation practically? Esstentially, Riccati equation is a
Bellman equation (think 1 as a value function ). Therefore, we can also apply
the numerical methods for solving Bellman equation here.
Under particular conditions, we can show that equation (5.2) has a unique
negative semidenite solution, which is approached in the limit as , by
iterations on the matrix diference Riccati equation:
1
l
= 1
t
1
t
1
1(Q1
t
1
1)
l
1
t
1
,
starting from initial guess 1
0
= 0. The policy function associated with 1
is
1
l
= (Q1
t
1
1)
l
1
t
1
=0
,

r
t

1r

n
t

Qn

:.t.
r
l
= r

1n

r
0
given,
where discount factor , (0, 1).
It is easy to show (we leave it as an exercise) that the matrix Riccati dier
ence equation for this problem is
1
l
= 1 ,
t
1
,
2
t
1
1(Q,1
t
1
1)
l
1
t
1
.
The associated policy function is
1
l
= ,(Q,1
t
1
1)
l
1
t
1
= 1 1
t
Q1
,(11
)
t
1
(11
)
1
l
= ,(Q,1
t
1
1)
l
1
t
1
(5.3)
The rst equation is a result for substituting r
l
= r

1n

= r

1(1r

) = ( 11)r

and n

= 1r

into the Bellman equation. It pins
down the matrix for the quadratic form in the value function associated with
using a xed rule 1
=
o
=0
,

((11
)
t
)

(1 1
t
Q1
)(11
)

(5.4)
The algorithm for policy function iteration is as following:
1. Pick initial guess for policy function 1
0
. By using (5.4), obtain 1
0
.
2. Substituting 1
0
into policy function equation (5.3) to obtain 1
l
.
3. If 1
l
1
0
 < , stop. Otherwise, go back to step 1 and repeat until the
converegnce.
5.1.5 Stochastic Optimal Linear Regulator Problem
The stochastic discounted linear optimal regulator problem is to choose a deci
sion rule for n

to maximize
1
0
max
]ut]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

r
t

1r

n
t

Qn

:.t.
r
l
= r

1n


l
r
0
given.

l
is an (:1) vector random variables that is independently and identically
distributed (i.i.d.) through time and obeys the normal distribution with mean
vector zero and convariance matrix . i.e., 
l
~ (0, ) and we have
1

= 0; 1


t

= .
3
This requirement is for the stability of the dynamic system.
5.1. THE OPTIMAL LINEAR REGULATOR PROBLEM 59
We guess value function takes the form
(r) = r
t
1r d (5.5)
where d is just a scalar. Now lets use Guess and Verify method to verify
what is 1 and d.
Substituting guess (5.5) into the Bellman equation
(r) = max
u
r
t
1r n
t
Qn ,1[(r 1n )
t
1(r 1n )[ ,d
= max
u
r
t
1r n
t
Qn ,1[r
t
t
1r r
t
t
11n
r
t
t
1 n
t
1
t
1r n
t
1
t
11n n
t
1
t
1

t
1r 
t
11n 
t
1[ ,d.
Note that 1 = 0,
(r) = max
u
r
t
1r n
t
Qn ,r
t
t
1r ,r
t
t
11n
,n
t
1
t
1r ,n
t
1
t
11n ,1
t
1 ,d
FOC w.r.t. n is
(Q,1
t
11)n = ,1
t
1r
Hence we have policy function
n = 1r, 1 = ,(Q,1
t
11)
l
1
t
1 (5.6)
which is identical to the certainty case.
Since 1
I

t
11(Q,1
t
11)
l
1
t
1
and
d = ,(1 ,)
l
tr(1)
Theorem 37 (Certainty Equivalence Principle): The decision rule that solves
the stochastic optimal linear regulator problem is identical with the decision rule
for the corresponding nonstochastic linear optimal regulator problem.
The remarkable thing about this principle is that although through d the
value function depends on , the optimal decision rule is not. In other words, the
optimal decision rule is independent of the problems noise statistics. The cer
tainty equivalence principle is a special property of the optimal linear regulator
problem and comes from the quadratic objective function, the linear transition
equation, and the property of random variable . Certainty equivalence does
not characterize stochastic control problems generally.
60 CHAPTER 5. LINEAR QUADRATIC DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
5.2 LinearQuadratic Approximations
This section describes an important use of the OLRP: to approximate the so
lution of more complicated dynamic programs. We already know that for most
of the dynamic decision problems there are no closedform solutions. But the
beauty of the LQ problem is that we can have solution to Bellman equation
by quickly using linear algebra. Therefore, the idea is that if we can approxi
mate a dynamic problem to a corresponding LQ problem, we can overcome this
diculty.
Optimal linear regulator problems are often used to approximate problems
of the following form:
max
]ut]
1
t=0
1
0
o
=0
,

r(.

)
:.t.
r
l
= r

1n

Cn
l
(5.7)
where n
l
is a vector of i.i.d. random disturbances with mean zero and
nite variance. r(.

) is a concave and twice continuously dierentiable function
of .

=
_
r

n

_
. Here r

is the state variable and n

is the control variable.
Lets use the sotchastic optimal growth model, which is the workhorse of
socalled Real Business Cycle (RBC) theory, to describe how can we transform
it to a LQ problem. The social planners problem is
max
]ct,t+1]
1
t=0
1
0
o
=0
,

lnc

:.t.
c

i

= 0

/
o

(5.8)
/
l
= (1 c)/

i

ln0
l
= j ln0

n
l
where n
l
is an i.i.d. random disturbances with mean zero and nite vari
ance. 0

is a technology shock. Dene
0

= ln0

. To transform this problem
into the form as in (5.7), we can dene
r

=
_
/

0

_
, n

= i

r(.

) = ln(/
o

oxp
0

i

).
Therefore, we can rewrite the laws of motion as
_
_
1
/
l
0
l
_
_
=
_
_
1 0 0
0 (1 c) 0
0 0 j
_
_
_
_
1
/

0

_
_
_
_
0
1
0
_
_
i

_
_
0
0
1
_
_
n
l
5.2. LINEARQUADRATIC APPROXIMATIONS 61
where it is convenient to add the constant 1 as the rst component of the state
vector.
Now here is the solution algorithm for solving problems as in (5.7).
1. Choose a point about which to expand the return function. In most cases,
this point is the steady state of the deterministic version of the model
economy, call it ., that we obtain when we substitute the random variables
with their unconditional means.
2. Construct a quadratic approximation of r(.

) around . by using Taylors
expansion.
3. Compute the optimal value function (r) by value function iteration method.
Now lets explain more detailedly step by step.
How to determine .? Usually, . is chosen as the (optimal) stationary state
of the nonstochastic version of the original nonlinear model:
max
]ut]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

r(.

)
:.t.
r
l
= r

1n

.
This stationary point is obtained in following steps:
1. Find the Euler equations.
2. Substitute .
l
= .

= . into the Euler equations and transition laws, and
solve the resulting system of nonlinear equations for ..
For example, for the following deterministic neoclassical growth model
max
o
=0
,

lnc

:.t.
c

i

= /
o

/
l
= (1 c)/

i

We know the Euler equation for this economy is
c
l
= ,c

[c/
ol

1 c[
Imposing the steady state condition c
l
= c

= c and /

=
/, we have
/ = (
c
l
o
1 c
)
l/(lo)
i = c
/
62 CHAPTER 5. LINEAR QUADRATIC DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
Therefore, the steady state vector for this economy is
. =
_
_
/
0
i
_
_
=
_
_
_
(
o
1
{
lo
)
l/(lo)
0
c(
o
1
{
lo
)
l/(lo)
_
_
_.
Next, we want to show how to replace return function r(.

) by a quadratic
form .
t

'.

. We use the method described in KydlandPrescott (1982). The
basic isea is to choose a point . and approximate with the rst two terms of a
Taylor series:
r(.) = r( .) (. .)
t
0r( .)
0.
1
2
(. .)
t
0
2
r( .)
0.0.
t
(. .). (5.9)
Note that .

is an (: / 1) 1 vector (recall the rst element of .

is the
constant one). Let c be the (: /) 1 vector with 0s everywhere except for
a 1 in the row corresponding to the location of the constant unity in the state
vector, i.e., c
t
= (1, 0, 0, ..., 0). Therefore, we have c
t
.

= 1 for all t.
Repeatedly using c
t
. = .
t
c = 1, we can express equation (5.9) as (leave as
an exercise for verifying it)
r(.) = .
t
'.,
where
' = c[r( .) (
0r( .)
0.
)
t
.
1
2
.
t
0
2
r( .)
0.0.
t
.[
. .
111
c
t
1
2
[
0r( .)
0.
c
t
c .
t
0
2
r( .)
0.0.
t
0
2
r( .)
0.0.
t
.c
t
c(
0r( .)
0.
)
t
[
. .
112=121
1
2
(
0
2
r( .)
0.0.
t
)
. .
122
.
The partial derivatives are evaluated at point .. Partition ', we have
.
t
'. =
_
r
n
_
t
_
'
ll
'
l2
'
2l
'
22
__
r
n
_
=
_
r
n
_
t
_
1 \
\
t
Q
__
r
n
_
= r
t
1r n
t
Qn 2n
t
\
t
r
Exercise 38 Transform the objective function in the stochastic growth model in
(5.8) to the LQ form .
t
'., then decompose it to the form r
t
1rn
t
Qn2n
t
\
t
r.
5.2. LINEARQUADRATIC APPROXIMATIONS 63
Step 3: Value function iteration. Now we transform the stochastic growth
model into a LQ framework
max 1
0
o
=0
,

r
t

1r

n
t

Qn

2n
t

\
t
r

:.t.
r
l
= r

1n

Cn
l
We can easily to show (leave as an exercise) that the optimal policy function
takes the form
n

= (Q,1
t
11)
l
(,1
t
1\
t
)r

and value function is
(r) = r
t
1r d
where 1 solves the algebraic matrix Riccati equation
1 = 1 ,
t
1(,
t
11 \)(Q,1
t
11)
l
(,1
t
1\
t
),
and
d = ,(1 ,)
l
tr(1CC
t
).
We can use either value function iteration or policy function iteration to solve
this LQ problem.
64 CHAPTER 5. LINEAR QUADRATIC DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING
Part II
Applications
65
Chapter 6
Economic Growth
Growth is a vast literature in macroeconomics, which seeks to explain some
facts in the longterm behavior of economies. This chapter is an introduction
to basic nonstochastic models of sustained economic growth
1
. It is divided in
three sections. In the rst section, we introduce the motivation for the theory:
the empirical regularity which the theory seeks to explain. The second section
is about exogenous growth models, i.e. models in which an exogenous change
in the production technology results in income growth as a theoretical result.
Finally, the third section introduces technological change as a decision variable,
and hence the growth rate becomes endogenously determined, i.e., somehow the
growth is chosen by the households in the economy.
6.1 Stylized Facts About Economic Growth
6.1.1 Kaldors stylized facts
The rst ve facts refer to the longrun behavior of economic variables in an
economy, whereas the sixth one involves an intercountry comparison.
1. The growth rate of output per worker (j =
Y
J
) q
=
Z
is relatively
constant over time.
2. The capitallabor ratio
1
J
grows at a relatively constant rate.
3. As a result of Facts 1 and 2, the capitalincome ratio
1
Y
is constant.
4. Real return to capital r is relatively constant over time.
5. As a result of Facts 3 and 4, capital and labor shares of income (c =
:1
Y
, 1 c =
uJ
Y
) are roughly constant over time.
1
This chapter is based on Krusells Lecture Notes for Macroeconomics I at Princeton Uni
versity, Chapter 8, Dirk Kreugers Macroeconomic Theory lecture notes, Chapter 9, and
LS, Chapter 14.
67
68 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
6. Growth rates of output persistently vary across countries. Figure below
shows the distribution of average yearly growth rates from 1960 to 1990.
The majority of countries grew at average rates of between 1% and 3%
(these are growth rates for real GDP per worker). Note that some coun
tries posted average growth rates in excess of 6% (Singapore, Hong Kong,
Japan, Taiwan, South Korea) whereas other countries actually shrunk,
i.e., had negative growth rates (Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guyana, Zambia,
Benin, Ghana, Mauretania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda,
Mali). We will sometimes call the rst group growth miracles, the sec
ond group growth disasters. Note that not only did the disasters relative
position worsen, but that these countries experienced absolute declines in
living standards. The US, in terms of its growth experience in the last 30
years, was in the middle of the pack with a growth rate of real GDP per
worker of 1.4% between 1960 and 1990.
In particular, the rst ve facts imply that economies exhibit Balanced
Growth Path (BGP) over time, i.e., the scale of the economy increases over
time, but the composition of output does not. These stylized facts motivated
the development of the neoclassical growth model, the Solow growth model, to
be discussed below. The Solow model has spectacular success in explaining the
stylized growth facts raised by Kaldor.
The sixth fact poses questions of what determines growth rate in dierent
countries. Solow model does a poor job to explain the crosscountry growth rate
6.1. STYLIZED FACTS ABOUT ECONOMIC GROWTH 69
dierences. This fact motivates socalled New Growth Theory.
6.1.2 Other Facts
Besides these classical facts, there are also other empirical regularities which
growth theory must account for. These are:
1. Output per worker
Y
J
is very dipersed across countries. The poorest coun
tries have about 5% of per capita GDP of US per capita GDP. This fact
makes a statement about dispersion in income levels instaed of growth
rates. When we look at Figure below, we see that out of the 104 coun
tries in the data set, 37 in 1990 and 38 in 1960 had per worker incomes
of less than 10% of the US level. The richest countries in 1990, in terms
of per worker income, are Luxembourg, the US, Canada and Switzerland
with over $30,000, the poorest countries, without exceptions, are in Africa.
Mali, Uganda, Chad, Central African Republic, Burundi, Burkina Faso all
have income per worker of less than $1000. Not only are most countries
extremely poor compared to the US, but most of the worlds population
is poor relative to the US.
1. The distribution of
Y
J
does not seem to spread out (although the variance
has increased somewhat).
70 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
2. Countries change their relative position in the (international) income dis
tribution. Growth disasters fall, growth miracles rise in the relative cross
country income distribution. A classical example of a growth disaster is
Argentina. At the turn of the century Argentina had a perworker income
that was comparable to that in the US. In 1990 the perworker income
of Argentina was only on a level of one third of the US, due to a healthy
growth experience of the US and a disastrous growth performance of Ar
gentina. Countries that dramatically moved up in the relative income
distribution include Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and South
Korea, countries that moved down are New Zealand, Venezuela, Iran,
Nicaragua, Peru and Trinidad&Tobago.
3. Countries with low incomes in 1960 did not show on average higher subse
quent growth (this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as no absolute
(,) convergence).
4. There is conditional convergence: Within groups classied by 1960 hu
man capital measures (such as schooling), 1960 savings rates, and other
indicators, a higher initial income j
0
(in 1960) was positively correlated
with a lower growth rate q

)
where

is the total working hours. 1 is the (gross) growth rate of labor
augumenting technological change. Therefore,


represents the ecient units
at time t. The production function satises all the standard assumptions (con
tinuously dierentiable, increasing in 1 and , concave, CRS, Inada condition).
The condition of CRS implies that output can be written as
1

= 1(1

,


) =


1(1

,


, 1)
Therefore, output per ecient unit j

= 1

,


is
j

= 1(1

,


, 1)
The resource constraint in the economy is
C

1

= 1(1

,


) (6.1)
The capital accumulation law follows
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

(6.2)
And investment is a fraction : (exogeneously given) of current output
1

= :1

, : (0, 1) (6.3)
72 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
6.2.2 Balanced Growth Path
Our question is: given this setting, is the sustained growth possible? Our object
of study is to nd a socalled balanced growth path (BGP), in which all economic
variables grow at constant rates (but they could be dierent). In this case, this
would imply that for all t, the value of each variable in the model is given by
1

= 1
0
q

Y
C

= C
0
q

c
1

= 1
0
q

1
1

= 1
0
q

1

=
0
q

Our task is to nd the growth rate for each variable in a balanced growth
path, and check whether such a path is consistent. We begin by guessing one of
the growth rates as follows. From the capital accumulation law equation (6.2),
divide both sides by 1

q
1
=
1
l
1

= (1 c)
1

1

Obviously
1t
1t
=constant, \t, which implies both 1

and 1

grow at the same
rate.
2
Hence we have
q
1
= q
1
By the same type of reasoning, from the investment function (6.3), divide
both sides by 1

1

1

= :
which implies
q
1
= q
Y
Finally, from the resource constraint (6.1), divide both sides by 1

C

1

1 =
1

1

=
1
:
which implies
q
c
= q
1
If we further assume the production function takes the form of CobbDouglas
as following
1

= 1(1

,


) = 1
o

(


)
lo
2
If 1t = c1t, where c is a constant, then we have j
I
I
t+1
I
t
=
cK
t+1
cK
t
=
K
t+1
K
t
j
K
.
6.2. EXOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 73
Taking into account the fact that the time endowment is bounded, actual work
ing hours can not grow beyond a certain upper limit (usually normalized to 1),
we must have

=
l
= 1 (i.e., q
l
)
lo
1
o

(


)
lo
= (
1
l
1

)
o
lo
= q
o
1
lo
Recall q
Y
= q
1
= q, substituting into the equation above, we have
q =
Therefore, along BGP, we have
q
Y
= q
c
= q
1
= q
1
=
And this growth path is technologically feasible.
6.2.3 Emprical Evaluation of Solow Model
Solow model implies along BGP:
1. q
(Y/)
= q
Y
= , The growth rate of output per worker is constant over
time.
2. Capitalecent labor ratio 1

,


is constant over time.
3. q
Y
= q
1
= implies the capitalincome ratio is constant.
4. Capital and labor shares of income are constant by construction. (CD
production function)
5. r

= (
~
t
t
1t
)
lo
. Therefore,
r
l
r

=
(
l
l
)
lo
(


)
lo
(
1

1
l
)
lo
=
lo
(1,)
lo
= 1.
Real rates of return are constant. While the real wage n

=
JJ
J
=
(lo)
(
1t
t
)
o
. The growth rate of wage is
n
l
n

=
lo
(
1
l
1

)
o
=
lo
o
= .
But the real wage for an ecient unit is constant.
6. In order to have crosscountry dierence in growth rate, we have to allow
is dierent across countries.
74 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
6.2.4 Choosing Growth (RamseyCaseKoopmans Model)
The next issue to address is whether an individual who inhabits an economy in
which there is some sort of exogenous technological progress, and in which the
production technology is such that sustained growth is feasible, will choose a
growing output path or not.
Initially, Solow overlooked this issue by assuming that the saving rate is
exogenous and constant
1

= :1

.
From the text above, It is clear that such a rule can be consistent with a balanced
growth path. Then the underlying premise is that the consumers preferences
are such that they choose a growing path for output. Clearly, not all types
of preferences will work. In this section, We will restrict our attention to the
usual timeseparable preference relations. Hence the problem faced by a social
planner will be of the form:
max
o
=0
,

n(C

,

) (6.4)
:.t.
C

1

= 1(1

,


)
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

1
0
given
In order to allow HHs choose optimally the BGP, we do have a restriction
on the preferences in the following theorem.
Theorem 39 Balanced Growth Path is possible as a solution to the social plan
ners problem (6.4) if and only if
n(C, ) =
C
lc
(1 ) 1
1 o
, if 0 < o < 1, and o 1 (6.5)
n(C, ) = log C (1 ), if o = 1
where the time endowment is normailized to one and () is a function with
leisure as an argument.
The proof can be seen in King, Plosser, and Rebelo (1988). Intuitively, to be
consistent with BGP, we have to impose two restrictions on preferences: (1) the
intertemporal elasticity of substitution (IES) in consumption must be invariant
to the scale of consumption; (2) the income and substitution eects associated
with sustained growth in labor productivity must oset each other.
This kind of social planners problem will have an Euler equation looks like
q(
C
l
C

) = ,(1 r)
6.2. EXOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 75
Therefore, since along BGP, real interest rate r is constant, so does the right
hand side of the equation above. Since consumption is growing at a constant
rate, the IES, which is a power parameter in function q(), must be constant
and independent of the level of consumption.
The second condition is required bacause hours worked cannot grow (q
= 1)
along BGP. To reconcile this with a growing marginal product of labor  induced
by laboraugumenting technological change  income and substitution eects of
productivity growth must have exactly osetting eects on labor supply ().
Note that (1 ) = 1 (i.e., n(c) =
c
1o
l
lc
) ts the theorem assumptions.
Hence nonvalued leisure is also consistent with balanced growth path.
The existence of BGP does also put restriction on the way we model tech
nological change. In order for the model to have a BGP with constant growth
rates, the technological progress must take the laboraugumenting form.
Theorem 40 In neoclassical growth model, only laboraugumenting technolog
ical change is consistent with the existence of a BGP.
Proof. Assume a neoclassical production function that includes both the labor
augumenting and capitalaugumenting technological change
1

= 1(

1

,


)
Notice if = , then the technological change is Hicks neutral.
Due to CRS of the neoclassical production function, we have
1

=

1

1(1,


,

1

)
=

1

)((
)


1

)
where )((
~
j
)
 t
1t
) = 1(1,


,

1

). Thus
1

1

=

)((
)


1

) (6.6)
We know along BGP, 1 and 1 grow at the same rate, which implies
Y
1
is
constant. Besides, the third of Kaldors stylized facts says that in the data,
Y
1
is pretty constant. But to make the RHS of equation (6.6) constant, there are
only two ways:
1. = 1 and q
1
= , which is the laboraugumenting tachnological change
case we already showed in the previous subsection.
2. 1 (i.e., we have capitalaugumenting technological change) and the
term )((
~
j
)
 t
1t
) exactly osets the growth term

. You can show that
only CobbDouglas production function can allow this case happen, i.e.,
the production function now takes the form
1

= (

1

)
o
(


)
lo
= 1
o

lo

o
(lo)
= 1
o

[


[
lo
76 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
where =
o/(lo)
. In other words, we can always express technologi
cal change as purely laboraugumenting as at the rate .
6.2.5 A Little Digress on Utility Function
The utility function as in (6.5) is widely used in recursive macroeconomics. It
is worth spending some time to get familiar with it.
This utility function has several nice properties.
1. Homotheticity. Dene the marginal rate of substitution (MRS) between
consumption at any two dates t and t : as
'1o
,s
=
0n(c),0c
s
0n(c),0c

.
Then a function n is said to be homothetic if '1o(c

, c
s
) = '1o(`c

, `c
s
)
for all ` 0 and c. It is easy to verify that for our utility function (6.5)
satises homotheticity.
'1o(c

, c
s
) =
,
s
oc
c
s
(1
s
)
,

oc
c

(1

)
=
,
s
oc
c
s
(1 )
,

oc
c

(1 )
= ,
s
(
c
s
c

)
c
= ,
s
(
`c
s
`c

)
c
= '1o(`c

, `c
s
)
Homotheticity means that consumption allocations are independent of the
units of measurement employed.
Another denition of homotheticity is that if n(r
l
) = n(r
2
) ==n(`r
l
) =
n(`r
2
). It is easy to show that this denition is equivalent to the one using
MRS. Basing on this denition, we have following claim.
Claim 41 If utility function n is homogeneous of degree j, \j 0, then
it is also homothetic. But if n is homothetic, it may not be homogeneous.
For example, consider a homogeneous of degree j utility function such
that n(`r) = `
q
n(r). Then if n(r
l
) = n(r
2
) == n(`r
l
) = `
q
n(r
l
) =
`
q
n(r
2
) = n(`r
2
). n is homothetic. It is easy to show our utility func
tion here as in (6.5) is homogeneous of degree 1 o, therefore it is also
homothetic.
Now consider utility function n(r, j) = a log r / log j. It is easy to show
that it is homothetic, but it is not homogeneous.
6.2. EXOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 77
2. Dene ArrowPratt Relative Risk Aversion Coecient as
u
00
(c)c
u
0
(c)
. Then
it is easy to verify that the utility function above has constant relative
risk aversion (CRRA) coecient which is o. Since now, we will call this
family of utility function CRRA utility function.
3. The Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution (IES) (c

, c
l
) measures by
how many percentage the demand for consumption in period t1, relative
to demand for consumption in period t,
ct+1
ct
, declines as the relative price
of consumption in t 1 to consumption in period t,

=
l
l:t
changes by
one percent. i.e.,
(c

, c
l
) =
J(ct+1/ct)
(ct+1/ct)
J(l/(l:t))
l/(l:t)
=
d(ln(c
l
,c

))
d(ln(1,(1 r

)))
For the optimal growth model with CRRA utility function, we will end
up with an Euler equation as following
,n
t
(c
l
)
n
t
(c

)
=
j
l
j

=
1
1 r
l
=
,(
c
l
c

)
c
(
(1
l
)
(1

)
) =
1
1 r
l
Take log on both sides, we have
o ln(
c
l
c

) = ln(
1
1 r
l
) other terms
Therefore, for CRRA utility function, IES is 1,o, the inverse of the co
ecient of risk aversion. When o is higher, HHs are more risk averse,
therefore, they are more reluctant to shift consumption intertemporally,
IES thus is lower.
6.2.6 Solving the Balanced Growth Path
We now describe the steps of solving the RamseyCassKoopmans model for a
balanced growth path.
1. Assume that preferences are represented by the CRRA utility function
n(C, ) =
C
lc
(1 ) 1
1 o
.
2. Transform the current model into a stationary one.
3. Take rst order conditions of the tranformed planners problem.
78 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
Now we will show step by step how to solve this model. Recall the original
problem is
max
o
=0
,

C
lc

(1

) 1
1 o
(6.7)
:.t.
C

1

=


1(
1


, 1)
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

1
0
given
We know that the balanced growth path solution to this growth Model (6.4)
has all variables growing at rate except for labor. We dene transformed
variables by dividing each original variable by its growth rate:
c

=
C


, i

=
1


, /

=
1


. (6.8)
Thus we transform the original problem (6.7) into a transformed model
max
o
=0
,

c
lc

(lc)
(1

) 1
1 o
:.t.
(c

i

)

=


1(
/


, 1)
/
l
l
= [i

(1 c)/

[

1
0
given
Cleaning it up, we obtain
max
o
=0
,
 c
lc

(1

) 1
1 o
:.t.
c

i

= 1(/

,

)
/
l
= i

(1 c)/

1
0
given
where
, = ,
(lc)
. In order to guarantee niteness of lifetime utility, we
require
, < 1. Recall that 1 and 0 < , < 1, thus we have:
Case 1: If o 1,
(lc)
< 1, so ,
(lc)
< 1 holds.
Case 2: If o = 1,
, = , < 1 also holds.
Case 3: If 0 < o < 1, then for some parameter values of and ,, we may
run into an illdened problem.
Therefore, as long as o _ 1, we will be ne.
6.2. EXOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 79
Now we are back to the standard neoclassical growth model without trend
that we have been dealing with before (for example in the Foundation part).
The only dierences are that there is a factor in the capital accumulation
equation, and the discount factor is modied.
Next, we can set up Lagrangian for this transformed problem
/ =
o
=0
,
 c
lc

(1

) 1
1 o
o
=0
j

[1(/

,

) c

/
l
(1 c)/

[.
FOCs are
c

:
,

c
c

(1

) j

= 0 (6.9)

:
,
 c
lc

t
(1

)
1 o
j

01
0

= 0 (6.10)
/
l
: j
l
[
01
0/
l
(1 c)[ j

= 0 (6.11)
j

: 1(/

,

) c

/
l
(1 c)/

= 0 (6.12)
Combining (6.9) and (6.11), we have the usual Euler equation
c
c

(1

) =
,c
c
l
(1
l
)[
01
0/
l
(1 c)[. (6.13)
Combining (6.9) and (6.10), we obtain
01
0

=
1
(1 o)
c

t
(1

)
(1

)
(6.14)
It says the marginal product of labor, which is also the real wage, should be
equal to the MRS between consumption and leisure.
We also have the following transversality condition (TC)
lim
o
j

/
l
= lim
o
,

c
c

(1

)/
l
= 0. (6.15)
Optimal quantities for this economy are sequences of consumption c

o
=0
,
working hours

o
=0
, and capital stock /

o
=0
that satisfy the FOCs (6.12)
(6.14) and the Transversality Condition (6.15). Under our assumptions about
preferences and production possibilities, conditions (6.12)(6.15) are necessary
and sucient for an optimum.
Note that FOCs (6.12)(6.14) can be further reduced to a nonlinear second
order equation in /. With two boundary conditions: initial boundary condition
/
0
0 and the terminal boundary condition as in TC (6.15), we can solve the
sequence of /

o
=0
and hence other quantities.
80 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
Finally, once we solve completely this transformed model, we can transform
back to the original model easily by reversing the transformation as in (6.8).
In conclusion, with the stated assumptions on preferences and on technology,
the current model converges to a balanced growth path, in which all variables
grow at rate . This rate is exogenously determined; it is a parameter in the
model. That is the reason why it is called exogenous growth model.
6.3 Endogenous Growth Model
The exogenous growth framework analyzed before (Solow and Ramsey model)
has a serious shortfall: growth is not truly a result in such model, it is an
assumption. However, we have reasons (from data) to suspect that growth
must be a rather more complex phenomenon than this long term productivity
shift in that we have treated as somehow intrinsic to economic activity. In
particular, as we showed before, output growth rates have been very dierent
across countries for long periods; trying to explain this fact as merely the result
of dierent s is not a very insightful and convincing approach. We would
prefer our model to produce as a result. Therefore, we look for endogenous
growth models.
The key assumption driving the result, that is, absent technological progress
the economy will converge to a nogrowth steady state, is the assumption of
diminishing marginal product to the production factor that is accumulated,
namely capital. As economies grow they accumulate more and more capital,
which, with decreasing marginal products, yields lower and lower returns. Ab
sent technological progress forces the economy to the steady state. Hence the
key to derive sustained growth without assuming it being created by exogenous
technological progress is to pose production technologies in which marginal prod
ucts to accumulable factors are not driven down as the economy accumulates
these factors.
We will start our discussion of these models with a stylized version of the so
called 1 model, then turn to models with externalities as in Romer (1986) and
Lucas (1988), and nally look at Rebelos (1991) twosector model of endogenous
growth.
6.3.1 The AK Model
Let us recall the usual assumptions on the neoclassical production technology
in the exogenous growth model
1(0, :) = 1(/, 0) = 0, 1

(/, :) 0, 1
n
(/, :) 0, \/, : 0
`1(/, :) = )(`/, `:) (CRS)
lim
0
1

(/, :) = , lim
o
1

(/, :) = 0, (Inada Condition)
6.3. ENDOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 81
In Solow model, we have
/
l
= i

(1 c)/

= :1(/

, :

) (1 c)/

Therefore we have
0/
l
0/

= :1

(/, :) (1 c) 0
0
2
/
l
0/
2

= :1

(/, :) < 0
The Figure below shows the dynamics of capital accumulation in Solow and
Solowalike model.
Capital accumulation in Solow model
where /
+
is the steady state (SS) of the model in which
/
l
= /

= /
+
, \t
We can solve /
+
below from the following equation
:1(/
+
, 1) = c/
+
82 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
In Solow model, without any exogenously given technical change, the economy
will eventually converge to the SS where the growth rate is zero. Longrun
growth thus is not feasible. In order to allow longrun growth, we need the
introduce at least some change to the production function: We must dispose of
the assumption that lim
o
1

(/, :) = 0. What we basically want is that 1
does not cross the 4
o
line. i.e., we want to escape from diminishing returns to
scale.
The simplest way is to assume the following production technology
1 = 1(1) = 1, 1
Under this technology, we have
q
Y
=
1
l
1

=
1
l
1

= q
1
Divide the both sides of capital accumulation equation by 1

, we obtain
q
1
=
1
l
1

=
1

(1 c)1

1

=
1

1

(1 c) (6.16)
which implies
q
1
= q
1
Similarly from resource constraint, we know
q
c
= q
Y
Therefore, BGP is feasible in this model with
q
Y
= q
1
= q
c
= q
1
= q
Now lets follow Solow model to assume
1 = :1 = :1
Substituting into (6.16), we have
q
1
= : 1 c
Therefore, as long as c,:, we will have q
1
= q 1. We achieve perpetual
growth even without exogenous technological change. The reason is in 1
model, we have lim
o
1

(/) = 0.
The next question is whether the consumer will choose this balanced growth,
and if so, how fast (i.e, what is q?). We will answer this question assuming a
CRRA utility function (needed for BGP, see section 6.2.4) with nonvalued
leisure. The planners problem then is:
max
]ct,t+1]
1
t=0
=0
,

c
lc

1 o
:.t.
c

/
l
(1 c)/

= /

6.3. ENDOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 83
The Euler equation is
c
c

= ,c
c
l
[ 1 c[
=
(
c
l
c

)
c
= ,[ 1 c[
q = q
c
=
c
l
c

= [,( 1 c)[
l/c
As long as
[,( 1 c)[
l/c
1, (6.17)
we achieve the longrun growth. Since o 0, this requirement is also equivalent
to the following condition
,( 1 c) 1.
The growth rate of consumption thus is a function of all the parameters in the
utility function and the production function. Notice that this implies that the
growth rate is constant as from t = 0. There are no transitional dynamics in
this model. The economy is in the BGP from the beginning.
There is another thing we want to make sure: is utility bounded? Note that
c

= c
0
c
l
c
0
c
2
c
l
c

c
l
= c
0
q

c
Therefore
l =
o
=0
,

c
lc

1 o
=
o
=0
_
,
_
[,( 1 c)[
l/c
_
lc
_

c
lc
0
1 o
.
So the sucient condition for boundness is
,
_
[,( 1 c)[
l/c
_
lc
< 1. (6.18)
The two conditions (6.17) and (6.18) must simultaneously hold for us to
obtain a balanced growth path.
Notice that in the Solow and Ramsey model the growth rate of the economy
was given by q
Y
= q
c
= q
1
= q
1
= , the growth rate of technological progress.
In particular, savings rates (:), depreciation and the subjective time discount
rate (c, ,)aect per capita income levels, but not growth rates. In contrast, in
the basic 1 model the growth rate of the economy is aected positively by the
parameter governing the productivity of capital, and negatively by parameters
reducing the willingness to save, namely the depreciation rate c and the degree of
impatience 1,,. Any policy aecting these parameters in the Solow or Ramsey
model has only level, but no growth rate eects. However, it has growth rate
eects in the 1 model. Hence the former models are sometimes referred to
84 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
as income level models whereas the others are referred to as growth rate
models.
In 1 model, The growth has become a function of underlying parameters
in the economy. And we do not have convergence. Could the dispersion in cross
country growth rates be explained by dierences in these parameters? Country
is Euler Equation would be:
q
I
= (
c
l
c

)
I
= [,
I
(
I
1 c
I
)[
l/c
Theoretically speaking, we have
0q
I
0,
I
0,
0q
I
0
I
0,
0q
I
0c
I
< 0
i.e., a country with higher impatience, lower TFP level, and higher depreciation
rate should experience lower output growth rate. But the problem with the
1 model is that, if parameters are calibrated to mimic the datas dispersion
in growth rates, the simulation results in too much divergence in output level.
The dispersion in 19601990 growth rates would result in a dierence in output
levels wider than the actual data.
6.3.2 Romers Externality Model
The main assumption generating sustained growth in the last subsection was
the presence of constant returns to scale with respect to production factors that
are, in contrast to raw labor, accumulable. Otherwise eventually decreasing
marginal products set in and bring the growth process to a halt. One obvious
unsatisfactory element of the previous model was that labor was not needed
for production and that therefore the capital share equals one. Even if one
interprets capital broadly as including human capital, this assumption may be
rather unrealistic. We are facing the following dilemma: on the one hand we
want constant returns to scale to accumulable factors, on the other hand we
want labor to claim a share of income, on the third hand we cant deal with
increasing returns to scale on the rm level as this destroys existence of compet
itive equilibrium. (At least) two ways out of this problem have been proposed:
a) there may be increasing returns to scale on the rm level, but the rm does
not perceive it this way because part of its inputs come from positive external
ities beyond the control of the rm; b) a departure from perfect competition
towards monopolistic competition. We will discuss the main contributions in
the rst proposed resolution here.
The intellectual precedent to this model is Arrow (1962). The basic idea is
that there are externalities to capital accumulation, so that individual savers do
not realize the full return on their investment. Each individual rm operates
the following production function
1(1, ,
1) = 1
o
lo
1
o
1
lo
Let us assume that leisure is not valued and normalize the labor endowment

to one in every t. Assume that there is a measure one of representative rms
(therefore in equilibrium, 1 =
1), so that the equilibrium wage must satisfy
n

= (1 c)1
o

1
lo

= (1 c)
1

and rental rate of capital is
r

= c
The consumers decentralized EE is (assume CRRA utility)
q
cJ
c
=
c
l
c

= [,(r
l
1 c)[
l/c
= [,(c 1 c)[
l/c
As long as
[,(c 1 c)[
l/c
1
We obtain endogenous longrun growth in decentralized CE.
How about the social planners problem? Since the planner can internalize
externalities, therefore, from social planners viewpoint, the production technol
ogy is (normailze the labor input to be one)
1(1, ) = 1
lo
= 1
The planners problem is
max
o
=0
,

n(c

)
:.t.
c

i

= 1

1
l
= (1 c)1

i

From the 1 model above, we already now that the growth rate of consumption
for this problem is
q
S1
c
= [,( 1 c)[
l/c
.
86 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
Obviously q
S1
c
q
cJ
c
. This is due to the fact that competitive rms do
not internalize the productivityenhancing eect of higher average capital and
hence underinvest capital, compared to the social optimum. Put it in another
way, the private returns to investment (saving) are too low, giving rise to un
derinvestment and slow capital accumulation. Compared to the competitive
equilibrium, the planner chooses lower period zero consumption and higher in
vestment, which generates a higher growth rate. Obviously welfare is higher in
the socially optimal allocation than under the competitive equilibrium alloca
tion (since the planner can always choose the competitive equilibrium allocation,
but does not nd it optimal in general to do so).
Romers externality model overcomes the shortfall of the 1 model: labor
is irrelevant. But the model still leads to a large divergence in output levels just
as 1 model.
6.3.3 Lucas Endogenous Growth Model with Human Cap
ital
We showed above that it was possible to generate longrun output growth with
out exogenous technological change if the returns to capital were constant as
ymptotically. Romer use the externality to escape the diminishing returns to
scale, while Lucas (1988) use human capital to achieve the goal.
In the Lucas model, plain labor in the production function is replaced by
human capital. Human capital can be accumulated, so the technology does not
run into decreasing marginal returns. Here we rst present a simplied one
sector version of the Lucas original twosector model called (1, H) model,
then we present Lucas twosector model.
(1, H) Model
The production function is CobbDouglas in physical capital 1 and human
capital H
3
1(1, H) = 1
o
H
lo
. (6.19)
The laws of motion for two types of capital are
1
l
= (1 c
1
)1

1
1,
H
l
= (1 c
1
)H

1
1,
.
The resource constraint in the economy is
c

1
1,
1
1,
= 1

= 1
o

H
lo

3
Thats the reason it is called (1, 1) model.
6.3. ENDOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 87
Assuming a standard CRRA utility function, the FOCs in the planners problem
are
c

: ,

c
c

= j

1
l
: j

= j
l
[1
1
(1
l
, H
l
) 1 c
1
[
l
: j

= j
l
[1
(1
l
, H
l
) 1 c
[
which lead to two EEs
c
l
c

=
_
,
_
1
1
(
1
l
H
l
, 1) 1 c
1
__1
o
c
l
c

=
_
,
_
1
(
1
l
H
l
, 1) 1 c
__1
o
Since along BGP, q
c
=
ct+1
ct
, this requires that
1t+1
1t+1
=constant \t, and we have
1
1
(
1
l
H
l
, 1) 1 c
1
= 1
(
1
l
H
l
, 1) 1 c
(6.20)
Basically this is just a nonarbitrage condition. It says the return on both capital
must be equal in equilibrium.
If we further assume c
1
= c
1
= c, this nonarbitrage condition leads to
1

H

=
c
1 c
(6.21)
And we have
q
c
=
_
,
_
c
o
(1 c)
lo
1 c
_ 1
o
Since
1t+1
1t+1
=constant, we know q
1
= q
1
. Then it is easy to show that along
BGP, we will have
q
Y
= q
1
= q
1
= q
c
= q
1
!
= q
1
1
= q
If
_
,
_
c
o
(1 c)
lo
1 c
_ 1
o
1, we obtain longrun economic growth in
this model.
If we substitute equation (6.21) into production function (6.19), we have
1 = 1(
1 c
c
)
lo
= 11
where 1 = (
lo
o
)
lo
is a constant. Thus, this model is equivalent to the
1 model in essence. Besides, since there does not exist distortion such as
externalities, in this economy, FWT and SWT hold, the growth rates for CE
and SP are the same.
88 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
UzawaLucas TwoSector Model
Consider the following social palnners problem:
max
o
=0
,

C
lc

1 o
:.t.
C

1
1,
_ 1
o

(n

H

)
lo
1
1,
_ 1(1 n

)H

1
l
= (1 c)1

1
1,
H
l
= (1 c)H

1
1,
1
0
, H
0
given
There are two sectors in the economy. One sector (called C rm) uses capital
and human to produce consumption and capital investment good, another sector
(called H rm) uses only human capital to produce human capital investment.
n

[0, 1[ is the fraction of human capital used in the consumption good sector.
Along the BGP, we have to obtain that n

= n
+
, \t. Thus from the law of
motion of human capital, we have
q
1
=
H
l
H

= 1(1 n
+
) 1 c.
Unlike the previous onesector (1, H) model, now in this model, there is no
nonarbitrage condition that guarantees
1t
1t
=constant, hence 1 and H can grow
at dierent rate q
1
and q
1
. Given this, it is easy to show that consumption
and output also grow at dierent rates, and we have
q
Y
= q
o
1
q
lo
1
.
Set up the Lagrangian for the planners problem:
/ =
o
=0
,

C
lc

1 o
`

1
o

(n

H

)
lo
C

1
l
(1 c)1

j

1(1 n

)H

H
l
(1 c)H

FOCs are
C

: ,

C
c

= `

n

: `

(1 c)1
o

H
lo

n
o

= j

1H

1
l
: `

= `
l
(c1
ol
l
(n
l
H
l
)
lo
1 c)
H
l
: j

= j
l
(1(1 n
l
) 1 c)
Combining the FOCs, we have the EE for capital
(
C
l
C

)
c
= ,
`

`
l
= ,
_
c1
ol
l
(n
l
H
l
)
lo
1 c
_
6.3. ENDOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 89
Notice that
ct+1
ct
= q
c
is constant. Hence to guarantee the equation above to
hold on BGP, we should have
1t+1
1t+1
=constant. Hence along BGP
q
Y
= q
1
= q
1
= q
c
= q
1
!
= q
1
1
= q
As long as
q = 1(1 n
+
) 1 c 1,
longrun endogeneous growth is achieved in this economy.
6.3.4 Rebelos TwoSector Endogenous Growth Model
In Lucas model above, both production factors (1 and H) are reproducible.
But actually it is not necessary that all factors be producible in order to expe
rience sustained growth through factor accumulation in the neoclassical frame
work. Instead, Rebelo (1991) shows that the critical requirement for perpet
ual growth is the existence of a core of capital goods that is produced with
constant returns technologies and without the direct or indirect use of nonre
producible factors. Here we will study the simplest version of his model with
a single capital good that is reproduced without any input of the economys
constant labor endowment.
The technologies follow
c

= 1
lo
(c

1

)
o
(6.22)
1

= (1 c

)1

(6.23)
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

(6.24)
where c

[0, 1[ is the fraction of capital used in the consumption good sector.
The consumption goods sector uses labor (nonreproducible factor) and part of
capital, the investment goods sector uses the remaining part of capital input.
Notice that in the investment goods sector, the technology follows an 1 type.
We will see later that this is the source of the endogenous growth in the model.
Denote j

as the relative price of capital in terms of consumption goods,
nonarbitrage condition shows that the rental price of capital r

(in terms of
consumption goods) is equal to the marginal product of capital, which has to
be the same across the two sectors.
r

= c1
lo
(c

1

)
ol
= j

(6.25)
Think about why is not like r

= c
lo

c
o

1

ol
= j

(1 c

)?
Along BGP, obviously c

= c, \t. Dividing equation (6.24) by 1

on both
sides, we obtain
q
1
=
1
l
1

= (1 c) (1 c)
= 1 (c c)
= 1 j(c).
90 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
Using (6.25), we also have (along BGP)
r
l
r

=
j
l
j

= (
1
l
1

)
ol
= (1 j(c))
ol
. (6.26)
From (6.22), we obtain
q
c
=
c
l
c

= (
1
l
1

)
o
= (1 j(c))
o
. (6.27)
And it is also easy to show
q
1
= q
1
= 1 j(c).
In a decentralized competitive equilibrium, given standard CRRA utility
function, subject to the following BC
c

j

1
l
= r

1

(1 c)j

1

n

1
We will have following EE
(
c
l
c

)
c
= ,
(1 c)j
l
r
l
j

(6.28)
Note that RHS of the EE is the present value of the capital gain for the in
vestment. After substituting r
l
= j
l
and equations (6.27) and (6.26) into
(6.28), we arrive at the following equilibrium condition
[1 j(c)[
lo(lc)
= ,(1 c ). (6.29)
Therefore, the growth rate of capital and therefore the growth rate of consump
tion are positive as long as
,(1 c ) 1 (6.30)
We achieve the same requirement for longrun growth as in the 1 model
above. But this result should not be so shocking because again Rebelos model
is essentially an alternative version of 1 model. This result also shows that we
can allow for any mix in the consumption sector as long as the capital production
is all capital in its inputs.
Also note that in contrast to the results obtained in the 1 model, con
sumption and capital stock here do not need to grow at the same rate. In
fact, when c = 1, consumption and investment goods sector share the same
1 technology, we can combine two sectors into just one sector and obtain
q
c
= q
1
= q
1
. Therefore, in this sense 1 model is a special case of Rebelos
model.
Moreover, the maintained assumption that parameters are such that derived
growth rates yield nite lifetime utility, ,(
ct+1
ct
)
lc
< 1, imposes here a para
meter restriction
,[,(1 c )[
c(1o)
1c(1o)
< 1
6.3. ENDOGENOUS GROWTH MODEL 91
which can be simplied to
,[,(1 c )[
o(lc)
< 1. (6.31)
Given these conditions on parameters are satised, there is a unique equi
librium value of c because LHS of equation (6.29) is monotonically decreasing
in c [0, 1[ and it is strictly greater (smaller) than the RHS for c = 0 (c = 1).
The CE outcome is also PO in this economy since there is no distortion in this
model.
92 CHAPTER 6. ECONOMIC GROWTH
Chapter 7
Asset Pricing
The objective of this chapter is to introduce the famous asset pricing formula
developed by Lucas (1978). We will study the pricing of assets that is consistent
with the neoclassical growth model.
In the rst section we go over basic Lucas tree model. He works out his
formula using an endowment economy inhabited by one agent. The reason
for doing so is that in such an environment the allocation problem is trivial;
therefore, only the prices that support a notrade general equilibrium need to
be solved for. In the second section, we study the application of the Lucas
pricing formula by Mehra and Prescott (1985). The authors utilized the tools
developed by Lucas (1978) to determine the asset prices that would prevail in
an economy whose endowment process mimicked the consumption pattern of
the United States economy during the last century. They then compared the
theoretical results with real data. Their ndings were striking and are referred
to as the equity premium puzzle. We will also talk about several popular
explanations to solve the puzzle in the third section.
7.1 Lucas Tree Model
7.1.1 Lucas Tree Economy
It is a representative agent model. Suppose that there is a tree which produces
random amount of fruits every period. We can view these fruits as dividends
and use d

to denote it. Further, we assume d

is a niteorder Markov process.
d

~ I(d
l
= d
I
[ d

= d
) = I
I
Let .

to be the history of realization of dividends, i.e., .

= (d
0
, d
l
, ..., d

).
Probability that certain history .

occurs is (.

).
HHs in the economy consume the only good here which is fruit. There is no
storage technology.
93
94 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
The social planners problem is
max
o
=0
,

(.

)n(c

(.

))
:.t.
c

(.

) _ d

(.

), \t
Obviously the solution to SP would be
c

= d

, \t
What about HHs problem? We write it in the way of sequential market.
max
]ct,st+1]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

(.

)n(c

(.

))
:.t.
c

(.

) j

(.

):
l
(.

) _ (j

(.

) d

(.

)):

(.
l
), \t
c

(.

) _ 0, :
l
(.

) _ 0 (short sale constraint)
where :

is the number of shares in the tree, and j

is the price per share of the
tree.
Surely we can also write it equivalently in terms of date0 ArrowDebreu
equilibrium.
max
]ct]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

(.

)n(c

(.

))
:.t.
:
t
j

(.

)c

(.

) _

:
t
j

(.

)d

(.

)
Lets use SME and ignore the argument of .

for all variables. FOCs w.r.t.
:
l
yields
c

: ,

n
t
(c

) = j

:
l
: j

j

j
l
(j
l
d
l
) = 0
Combining these two equations, we have
(.

)n
t
(c

(.

))j

(.

) = ,(.
l
)n
t
(c
l
(.
l
))(j
l
(.
l
) d
l
(.

))
j

(.

) = ,
(.
l
)
(.

)
n
t
(c
l
(.
l
))
n
t
(c

(.

))
(j
l
(.
l
) d
l
(.

))
Notice that (.
l
[ .

) =
t(:
t+1
)
t(:
t
)
, therefore, we have
j

= ,(.
l
[ .

)
n
t
(c
l
)
n
t
(c

)
(j
l
d
l
)
= ,
I
I
n
t
(c
l
)
n
t
(c

)
(j
l
d
l
)
7.1. LUCAS TREE MODEL 95
In equilibrium, c

= d

, thus we have the asset pricing formula in the Lucas
tree economy.
j

= ,
I
I
n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
(j
l
d
l
) (7.1)
Forwardly iterating (7.1) and using the law of iterated expectations (1

1
l
1
2
... =
1

)
1
j

= ,1

n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
(j
l
d
l
)
= ,1

n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
[,1
l
n
t
(d
2
)
n
t
(d
l
)
(j
2
d
2
) d
l
[
= ,1

n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
d
l
,
2
1

[
n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
[1
l
[
n
t
(d
2
)
n
t
(d
l
)
d
2
[ ,
2
1

[
n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
[1
l
[
n
t
(d
2
)
n
t
(d
l
)
j
2
[
= ,1

[
n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
d
l
[ ,
2
1

[
n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
n
t
(d
2
)
n
t
(d
l
)
d
2
[ ,
2
1

[
n
t
(d
l
)
n
t
(d

)
n
t
(d
2
)
n
t
(d
l
)
j
2
[
= ......
= 1

o
=l
,
_
l
s=0
n
t
(d
sl
)
n
t
(d
s
)
_
d

= 1

o
=l
,
n
t
(d

)
n
t
(d

)
. .
stochastic discount factor (SDF)
d

This equation says that the share price is an expected discounted stream of
future dividends.
Example 42 (Logarithmic preferences) when n(c) = lnc, we have
j

= 1

o
=l
,
d

d

d

= 1

o
=l
,
d

=
o
=l
,
d

= d

o
=l
,
=
,
1 ,
d

This assetpricing function maps the state of the economy at t, d

, into the price
of a Lucas tree at t. When dividend d

is higher, the price of share of the tree
is also higher.
1
Here we assume there is no bubble, i.e., the term 1tflim
j!1
o
j
u
0
(c
t+
)
u
0
(c
t
)
j
t+j
g = 0.
96 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
Example 43 (A nitestate version) Mehra and Prescott (1985) consider a
discretestate version of Lucas tree model. Lets assume the dividend process
has : possible distinct values [o
l
, o
2
, ..., o
n
[ and it evolves according to a Markov
chain with the following transition probability
Iid
l
= o
[ d

= o
I
= I
I
0, \i, , [1, 2, ..., :[.
The : : matrix I with a generic element I
I
is called a stochastic matrix.
And we have
n
=l
I
I
= 1, \i [1, 2, ..., :[. Recall the Euler equation in the
Lucas tree model
j

n
t
(d

) = ,
n
=l
I
I
n
t
(d
l
)(j
l
d
l
)
where d

= o
I
and d
l
= o
=l
I
I
j(o
)n
t
(o
) ,
n
=l
I
I
n
t
(o
)o
If we dene
I
= j(o
I
)n
t
(o
I
) and c
= ,
n
=l
I
I
n
t
(o
)o
I
= c
,
n
=l
I
I
Or in matrix terms
..
nl
= c
..
nl
, 1
..
nn
..
nl
Therefore, we obtain
(1 ,1) = c
where 1 is a : : identity matrix. This equation has a unique solution given
by
= (1 ,1)
l
c.
The price of the asset in state o
I
j(o
I
)can then be found from j(o
I
) =
u1
u
0
(c1)
.
Notice that the equation above can be represented as
= (1 ,1 ,
2
1
2
......)c
Or
j(o
I
) = j
I
=
n
=l
(1 ,1 ,
2
1
2
......)
I
c
n
t
(o
I
)
Example 44 (Lucas Tree with growth) Assume a Lucas tree in a pure endow
ment economy with c

= d

and d
l
= `
l
d

, where `

is a Markov process
7.1. LUCAS TREE MODEL 97
with transition matrix 1. Let j

be the dividend price of the Lucas tree. Assume
CRRA utility function n(c) =
c
1
l~
. Under this utility function, EE is
j

= 1

_
,(
c
l
c

)
~
(j
l
d
l
)
_
= 1

_
,(
d
l
d

)
~
(j
l
d
l
)
_
= 1

_
,(`
l
)
~
(j
l
d
l
)
=l
1
I
`
l~
(n
1)
where n
I
expresses the pricedividend ratio at state o
I
. Equation above was used
by Mehra and Prescott (1985) to compute equilibrium prices.
7.1.2 Basic Asset Pricing Formula
More generally, every consumptionbased (means we maximize a utility function
over a BC) model will give you the same FOC as the one in Lucas tree model
equation (7.1)
j

= 1

[,
n
t
(c
l
)
n
t
(c

)
r
l
[ (7.2)
Here r
l
is the payo at time t 1. In Lucas tree economy, the payo of the
stock on tree is j
l
d
l
. Dene stochastic discount factor (SDF) :
l
as
:
l
= ,
n
t
(c
l
)
n
t
(c

)
It is also called pricing kernal. Then the basic asset pricing formula becomes
j

= 1

[:
l
r
l
[
Or in matrix terms
j = 1[:r[
98 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
7.2 The Equity Premium Puzzle
The equity premium is the name of an empirical regularity observed in the
United States asset markets during the last century. It consists of the dierence
between the returns on stocks (risky asset) and on government bonds (riskfree
asset). Investors who had always maintained a portfolio of shares with the
same composition as Standard and Poors SP500 index would have obtained,
if patient enough, a return around 6% higher than those investing all their
money in government bonds. Since shares are riskier than bonds, this fact
should be explained by the representative agents dislike for risk. In the usual
CRRA utility function, the degree of risk aversion (but notice that also the
intertemporal elasticity of substitution!) is captured by the parameter o.
Mehra and Prescotts exercise was intended to confront the theory with the
observations. They computed statistics of the realization of (detrended) aggre
gate consumption in the United States, and used those statistics to generate an
endowment process in their model economy. That is, their endowment economy
mimics the United States economy for a single agent.
Using parameters consistent with microeconomic behavior (drawn from mi
croeconomics, labor, other literature, ...), they calibrated their model to simu
late the response of a representative agent to the assumed endowment process.
Their results were striking in that the model predicts an equity premium that
is signicantly lower than the actual one observed in the United States. This
incompatibility could be interpreted as evidence against the neoclassical growth
model (and related traditions) in general, or as a signal that some of the as
sumptions used by Mehra and Prescott (profusely utilized in the literature) need
to be revised. It is a puzzle that the actual behavior diers so much from the
predicted behavior, because we believe that the microfoundations tradition is
essentially correct and should provide accurate predictions.
7.2.1 The Model
There is a single representative HH with preferences
1
0
_
o
=0
,

c
lc

1
1 o
_
Preferences involve two parameters, , and o, the values of which need to be
calibrated. , measures the time impatience of agents. And o is the coecient
of relative risk aversion (CRRA). This parameter measures two (distinct) eects:
the willingness to substitute consumption over time, and also across states of
nature. The higher o, the less variability the agent wants his consumption
pattern to show, i.e., people want the consumption smoother.
HHs budget constraint is
c

j
s

(:
l
:

) j
b

/
l
_ d

:

/

where d

is the pershare, percapita dividend, :

is the number of shares held
(risky asset), and /

is the percapita holdings of bonds that pay one unit of
7.2. THE EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 99
consumption good for sure in one period (riskfree asset). The control variables
are c

, :
l
, and /
l
. The state variables are :

and /

. HHs take processes for
the prices (j
s

and j
b

) and dividends (d

) as given when solving their problem.
In equilibrium, consumption must equal dividends.
FOCs are
c

: c
c

= j

:
l
: j

j
s

= ,1

j
l
[d
l
j
s
l
[
/
l
: j

j
b

= ,1

j
l
Two EEs
j
s

= ,1

(
c
l
c

)
c
[j
s
l
d
l
[
j
b

= ,1

(
c
l
c

)
c
Before we move to the detailed part of how to compute these two asset prices.
Lets talk about the riskfree interest rate for a while. The (gross) riskfree rate
1
b

= 1 r
b

=
l

t
. Thus we have
1
b

= ,1

(
c
l
c

)
c
. (7.3)
From this equation, we can see three eects right away:
1. Real interest rates are high when people are impatient, i.e., when , is low.
If everyone wants to consume now, it takes a high interest rate to convince
them to save.
2. Real interest rates are high when consumption growth rate is high. Recall
that the relative price of consumption tomorrow relative to consumption
today is
l
l:

t
. Thus high r
b

means the relative price of consumption to
morrow is low. Investors thus want to consume less now, invest more, and
consume more in the future. Hence high interest rates raise the consump
tion growth rate from today to tomorrow.
3. Real interest rates are more sensitive to consumption growth if the CRRA
parameter o is large. It the curvature of the utility function is high, i.e.,
o is high, the investor is highly risk averse, therefore he cares more about
maintaining a consumption prole that is smooth over time. And he is
less willing to rearrange consumption over time in response to interest rate
incentives. Thus it takes a larger interest rate change to induce him to a
given consumption growth.
2
2
Lets ignore the expectation at this moment, rewrite equation (7.3) as
1
1 +v
b
t
= o(
c
t+1
ct
)
r=l
,
r
(
c
r
c

)
c
d
r
_
In the equilibrium, we will always have c

= d

(think about why?). Therefore
j
s

= 1

_
o
r=l
,
r
(
d
r
d

)
c
d
r
_
(7.4)
j
b

= 1

_
,(
d
l
d

)
c
_
(7.5)
Mehra and Prescott (1985) assume that the growth rate of dividends is
governed by a Markov Chain. Let r
l
=
Jt+1
Jt
. This growth rate can take on :
possible values `
l
, `
2
, ..., `
n
. Mehra and Prescott then guess a linear solution
to equation (7.4)
j
s
(d, i) = n
I
d
which shows the stock price at time t is a function of dividend at time t d

= d
and the value of state r

takes `
I
.
As we showed before, we can use FOCs to obtain a set of equations for n
I
j
s
(d, i) = ,
n
=l
I
(
`
d
d
)
c
[j
s
(`
d, ,) `
d[
Or
n
I
d = ,
n
=l
I
(
`
d
d
)
c
[n
d `
d[
=
n
I
= ,
n
=l
I
(`
)
lc
[n
1[
This is a system of : equations (one for each n
I
) in : unknowns n
I
n
I=l
.
Note that the n
I
s are implicit functions of preference parameters , and o, the
transition probabilities
I
, and the growth rates of dividends `.
Take log on both sides of the equation above, we have
log(
1
1 +v
b
t
) = o log(
c
t+1
ct
) + log o
Thus we have
0 log(
c
t+1
c
t
)
0 log(
1
1+r

t
)
=
1
o
.
Recall that from section 6.2.5, the LHS is called Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution (IES),
it measure the sensitivity of consumption growth w.r.t. the change in the relative price of
consumption. Given the consumption growth, from the equation above, it is obvious that
higher o implies larger change in real interest rate 1 +v
b
t
.
7.2. THE EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 101
Similarly, we also obtain the price for oneperiod bond
j
b
(d, i) = ,
n
=l
I
(`
)
c
.
We dene oneperiod net returns for stocks and bonds as following:
r
s
,l
=
d
l
j
s
l
j
s

1
r
b

=
1
j
b

1.
Once we have computed the n
I
s, we can write the oneperiod return for stocks
conditional on state i today and state , tomorrow as
r
s
I,
=
`
d j
s
(`
d, ,)
j
s
(d, i)
1
=
`
d n
(`
d)
n
I
d
1
=
`
n
I
1
Expected returns for stocks and bonds conditional on state i today are
1
s
I
=
n
=l
I
r
s
I,
=
n
=l
I
[
`
n
I
1[
1
b
I
=
n
=l
I
r
b
I,
=
n
=l
I
(
1
j
b
(,)
1)
=
_
_
,
n
=l
I
(`
)
c
_
_
l
1
The unconditional returns are then given by
1
s
=
n
I=l
I
1
s
I
1
b
=
n
I=l
I
1
b
I
.
The equity premium is dened by
11 = 1
s
1
b
102 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
7.2.2 The Calibration
The US data show the equity premium for the period 18891978 is
1
s
1
b
= 6.08/0.80/ = 6.18/,
where 1
s
is the average return on the S&P 500 from 1889 to 1978, and 1
b
is the
average yield on government bonds throught that period. Mehra and Prescott
tried to ask a question how large is the predicted dierence in returns on a
risky asset and a riskless asset in the standard Lucas tree model? They choose
parameters of the Markov chain to mimic properties of US consumption data
for the period 18891978. More specically, they use a twostate Markov chain
with two possible values
`
l
= 1 j c
`
2
= 1 j c
where j is the average growth rate of consumption
ct+1ct
ct
. In data j = 0.018.
c is the variation in the growth rate. The transition matrix is assumed to be
ll
=
22
= c, i.e.,
1 =
_
c 1 c
1 c c
_
Then c and c are picked to match
the standard deviation of comsumption growth rate
ct+1ct
ct
in the data is
0.036.
the rstorder serial correlation of
ct+1ct
ct
is 0.14.
The resulting parameter values are: c = 0.086, and c = 0.48.
The remaining parameters are preference parameters , and o. A priori,
by economists believe that , must lie in the interval (0, 1). With respect to
o, Mehra and Prescott cite several dierent studies and opinions on its likely
values. Most micro literature suggests that o must be approximately equal to
1 (this is the logarithmic preference), However, some economists also believe
that it could take values as high as 2 or even 4. Certainly, there seems to be
consensus that o has to be lower than 10.
Then instead of picking values for , and o, Mehra and Prescott plotted the
level of equity premium that the model would predict for dierent, reasonable
combinations of values. Figure 7.2.2 below shows approximately what they have
obtained (it is a reproduction of Figure 4 of the original paper).
7.2. THE EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 103
Set of admissible equity premia and riskfree returns
Under reasonable parameters, the model can only produce the largest pre
mium value like 0.35%, which is far away from the data. The model can only
generate the equity premium observed in actual data at the expense of a very
high riskfree interest rate (e.g., o 20), or highly unreasonable parameter val
ues (such as , 1). Actually only for , = 1.08 and o = 18 that we can replicate
the equity premium as in the data.
3
Therefore, when compared to actual data,
the risk premium is too low in the model. In addition, the riskfree rate is only
0.80% in the data, but the minimum rate that the model can generate is still
way above it. The riskfree rate is too high in the model. In this sense, in fact,
these are actually two puzzles. One is too low equity premium puzzle. Another
one is toohigh riskfree rate puzzle.
What is the intuition of Equity Premium Puzzle? Combining two Euler
equations w.r.t. risky and riskfree assets in the model, we have
1

_
,(
c
l
c

)
c
(1
s
,l
1
b

)
_
= 0
3
See Kacherlakota (1996).
104 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
where 1
s
,l
=
Jt+1
s
t+1
s
t
. Denote :
l
= ,(
ct+1
ct
)
c
and 11
l
= 1
s
,l
1
b

,
we have
1

:
l
11
l
= 1

(:
l
) 1

(11
l
) co(:
l
, 11
l
) = 0
=
1

(11
l
) = 1

(1
s
,l
) 1
b

=
co(:
l
, 11
l
)
1

(:
l
)
Recall 1
b

= 1,j
b

= 1,1

[,(
ct+1
ct
)
c
[ = 1,1

(:
l
), thus we have
expected equity premium = 1
b

co(:
l
, 11
l
)
Assets whose returns covary negatively with consumption growth (co(:
l
, 11
l
) <
0), i.e., pays a lot when consumption is high, hence
ct+1
ct
and marginal rate of
substitution is low. It makes consumption more volatile, and so must promise
higher expected returns to persuade investors to hold them. Conversely, as
sets that covary positively with consumption growth (pay o more when the
consumption is low hence MRS is high), such as insurance, helps to smooth
consumption, therefore it is more valuable than its expected payo might indi
cate. In other words, it can oer expected rates of return that are even lower
than the riskfree rate because you do not need to persuade people to hold
it. The problem is, aggregate consumption in the data is not volatile enough,
thus the covariance between consumption growth and equity premium is not
negative enough to make the expected equity premium high enough under the
reasonable CRRA coecient.
Note that
co(:
l
, 11
l
) = co(:
l
, 1
s
,l
)
= :td(:
l
):td(1
s
,l
)corr(:
l
, 1
s
,l
)
Therefore,
1

(1
s
,l
) 1
b

= 1
b

:td(:
l
):td(1
s
,l
)corr(:
l
, 1
s
,l
)
= corr(:
l
, 1
s
,l
)
_
:td(:
l
)
1

(:
l
)
_
:td(1
s
,l
)
Since correlation 1 _ corr(:
l
, 1
s
,l
) _ 1, we have
11
s
1
b
:td(1
s
)
_
:td(:)
1:
(7.6)
The LHS is called Sharpe Ratio. The RHS is called the market price of risk.
This inequality is also referred to as the HansenJagannathan lower bound on
the pricing kernal. It indicates the lower bound of the market price of risk.
Under the lognormal assumption, after some tedious algebra, we can derive
:td(:)
1:
 o:td(lnc)
7.3. SOLVING EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 105
If consumption is more volatile (:td(lnc) ), or CRRA coecient is higher
(o ), then the market price of risk is higher, so does the equity premium. Over
the last 50 years in the US, aggregate nondurable and services consumption
growth has a mean and standard deviation of about 1%. The historical annual
market Sharpe Ratio has been about 0.5. This implies to make equation (7.6)
hold, the CRRA coecient should be at least 50! Thats another way to view
the "Equity Premium puzzle.
7.3 Solving Equity Premium Puzzle
In this section we will briey discuss the solutions that have been proposed in
the literature.
7.3.1 EpsteinZin Recursive Utility
One of the shortcomings of the CRRA utility function is that for this kind of
preference, the coecient of relative risk aversion and the elasticity of intertem
poral substitution are represented in just one parameter: o. In some sense, this
is consistent with the way the risk is modelled in expected utility framework:
remember that uncertainty is just the expansion of the decision making scenario
to a multiplicity of states of nature. Total utility is just the expected value
of optimal decision making in each of these states. You may notice there is
no dierence between time and states of nature. Time is just another
subindex to identify states of the world.
However, people seem to regard time and uncertainty as essentially dierent
phenomena. It is natural then to seek a representation of preferences that can
treat these two components of reality separately. This has been addressed by
Epstein and Zin (1989), who axiomatically worked on nonexpected utility and
came up with the following (nonexpected) utility function representation for a
preference relation that considers time and states of nature as more than just
two indices of the state of the world:
l

=
_
c
l

,(1

[l
lc
l
[
1,
1o
_ 1
1,
, 1 ,= j 0, 1 ,= o 0
where 1,j measures intertemporal elasticity of substitution, and o captures risk
aversion. Utility function today is a CES function w.r.t consumption today and
discounted expected utility tomorrow. Note that if j = o, we go back to original
CRRA utility by solving forward the recursive structure.
With this recursive preference, we can show that EEs now are
,1

_
(1

l
lc
l
)
o,
1,
l
c
l
(
c
l
c

)
1
b

_
= 1
1

_
(
c
l
c

)
l
c
l
(1
s
,l
1
b

)
_
= 0
106 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
Note that when j = o, once again the EE goes back to the one as in the original
MehraPrescott model.The additional term l
c
l
here plays an important role
in reconciling the equity premium puzzle. But the problem is it is unobservable
at time t.
This proposed solution is able to account for the riskfree rate puzzle. For
example, with EpsteinZin preference, when we have parameters , = 0.00, o =
2.00, and
l
is higher). The
standard CRRA preference cannot do it because in order to match equity pre
mium which mostly is governed by risk aversion, risk aversion o has to be high.
But since under CRRA preference, IES is just the reciprocal of risk aversion,
therefore IES has to be low, induces much higher riskfree rate in the model than
data. EspteinZin utility solves this puzzle by allowing IES and risk aversion to
be high simultaneously.
7.3.2 Habit Persistence
Campbell and Cochrane modify preferences of the standard Lucas tree model
to allow for a timevarying level of subsistence (or habit). Adding in habit
will change the form of SDF. If the consumption falls toward this subsistence
level, curvature of utility function increases. In this way, they tie risk aversion
to the level of consumption.
The Model
HHs preference
max 1
0
o
=0
,

(C

A

)
l~
1
1
When A

= 0, we go back to the standard CRRA utility function. Here A

represents the level of habit, and it is a weighted average of past consumption.
r

= `
o
=0
c
c

Or equivalently
r

= cr
l
`c

.
7.3. SOLVING EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 107
Here small letters denote the log of capital letters, e.g., r

= lnA

. We can
check that with this preference, CRRA is
j

= C

l
cc
(C

, A

)
l
c
(C

, A

)
=
o

where o

is the surplus
o

=
C

A

C

Therefore, when C

is closer to the subsistence (or habit) level, o

is smaller and
the CRRA gets bigger. HH is becoming more riskaverse.
The economy is an endowment economy with i.i.d. consumption growth:
ln(
C
l
C

) = c
l
c

= q
l
,
l
~ i.i.d.A(0, o
2
).
The surplus is governed by an 1(1) process
:
l
= (1 c) : c:

`(:

)
l
= (1 c) : c:

`(:

)(c
l
c

q)
We also allow consumption to aect habit dierently in dierent states by spec
ifying a square root type process rather than a simple 1(1).
`(:

) =
1
o
_
1 2(:

:) 1
o = o
_
1 c
The specication of `(:

) guarantees that (1). CA 0, \t; (2). A and C move
in the same direction; and (3). A reacts with delay to changes in consumption.
o

now is the only state variable in this model. Timevarying expected
returns, price/dividend ratio, etc. are all functrions of this variable.
The marginal utility is
l
c
(C

, A

) = (C

A

)
~
= o
~

C
~

.
This model assumes external habit in the sense that each individuals habit
is determined by everyone elses consumption, i.e., A

is independent with C

.
This simplication allows us to ignore terms by which current consumption will
aect future habits.
SDF is
'
l
= ,
l
c
(C
l
, A
l
)
l
c
(C

, A

)
= ,(
o
l
o

C
l
C

)
~
.
The EE for riskfree asset is
1

'
l
1
b

= 1.
108 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
Since we have a stochastic process for o and C, and each is lognormal, we can
(through tedious algebra) obtain
r
b

= ln1

('
l
) = ln, q
1
2
(1 c)
= ln, q
1
2
(
o
)
2
o
2
.
The EE for risky asset is
1

(:

) = 1

'
l
(1
l
(:

) C
l
(:

))
Thus the price/dividend ratio (as same as price/consumption ratio) is given by
1

C

(:

) = 1

'
l
C
l
C

(1
1
l
C
l
(:
l
))
= ,1

c
~(st+1st)~(ct+1ct)
c
ct+1ct
(1
1
l
C
l
(:
l
))
= ,1

c
~(st+1st)(l~)(ct+1ct)
(1
1
l
C
l
(:
l
))
= ,1

c
~((l)(st s)X(st)ut+1)(l~)(ut+1)
[1
1
l
C
l
(:
l
)[.
This equation can be solved numerically. Use price/dividend ratio, we can in
turn calculate returns and expected returns.
The Calibration
Campbell and Cochrane choose the free parameters of the model to match cer
tain moments of the US postwar data. There are some parameters whose values
are directly taken from data. For example, the mean and standard deviation of
log consumption growth q and o are 1.89% and 1.50% directly from the data.
The log of riskfree rate r
b
is 0.94% from the postwar data. Then they choose
persistence coecient c to match the autocorrelation of the log price/dividend
ratio. they choose subjective discount factor , to match riskfree rate with the
average real returns on Tbills. And they search for a value of to match the
postwar Sharpe Ratio. The resulting parameter values are c = 0.87, , = 0.80,
and = 2.00 (reasonable!).
Given these parameters, Campbell and Cochrane simulate 100000 annually
articial data points to calculate population values of a variety of statistics.
Table (7.1) below reports means and standard deviations predicted by the model
and compare with the data.
The model accounts for expected equity premium, standard deviation of
equity premium, and standard deviation of price/dividend ratio very well. It
also does fairly well in terms of mean p/d ratio.
How does this model work? Recall that with habit, the risk aversion coe
cient is now timevarying
j

=
o

7.3. SOLVING EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 109
Statistic Model (%) Data (%)
Sharpe Ratio 0.0 (construction) 0.0
1(1
s
1
b
) 6.64 6.60
o(1
s
1
b
) 1.2 1.7
mean p/d ratio 18.8 24.7
std (p/d ratio) 0.27 0.26
Table 7.1: Means and standard deviations of simulated and historical data
As consumption falls towards habit, people become much less willing to tolerate
further falls in consumption, i.e., they become very risk averse. Therefore,
although we can have a low CRRA coecient , but we can still obtain a high,
timevarying curvature. Recall our fundamental equation for Sharpe Ratio, we
have
11
s
1
b
:td(1
s
)
 j

:td(lnc) corr(c, 1
s
)
Now even given constant consumption volatility :td(lnc) and correlation
corr(c, 1
s
), since j

can be really high, this means that the model has a
opportunity to explain high equity premium as in the data. An obvious impli
cation of the model is the equity premium is countercyclical (high in recessions
and low in booms).
What about riskfree rate puzzle? Right now looks like the model assumes
that right number of r
b
. Actually this model does have a avor to solve riskfree
rate puzzle too. Here is the intuition: Suppose we are in a bad time in which
consumption is low relative to habit. People want to borrow against future
(potential) higher consumption, i.e., they want to consume more and save less
today, this force will drive up the interest rate (the demand for bond decreases,
drive the price of bond down, the bond price is 1,(1r
b
), therefore, r
b
is higher).
But in this external habit model, people are also much more risk averse when
consumption is low. This consideration induces them to save more, in order
to build up assets against the event that might be even worse tomorrow. This
precautionary saving motive helps to lower down the interest rate. When the
latter dominates, the model can resolve the riskfree rate puzzle.
7.3.3 Alternative Habit Model: Catching Up with the
Joneses
Abel (1990) studies the Lucas tree model with following preference
l

=
o
=0
,

n(c

,

)
where

is a preference parameter specied as

= [c
1
l
C
l1
l
[
~
, _ 0 and 1 _ 0 (7.7)
110 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
where c
l
is the consumers own consumption in period t 1 and C
l
is
aggregate consumption per capita in period t 1. If = 0, then

= 1 and the
utility function is standard timeseparable. If 0 and 1 = 0, the parameter

depends only on the lagged level of aggregate consumption per capita. This
formation is the relative consumption or Catching up with the Joneses model.
If 0 and 1 = 1, n(c

,

) = n(c

, c
l
), this is the habit formation model.
Suppose the period utility function has the CRRA form
n(c

,

) =
[c

,

[
lc
1 o
, o 0
Marginal utility is
'l

=
0l

0c

= [1 ,1(
c
l
c

)
lc
(
l

)
lc
[(
c


)
lc
(
1
c

). (7.8)
In equilibrium, since all HHs are identical, we have c

= C

= j

in every
period. Denote r
l
=
t+1
t
=
ct+1
ct
=
ct+1
ct
, we have
ut+1
ut
= r
~

. Hence we can
rewrite equation (7.8) as
'l

= H
l
c
c

cl

where H
l
= 1 ,1r
lc
l
r
~(lc)

.
Note that if 1 = 0 then H
l
= 1, which is the case for both timeseparable
and relative consumption preferences.
EE for oneperiod bond is
1

,
'l
l
1

('l

)
1
b
l
= 1
SDF is
,
'l
l
1

('l

)
= [
H
2
1

(H
l
)
[r
~(cl)

r
c
l
.
Similarly, EE for risky asset is
1

,
'l
l
1

('l

)
j
s
l
j
l
j
s

= 1
Suppose that consumption growth r
l
is i.i.d. over time, we can obtain
explicit solutions for stock and bond price.
Using twopoint Markov process for consumption growth with 1(r

) = 1.018,
\ ar(r

) = 0.086
2
, assume , = 0.00, Abel reports the unconditional expected
returns as in Table below (it is also Table 1 in Abel (1990)).
Panel A in Table (7.2) displays the equity premium puzzle. When risk
aversion is as high as 10, the equity premium is still as low as 1.87/. Panel B
shows that relative consumption model does a much better job. With o = 6,
the model predicts equity premium 4.68/. But the problem is it also produces
too volatile conditional expected rate of return. Panel C demonstrates that the
expected rate of returns are extremely sensitive to the value of o.
7.3. SOLVING EQUITY PREMIUM PUZZLE 111
Stocks (%) Bonds(%)
A. Timeseparable preferences ( = 0)
0.5 1.93 1.87
1.0 2.83 2.70
6.0 10.34 9.52
10.00 14.22 12.85
B. Relative consumption ( = 1, 1 = 0)
0.5 2.80 2.76
1.0 2.83 2.70
6.0 6.70 2.07
10.0 14.73 1.59
C. Habit Formation ( = 1, 1 = 1)
0.86 33.56 4.53
0.94 6.83 3.48
1.00 2.83 2.70
1.06 8.43 1.93
1.14 38.28 0.93
Table 7.2: Unconditional expected returns in the alternative models
112 CHAPTER 7. ASSET PRICING
Chapter 8
Real Business Cycles and
Calibration Exercise
This chapter is heavily based on Krusells Lecture Notes for Macroeconomics
and the Chapter 1 in Cooley and Prescott (1995). The purpose of this chapter
is to introduce the study of business cycles. By business cycles we mean uctu
ations of output around its long term growth trend. In this sense, this chapter
complements growth theory to provide a thorough explanation of the behav
ior of economic aggregates: rst, output grows secularly; second, it uctuates
around its long term trend. We have already analyzed the former phenomenon
in Chapter 6. The latter is our topic now.
We will rst overview the empirical facts that constitute our object of study,
and the history of the attempts at explaining these facts. After that, we will
study the theory that has developed. We could separate the evolution of this
theory in three phases: (i) PreReal Business Cycles; (ii) Real Business Cycles;
(iii) Current trends.
8.1 Introduction
Business cycle theory in historical perspective:
1. Earlier than Keyness General Theory, economists such as Wesley Mitchell,
Simon Kuznets and Frederick Mills established business cycle theory as
an important part of twentiethcentury economics. Mitchell was primarily
concerned with documenting the simultaneity of movement (comovement)
of variables over the cycle. F. Mills was concerned with documenting
the behavior of prices, and in particular the comovement of prices and
quantities over economic expansions and contractions. S. Kuznets studied
patterns of both growth and uctuations.
2. 1930s was a very active period for business cycle research. NBER contin
ued its program of empirically documenting the features of cycles. They
113
114CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
found that the business cycle uctuations are a recurrent event with many
similarities over time and across countries. This nding prompted many
attempts to explain the cycle as a natural property or outcome of an
economic system.
3. The socalled Keynesian Revolution that followed the publication of the
General Theory turned attention away from thinking about business cycles
to the determination of the level of output at a point of time, i.e., the focus
shifts from dynamic to static.
4. Concurrent with the emergence of Keynesian macroeconomics was a re
newed interest in the problem of understanding the longrun laws of motion
of modern economies. Harrod and Domar initiated the research agenda of
modern growth theory. The growth theory also evolved from the observa
tion of empirical regularities, as had the business cycle theory. Kaldors
stylized facts (see Chapter 6) of economic growth suggested economic
laws at work that can be captured in formal models.
5. But for a long time, study of shortterm economic uctuations and study
of longterm growth were divorced. The generally accepted view was that
we needed one theory for economic growth and one for business cycle. Sev
eral important developments in growth theory established the foundation
that made it possible to think about growth theory and business cycles
within the same theoretical framework. One is Brock and Mirman (1972)s
characterization of optimal growth path in an economy with stochastic
productivity shock. A second was the introduction of the laborleisure
choice into the basic neoclassical model.
6. Kydland and Prescott (1982) is the pioneering work of real business cycles
(RBC) theory. It uses modied equilibrium growth model with exogenous
productivity shock to explain the cyclical variances of a set of economic
time series, the covariances between real output and the other series, and
the autocovariance of output. It provides methodological contribution to
integrate growth and business cycle theory. According to their view, it is
the technology shock that causes the cycles in the economy. The source
of the shock is real, and the propagation mechanism is real as well: it is
a consequence of the intertemporal substitution of labor that optimizing
decision makers choose whenever confronted with such a technology shock.
8.2 Stylized Facts about Business Cycles
In this section we are interested in presenting the main facts that business
cycle theory seeks to explain.
8.2.1 Early Facts
Burns and Mitchell (1946)s main ndings are:
8.2. STYLIZED FACTS ABOUT BUSINESS CYCLES 115
1. Output in dierent sectors of the economy have positive covariance.
2. Both investment and consumption of durable goods exhibit high variabil
ity.
3. Company prots are very procyclical and variable.
4. Prices are procyclical as well. (This is not true for the postwar years,
but it was for the sample analyzed by Burns and Mitchell.)
5. The amount of outstanding money balances and the velocity of circulation
are procyclical.
6. Short term interest rates are procyclical.
7. Long term interest rates are countercyclical.
8. Business cycles are all alike across countries and across time.
But the main weaknesses of Burns and Mitchells work are: rst of all,
the work was not carefully done, and was hard to replicate. secondly, there
was no solid underlying statistical theory. Relevant issues were not addressed
altogether, such as the statistical signicance of the assertions. Hence what
needed in the profession is a set of for credible (maybe just properly presented!)
stylized facts, and then a suitable theoretical framework to explain them. This
is exactly what Kydland and Prescott did in their pathbreaking 1982 paper
(They won Nobel Prize partly due to this contribution).
8.2.2 Kydland and Prescott (1982): How to Convert Raw
Data into Facts
What are the business cycles? Business cycles are the recurrent uctuations
of output about the trend and the comovements among other aggregate time
series. In the rst place, since the phenomenon to be studied is the shortrun
uctuations of output around its longterm growth, these uctuations need to
be pinned down with precision. Raw data need to be get rid of the secular
growth component before the cycle can be identied. This is done by ltering
the data, using the method developed by Hodrick and Prescott (the socalled
HP lter).
HP Filter
We consider an observed time series (say log of output) j

as the sum of a
cyclical component j
c

and a growth component j

.
j

= j
c

j

.
Now we must nd a way to detrend, means extract the cycle from its long
run growth trend. The idea of HP lter is to minimize the sum of squared
116CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
deviations from a given time series j

subject to the constraint that the sum
of the squared second dierences not be too big. That is
min
]
t
]
J
t=1
T
=l
(j

j

)
2
:.t.
Tl
=2
[(j
l
j

) (j

j
l
)[
2
_ j
The smaller is j, the smoother is the trend path. If j = 0, the least squares
linear time trend results. We can write this problem into a Lagrangian function
and let ` be the multiplier for the constraint, then HP ltering problem is to
choose the growth component j

, to minimize the loss function
T
=l
(j

j

)
2
`
Tl
=2
[(j
l
j

) (j

j
l
)[
2
The nature of this optimization problem is to trade o the extent to which
the growth component tracks the actual data series. For ` = 0, obviously
j

= j

, \t, the growth component is simply the series. As ` , the growth
component approaches a linear trend. For quarterly data, Hodrick and Prescott
chose ` = 1600, and ` = 400 for annual data. Once the problem is solved, the
object of study is the resulting j
c

series. With this in hand, facts in business
cycles research are a series of relevant statistics computed from detrended data.
KP Facts
There are three types of statistics we look at for the pattern of business cycles.
First, we measure the standard deviation of variables to understand volatilities.
1
Volatilities
1. o
c
< o
 o
 o
. 1 = employment.
7. o 1
rcc!
< o
`
=
E[(XE(X))(Y E(Y ))]
`
.
118CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
Variable Cyclicality Lead/Lag Volatility relative to j
c (nondurables) procyclical coincident less
c (durables) procyclical coincident more
i procyclical coincident more
1 acyclical lagging less
G acyclical n/a more
procyclical coincident almost same
j, procyclical coincident less
n acyclical n/a less
1 procyclical lagging almost same
Table 8.1: Summary of Business Cycle Facts
8.3 Theory After Facts
Once the facts are well established, a theory to account for them can be devel
oped. The research on this was initiated by Kydland and Prescott (1982) and
Long and Plosser (1983). The framework is the stochastic neoclassical growth
model. And, remember: this project is quantitative. Everything is in num
bers. The success of a real business cycle model is measured by its ability to
numerically replicate the facts.
8.3.1 The Benchmark Model
The paradigm here is stochastic neoclassical growth model with laborleisure
choice. The economy is populated by innitely many identical HHs that will
exist forever. The HHs preference is dened as
1
o
=0
,

n(c

, 1 :

)
Aggreagte technology is dened by
1

= c
:t
1(1

,

)
The productivity shock .

is the source of uncertainty in the economy. It evolves
according to the law of motion
.
l
= j.


l
, j (0, 1),  ~ (0, o
2
:
).
Aggregate capital stock follows law of motion
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

.
Firms problem at time t is
max
1t,t
j

[c
:t
1(1

,

) r

1

n


[, \t (8.1)
8.3. THEORY AFTER FACTS 119
FOCs are
r

= c
:t
1
1
(1

,

) (8.2)
n

= c
:t
1
(1

,

) (8.3)
The HHs problem
max
c,I,n
1
o
=0
,

n(c

, 1 :

)
:.t.
c

i

_ n

:

r

/

/
l
= (1 c)/

i

Note that HHs state variables are :

= (.

, /

, 1

), but the economywide
state variables are o

= (.

, 1

). Thus, we can also write HHs problem as a DP
problem:
(., /, 1) = max
c,I,n
n(c, 1 :) ,1[(.
t
, /
t
, 1
t
)[
:.t.
c i _ r(., 1)/ n(., 1):
/
t
= (1 c)/ i
1
t
= (1 c)1 1(., 1)
.
t
= j. 
t
c _ 0, 0 _ : _ 1 (8.4)
Denition 45 A Recursive Competitive Equilibrium (RCE) is a collection of
value function (., /, 1); a set of decision rules c(., /, 1), :(., /, 1), and
i(., /, 1) for the HH; a corresponding set of aggregate per capita decison rules
C(., 1), (., 1), and 1(., 1); and factor price equations n(., 1) and r(., 1),
such that:
(i). Given prices, (., /, 1), c(., /, 1), :(., /, 1), and i(., /, 1) solve HHs
problem (8.4).
(ii). Factor price function n(., 1) and r(., 1) are the solution to the rms
problem (8.1), hence they satisfy (8.2)(8.3).
(iii). The individual and aggregate decisions are consistent, i.e.,
c(., /, 1) = C(., 1)
:(., /, 1) = (., 1)
i(., /, 1) = 1(., 1)
/ = 1
(iv). Aggregate resource constraint is
C(., 1) 1(., 1) = 1 (., 1).
120CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
The central methodological issue is how to pick the parameters in the utility
and production functions. In this sense, the work of Kydland and Prescott has
also a dialectic dimension. The authors are advocates of the technique known
as calibration. This is more than merely how to pick values for parameters
to solve a numerical problem. It is a way of contrasting models against data as
opposed to traditional econometrics. Calibration, sometimes also called back
oftheenvelope calculations, requires that values for parameters be picked from
sources independent of the phenomenon under study. The discipline advocated
by Kydland and Prescott bans curve tting practices. For example, admissible
sources of parameter values are:
1. Household data on consumption, hours worked, and other microeconomic
evidence, for individual preference parameters.
2. Long run trend data for the factor shares in production (namely c in the
CobbDouglas case).
8.3.2 How to Measure z
In order to measure technology shock .

, we will take inspiration from the growth
accounting technique developed by Solow. In his framework, there are two
inputs, capital and labor, and a total factor productivity (TFP) shock. Hence
the output takes the form:
j

= 1

(1

,

) = .

1(1

,

).
The issue that we have to address is what . is or more precisely, what the
counterpart in the data to the theoretical variable .

is. To this eect, we will
assume that time is continuous, and dierentiate the production function:
dj

= 1(1

,

)d.

.

1
1
(1

,

)d1

.

1
(1

,

)d

Then divide both sides by total output j

dj

j

=
.

1(1

,

)
j

d.

.

.

1
1
(1

,

)1

j

d1

1

.

1
(1

,

)

j

d


=
d.

.

.

1
1
(1

,

)1

j

d1

1

.

1
(1

,

)

j

d


We assume the production technology exhibits CRS and the market is perfectly
competitive. Under these assumptions, FOCs of the rms problem show
r

= .

1
1
(1

,

)
n

= .

1
(1

,

)
Hence we have
dj

j

..
output growth rate
=
d.

.

..
Technological change
r

1

j

. .
capital share in income
d1

1

n


j

. .
labor share in income
d


8.3. THEORY AFTER FACTS 121
Changes in j Secular Growth Business Cycles
Due to changes in 1 1/3 0
Due to changes in 0 2/3
Due to changes in . 2/3 1/3
Table 8.2: Growth and Business Cycle Accounting of Postwar US Economy
Growth accounting exercise thus attributes the economic growth to the three
dierent sources:
1. due to changes in productivity
J:t
:t
, this term is often called Solow Resid
ual.
2. due to changes in capital input
J1t
1t
.
3. due to changes in labor input
Jt
t
.
Dene capital share c

=
:t1t
t
. In the postwar US economy, this share is
around onethird. Therefore, labor share
utt
t
= 1 c

is about twothirds.
We know the US postwar economy data about j, 1, and . Thus we can
decompose the US postwar economic growth by applying growth accounting
exercise. We nd that since there is no trend in the average hours worked per
worker in the postwar period, so variations in the labor input do not contribute
to secular growth. Changes in capital inputs account for approximately 1,8 of
the growth in output per worker. This suggests that the remaining 2,8 of the
secular growth in output is attributable to improvements in productivity (Solow
Residual).
We can do the similar things for business cycles. But the decomposition of
output uctuations for the business cycle reveals that the sources of business
cycle uctuations are quite dierent. We know for the facts that o
1
<< o
and
j(1, j)  0. Therefore capital uctuations do not acount for much of busienss
cycles. About 2,8 of the uctuations in aggreagte output are attributable to
uctuations in the labor input. Since capital does not vary much, the remaining
1,8 is due to uctuations in .

.
So how to measure .? . is measured by the part of the output that can
not be attributable to the production inputs. More specically, if we assume
neoclassical production function takes CobbDouglas form, the TFP shock (or
Solow Residual) can be measured as
.

=
j

1
o

lo

.
8.3.3 Calibration
We already lay down the theoretical foundation of the RBC, which is the sto
chastic neoclassic growth model. But the question is: does a model designed to
122CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
be consistent with longrun economic growth produce the sort of uctuations
that we associate with business cycle? This is indeed a quantitative question
because we want to ask does the model will produce the results that similar to
the quantitative facts we found in the data.
To go from the general theoretical framework to quantitative assessment is
a vestep process. In what follows, let me describe these steps briey in a
cookbook procedure fashion.
Restricting the Model Economy to a Parametric Class
The basic observations about economic growth suggest that capital and labor
shares have been approximately constant over time even while the relative prices
of these inputs have changed. This suggests a CobbDouglas production function
as following
1

= c
:t
1
0

l0

.
0 is the capital income share. 10 is the labor income share. The CD assump
tion denes a parametric class of technologies for this model economy.
Speaking preferences, we know from the data that per capita leisure has been
approximately constant over time in the postwar period. Meantime, real wages
have increased steadily. Taken together, these two observations imply that the
income eect and the substitution eect of increases in real wages on leisure
exactly oset each other, therefore, the elasticity of substitution between con
sumption and leisure should be near unity. This suggests the general parametric
class of preferences of the form
n(c

, 

) =
(c
lo


o

)
lc
1
1 o
,
where
l
c
is intertemporal elasticity of substitution (IES) and c is the share
parameter for leisure in the composite commodity.
As described earlier, the productivity shock .

is the source of uncertainty
in the economy. It evolves according to the law of motion
.
l
= j.


l
, j (0, 1),  ~ (0, o
2
:
).
Aggregate capital stock follows law of motion
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

.
We further assume that the population size of the economy is growing at
rate j. And the production technology is subject to a laboraugumenting tech
nological change at rate .
8.3. THEORY AFTER FACTS 123
The social planners problem is
max
o
=0
,

n(C

, 1

)
:.t.
C

1

_ c
:t
1
0

[(1 )


[
l0
1
l
= (1 c)1

1

.
l
= j.


l
C

, 1
l
_ 0
All the capital letters denote aggregate variables.
Suppose the population size of this economy is H

. We try to convert the
agregate variables to per capita variables by the transformation as following
3
,

n(C

, 1

) = ,

H

n(
C

H

,
1

H

)
= ,

(
H

H
0
)n(c

, 

)
We normalize H
0
to be one, hence H

= (1 j)

. Small letters stand for per
capita variables. We have
,

n(C

, 1

) = ,

(1 j)

n(c

, 

).
Resource constraint changes to
C

H

1

H

= c
:t
(1 )
(l0)
(
1

H

)
0
(

H

)
l0
=
c

i

= c
:t
(1 )
(l0)
/
0

:
l0

.
Assume labor force participation rate is 100% and no unemployment, we have
additional constraint
1


= H

Dividing both sides by H

, we have


:

= 1
Transforming the capital accumulation equation:
1
l
H
l
H
l
H

= (1 c)
1

H

1

H

=
(1 j)/
l
= (1 c)/

i

.
3
More precisely, this transformation is true only under the CobbDouglas preferences (i.e.,
o = 0). But since preferences preserve the ranking under the positive transformation, we are
also ne by expressing the following transformation.
124CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
Therefore, we transform the original preoblem into the one in terms of per capita
variables
max
]ct,nt]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

(1 j)

n(c

, 1 :

)
:.t.
c

i

= c
:t
(1 )
(l0)
/
0

:
l0

(1 j)/
l
= (1 c)/

i

.
l
= j.


l
c

, /
l
_ 0, 0 _ :

_ 1
Therefore, there are nine parameters in the model economy: technology
parameter 0; preferences parameters c, o, ,; depreciation rate of capital c; shock
parameters j and o
2
:
; growth rate of population and technological change j and
.
Construct Measurements Consistent with the Parametric Class
Calibrating the parametric class of economies chosen requires that we consider
the correspondence between the model economy and the measurements that are
taken from the US economy, i.e., we try to nd a data counterpart of our model
variables.
Our data counterpart for the whole economy is US National Income and
Product Accounts (NIPA). Lets take a quick look at Table 8.3.
Notice that our model economy is very abstract: it contains no government,
no household (home production) sector, no foreign trade and no explicit treat
ment of inventories. Accordingly, capital 1 in the model includes capital used
in all of these sectors plus the stock of inventories. Similarly output 1 also
includes the output produced by all of this capital. But NIPA are somewhat
inconsistent in their treatment of these issues. For example, the NIPA does not
provide a consistent treatment of the household sector. The accounts do include
the imputed ow of services from the owneroccupied housing as part of GDP.
But they do not attempt to impute the ow of services from the stock of con
sumer durables. The NIPA treats consumer durables with consumption rather
than treating them as investment. When we deal with the measured data, in
consistent with the model, we will add the HHs capital stockthe stock of resi
dential structures and the stock of consumer durablesto producers equipment
and structures. To be consistent, we will also have to impute the ow of serivices
from durables and add that to measured output.
The measurement issues discussed above are central to the task of calibrat
ing any model economy because a consistent set of measurements is necessary to
align the model economy with the data. For example, in order to estimate the
capital income share parameter 0 in the production function, it is crucial that
we make sure measure all forms of capital and include measures of all forms of
output. Similarly, when we treat aggregate investment it is necessary to include
8.3. THEORY AFTER FACTS 125
Line Variables $
1 Gross domestic product (GDP) 10480.8
2 Personal consumption expenditures 7385.3
3 Durable goods 911.3
4 Nondurable goods 2086
5 Services 4388
6 Gross private domestic investment 1589.2
7 Fixed investment 1583.9
8 Nonresidential 1080.2
9 Structures 266.3
10 Equipment and software 813.9
11 Residential 503.7
12 Change in private inventories 5.4
13 Net exports of goods and services 426.3
14 Exports 1006.8
15 Goods 697.8
16 Services 309.1
17 Imports 1433.1
18 Goods 1190.3
19 Services 242.7
20 Government consumption expenditures and gross investment 1932.5
21 Federal 679.5
22 Natinal defense 438.3
23 Nondefense 241.2
24 State and local 1253.1
Table 8.3: 2002 US Gross Domestic Product: Billions of dollars
126CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
Variables NIPA Accounting Category Theory Category
Personal consumption expenditures: C
Durables 1
Nondurables C
Services C
Gross private domestic investment 1 1
Net exports 1 1
Government purchases: G
Public consumption C
Public investment 1
Table 8.4: NIPA categoroes and their model counterparts
in investment additions to all forms of capital stock. For the current model econ
omy, the concept of investment that corresponds to the aggregate capital stock
includes government investment, consumption of consumer durables, change
in inventories, gross xed investment, and net exports
4
. Making sure that the
conceptual framework of the model economy and the conceptual framework of
the measured data are consistent, is a crucial step in the process of calibration.
Here in Table 8.4 we summarize the category in NIPA and the counterpart
of this category in the theory (model economy).
We will use economic theory to guide us to impute the ow of services from
government capital and consumer durables. We know that income from capital
is related to the stock of capital in the following way
1
11
= (r c
11
)1
1
1
1
: xed private capital stock
1
11
: income on xed private capital
c
11
: depreciation rate of capital stock 1
1
r : return on capital.
1
1
will be measured from data:
1
1
= net stock of xed reproducible private capital (not including the stock of consumer durables)
the stock of inventories (from NIPA)
stock of land (from Flow of Funds Accounts)
The measurement of capital income 1
11
is taken from NIPA. There is some
concern involved in dening this because of ambiguity about how much of Pro
prietors income and some other smaller categories (NNPNI) should be treated
as capital income. We dene 1
11
as following way. First of all, dene unam
4
We include net exports into investment because we view net exports representing additions
to or claims on the domestic capital stock in this closed model economy.
8.3. THEORY AFTER FACTS 127
bigous capital income as
Unambigous Capital Income = Rental income Corporate Prots
Net interest,
with all three incomes from NIPA. Next, we want to allocate the ambiguous
components of income according to the share of capital income in measured
GNP. Let 0
1
denote the share of capital in measured GNP. Further, notice
that the measured value of c
11
1
1
is called Consumption of Fixed Capital
(GNPNNP) in the NIPA.
111 = c
11
1
1
.
Now we can dene 1
11
as follows
1
11
= Unambigous Capital Income
0
1
(Proprietors Income NNPNI)
111
= 0
1
G1
If we ignore the dierence between NNP and NI, we can solve for 0
1
0
1
=
Unambigous Capital Income+111
(G1 Unambigous Capital Income)
.
Once we know 0
1
, since GNP is known, we can determine 1
11
. Then the return
to capital r is determined by
r =
1
11
111
1
.
For the time period 19541992, this yields an average interest rate of 6.9%.
To estimate the ow of services from the stock of consumer durables and the
stock of government capital, we adopt the following procedure. First, we need
to obtain the depreciation rates for both capital stocks.
Divide the law of motions of each capital stock by 1

, we have
1
l
1

1
l
1
l
= (1 c)
1

1

1

1

.
On a BGP,
1t+1
Yt+1
=
1t
Yt
, and we do have data about
Yt+1
Yt
,
1t
Yt
and
1t
Yt
from NIPA.
Therefore, equation above provides the basis for measuring the depreciation
rates for consumer durables and government capital. For the sample period
19541992, we end up with
c
1
= 21/
c
c
= /.
Once we know the depreciation rates, the service ows are then estimated as
1
1
= (r c
1
)1
1
1
c
= (r c
c
)1
c
128CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
Assign Values to the Parameters
Since we construct our data counterpart of the model economy according to the
theory, capital now includes private capital, government capital, and consumer
durables; and output also includes ows of services from government capital and
consumer durables. Therefore, capital income share 0 is determined by
0 =
1
11
1
1
1
c
G1 1
1
1
c
= 0.40.
The population growth rate j and growth rate of real per capita output are
also determined from the data
j = 0.012, = 0.016.
We pick CRRA coecient o = 1 (therefore IES=1) which leads to logarith
mic utility function
(1 c) log c

clog(1 :

)
Before we move on to show how to calibrate the remaining parameters, we
would like to transform the original per capita economy into a stationary one.
From Section 6.2, we already know that in this model economy, all variables
grow at a rate . We then dene the detrended variables:
c

=
c

(1 )

, i

=
i

(1 )

,
/

=
/

(1 )

,
With these transformation, preference changes to
,

(1 j)

[(1 c) log c

clog(1 :

)[ ,

(1 c)(1 j)

log(1 )

.
Since the second term does not include any choice variable, hence it is irrelevant
for our utility maximization.
The law of motion for capital stock changes to
(1 j)(1 )
l
/
l
= (1 c)(1 )

/

(1 )

i

=
(1 j)(1 )
/
l
= (1 c)
/

i

.
And the resource constraint becomes
(1 )

c

(1 )

i

= c
:t
(1 )

/
0

:
l0

=
c

i

= c
:t
/
0

:
l0

.
8.3. THEORY AFTER FACTS 129
Therefore, our new stationary economy is
max
]ct,nt]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

(1 j)

[(1 c) log c

clog(1 :

)[
:.t.
c

i

= c
:t
/
0

:
l0

(1 j)(1 )
/
l
= (1 c)
/

i

.
l
= j.


l
c

,
/
l
_ 0, 0 _ :

_ 1
We calibrate the remaining parameters (c, ,, j, o
:
, c) by choosing them so
that the deterministic balancedgrowth path (BGP) of our model economy matches
certain longrun features of the measured US economy. In other words, we pick
the parameter values so that it more or less replicates the US economy on
average. Therefore, for this step, we ignore the stochastic part of the model
economy and focus on its growth part. The principle in our mind is: when
modifying the standard growth model to address a business cycle question, the
modication should continue to display the growth facts. (See Prescott (1998)).
EE for this stationary economy is
(1 )(1 j)
c

=
,(1 j)[0
/
0l
l
:
l0
l
1 c[
c
l
Along BGP, notice that c
l
= c

= c,
/
l
=
/

=
/,
i
l
= i

= i, :
l
= :,
thus we have
1
,
c 1 = 0
j
/
. (8.5)
FOC w.r.t. hours :

is
c
1 c
c

1 :

= (1 0)
/
0

:
0

= (1 0)
j

:

.
Along BGP, this implies
c
1 c
:
1 :
= (1 0)
j
c
. (8.6)
Finally, along BGP, the law of motion for the capital stock implies
(1 j)(1 )
/
j
= (1 c)
/
j
i
j
=
c =
i
/
1 (1 j)(1 ). (8.7)
From the US data, the steady state investment/capital ratio is 0.076. Given
the value of j and , equation (8.7) can be used to calibrate depreciation rate
c. The resulting value for c = 0.048.
130CHAPTER 8. REAL BUSINESS CYCLES ANDCALIBRATIONEXERCISE
Technology Preferences
0 c j o
:
, o c j
0.40 0.012 0.95 0.007 0.0156 0.987 1 0.64 0.012
Table 8.5: Calibrated parameters
Once c is known, equation (8.5) can be used to calibrate ,. Given values for
, c, and 0, , is chosen to match the steady state output/capital ratio. Under
our broad denition of capital stock and output, in data

 o
, j).
What do we learn from this exercise? The broad features of the model
economy suggest that it makes sense to claim that technology shock is the
major driving force behind the business cycles. But the failures of the model
tell us that there are important margins along which decisions are made that
have not been captured in this simple world (especially in the labor market).
Chapter 9
Overlapping Generations
Model
We have learned enough about the a major workhorse model of modern dynamic
macroeconomics: innite horizon growth (IHG) model. Here in this chapter we
are going to study the second major workhorse of modern macroeconomics: the
Overlapping Generations (OLG) model.
In terms of model setup, now the big dierences bwtween OLG and IHG
are:
1. HHs have nite horizon. Every period there is a new cohort born. And
they do not live forever.
2. At any point of time, there are heterogeneous HHs in terms of age and
allocations.
Therefore, a natural question can be raised is: Do these dierences aect all
the basic properties of the competitive equilibrium? The answer is yes. We can
highlight some of the big dierences here:
1. CE may no longer be PO.
2. There may exist a continuum of equilibria.
3. (Outside) money may have positive value.
What is the motivation for OLG model?
1. To make the model closer to the real world. Apparently HHs do not live
forever and there is birth and death in every period.
2. We need models where agents undergo a lifecycle with lowincome youth,
high income middle ages, and retirement where labor income drops to
zero. We want to analyze issues like social security, the eect of taxes
133
134 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
on retirement decisions, the distributive eects of taxes vs. government
decits, the eects of lifecycle saving on capital accumulation, educational
policies, etc.
3. Because it has many interesting theoretical properties as we summarized
some above, it is also an area of intense study among economic theorists.
9.1 A Pure Exchange Overlapping Generations
Model
9.1.1 Basic Setup of the Model
Here we describe the basic setup of a pure exchange OLG model.
1. Time is discrete, t = 0, 1, 2, ...
2. In each period there is a single, nonstorable consumption good.
3. In each period t a new generation (of measure 1) is born, which we index
by its date of birth and call it cohort t.
4. People live for two periods and then die. Therefore, the total population
at each period is measure 1.
With this demographic structure, we have to distinguish the calendar time
and the cohort age. Since now, we use subscript for the calendar time, and use
superscript for the cohort index. For example, c


is the time t endowment of
the cohort born at time t, c

l
is the time t 1 endowment of the cohort t.
Similarly, (c


, c

l
) denotes the consumption allocation for the cohort t.
In period 1 there is an initial old generation 0 that has endowment c
0
l
and
consumes c
0
l
. In some of our applications we will endow the initial generation
with an amount of outside money :. We will NOT assume : _ 0. If : _ 0,
then : can be interpreted straightforwardly as at money, if : < 0 one should
view this as that the initial old people having borrowed from some institution
(which is, however, outside the model) and : is the amount to be repaid.
In Table 9.1 we demonstrate the demographic structure of this model econ
omy. Note that there are both an innite number of periods as well as well as
an innite number of agents in this economy. This double innity has been
cited to be the major source of the theoretical peculiarities of the OLG model.
Preferences of cohort t are assumed to be representable by an additively
separable utility function of the form
l

(c) = n(c


) ,n(c

l
).
The preference for the initial old cohort is
l
0
(c) = n(c
0
l
).
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 135
Calendar Time
0 1 2 8 ... ... t t 1 ...
C 0 (c
0
l
, c
0
l
)
o 1 (c
l
l
, c
l
l
) (c
l
2
, c
l
2
)
h 2 (c
2
2
, c
2
2
) (c
2
3
, c
2
3
)
o 8 (c
3
3
, c
3
3
)
r ... ... ...
t ... ... ... (c
l

, c
l

)
t (c


, c


) (c

l
, c

l
)
t 1 (c
l
l
, c
l
l
)
... ...
Table 9.1: Demographic structure of OLG model
We assume that period utility function n is strictly increasing, strictly concave,
and twice continuously dierentiable. We also assume Inada condition holds,
i.e., HHs want to consume positive amount of consumption in both periods.
This completes the description of the economy.
We have following denition.
Denition 46 An allocation in this pure exchange OLG economy is a se
quence c


, c

l
o
=l
' c
0
l
.
Denition 47 An allocation is feasible if c
l

, c


_ 0 for all t _ 1 and
c
l

c


= c
l

c


, \t _ 1.
Denition 48 An allocation is Pareto Optimal (PO) if it is feasible and if
there is no other feasible allocation c


, c

l
o
=l
' c
0
l
such that
l

( c


, c

l
) _ l

(c


, c

l
), \t _ 1
n( c
0
l
) _ n(c
0
l
)
with strict inequality for at least one t _ 0.
Let j

be the price of one unit of the consumption good at period t. In the
presence of money (i.e., : ,= 0) we will take money to be the numeraire.
9.1.2 Denition of Competitive Equilibrium
Now we can dene a CE for this economy.
Denition 49 Given money :, an ADE for this economy is an allocation
c


, c

l
o
=l
' c
0
l
and prices j

o
=l
such that
136 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
(i). Given prices j

o
=l
, for each t _ 1, c


, c

l
o
=l
solves cohort ts
problem
max
]c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
]
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
j

c


j
l
c

l
_ j

c


j
l
c

l
c


, c

l
_ 0
(ii). Given j
l
, c
0
l
solves the initial olds problem
max
c
0
1
n(c
0
l
)
:.t.
j
l
c
0
l
_ j
l
c
0
l
:
c
0
l
_ 0.
(iii). Market clears for every t _ 1.
c
l

c


= c
l

c


, \t _ 1.
As in the innite horizon model case, we can also dene CE in sequential
market setting for OLG economy. We assume that contracts between agents
specifying oneperiod loans are enforceable. We dine :


be the loans of the
cohort t from period t to period t 1. And we let r
l
denote the gross interest
rate for loans granted at period t and maturing at t 1.
We dene a SME as follows.
Denition 50 Given money :, an SME for this economy is an allocation
c


, c

l
, :


o
=l
' c
0
l
and interest rates r

o
=l
such that
(i). Given prices r

o
=l
, for each t _ 1, c


, c

l
, :


o
=l
solves cohort ts
problem
max
]c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
,s
t
t
]
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
c


:


_ c


(9.1)
c

l
_ c

l
(1 r
l
):


(9.2)
c


, c

l
_ 0.
(ii). Given r
l
, c
0
l
solves the initial olds problem
max
c
0
1
n(c
0
l
)
:.t.
c
0
l
_ c
0
l
(1 r
l
): (9.3)
c
0
l
_ 0.
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 137
(iii). Market clears for every t _ 1.
c
l

c


= c
l

c


, \t _ 1. (9.4)
Remark 51 Unlike IHG model, here we do not need to impose noPonzigame
restriction. In IHG model, HHs could keep on building up debt forever (because
they never die), unless they are prohibited to do so. But now in OLG setting, the
nonnegativity constraint of consumption actually imposes an implicit restriction
on borrowing :


_
t
t
t+1
l:t+1
. That is, they have to repay their loans before the
death.
Remark 52 Due to the setup of the model, HHs are assumed to only live up
to two periods. Because of this, there is no intergenerational borrowing and
lending in the model.
9.1.3 Characterization of the Equilibrium Solutions
Equivalence between ADE and SME
Lets solve the ADE rst. FOCs to the cohort ts peoblem are
c


: n
t
(c


) = `j

c

l
: ,n
t
(c

l
) = `j
l
Combining these two FOCs, we have
j
l
j

=
,n
t
(c

l
)
n
t
(c


)
.
Next, lets solve SME. FOCs to the cohort ts problem are
c


: n
t
(c


) = `

c

l
: ,n
t
(c

l
) = `
l
:


: `
l
(1 r
l
) = `

Combining these three FOCs, we have
1
1 r
l
=
,n
t
(c

l
)
n
t
(c


)
.
If we dene the AD price sequence j

o
=l
in ADE in following way
j
l
=
1
1 r
l
(9.5)
j
l
= (
1
1 r
l
)j

(9.6)
Then ADE and SME end up with the identical EE.
138 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Next we want to show that given this price sequence, the BC in SME and
ADE are identical.
From equation (9.2), we know
:


=
1
1 r
l
(c

l
c

l
) (9.7)
Substituting this expression into equation (9.1), we have
c


1
1 r
l
c

l
_ c


1
1 r
l
c

l
Multiply j

on both sides, and using (9.6), we have
j

c


j
l
c

l
_ j

c


j
l
c

l
This is exactly is the BC in ADE for cohort t _ 1.
For initial old, multiply j
l
on both sides of the BC for initial old (9.3), we
obtain
j
l
c
0
l
_ j
l
c
0
l
j
l
(1 r
l
):
Now recall (9.5), j
l
(1 r
l
) = 1, we end up with the same BC for initial old in
ADE.
Since ADE and SME share the identical preferences, budget constraints, and
rstorder conditions, it is straightforward to show that the solutions to ADE
and SME are identical. The equivalence between ADE and SME also holds true
in the OLG setting.
Remark 53 The equivalence of the two equilibrium denitions requires that the
amount of loans that can be drawn is unrestricted (that is, that agents face no
borrowing constraints). The reason is that we can switch from BC in SME to BC
in ADE is we do not restrict the sign of :


in equation (9.7). Suppose instead
we impose a borrowing constraint
:


_ /
where / is some number such that /
t
t
t+1
l:t+1
1
. In this case, equation (9.7)
becomes
:


= max
1
1 r
l
(c

l
c

l
), /
We cannot have identical BCs any more.
1
b cannot be smaller than
e
t
t+1
1+r
t+1
because if this is the case, it violates the nonnegativity
constraint for the consumption. Similarly, we cannot have b =
e
t
t+1
1+r
t+1
because if it is the
case, we end up with c
t
t+1
= 0. But Inada condition excludes thsi possibility.
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 139
We want to further characterize the allocation for savings in SME. The BC
for cohort t at time t is
c


:


= c


.
And the BC for cohort t 1 at time t is
c
l

= c
l

(1 r

):
l
l
.
Combining these two BCs
c


c
l

:


= c


c
l

(1 r

):
l
l
Using resource constraint (9.4), we obtain
:


= (1 r

):
l
l
This is the market clearing condition for loans.
For the initial old, we have :
0
0
= :. Thus we obtain :
l
l
= (1r
l
):. Staring
from this initial savings, after repeated substitution, we will obtain
:


=

r=l
(1 r
r
): (9.8)
the amount of saving (in terms of the period t consumption good) has to equal
the value of the outside supply of assets

r=l
(1 r
r
):. Strictly speaking one
should also include market clearing condition (9.8) in the denition of SME.
However, by Walras law, either the asset market or the good market clearing
condition is redundant.
Notice that by the equivalence between SME and ADE, we have
j

j
l
= 1 r
l
Thus

r=l
(1 r
r
) =
j
0
j
l
j
l
j
2
...
j
l
j

If we normailze j
0
= 1, we have

r=l
(1 r
r
) =
1
j

Hence we obtain
:


=

r=l
(1 r
r
): =
:
j

or
j

:


= :.
The present value of savings (in terms of time 1 consumption) should be equal
to the outside supply of assets :.
140 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
An Example Equilibrium
Lets consider the following OLG economy. For ecvery cohort t, the preference
is represented by utility function (we ignore discount factor , for simplicity):
log c


log c

l
.
The endowment is given by
c


= .
c

l
= .
o
for all t. Cohort t now sloves the problem
max
c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
log c


log c

l
:.t.
c


1
1 r
l
c

l
_ c


1
1 r
l
c

l
We can substitute for c

l
to transform the cohorts problem into an uncon
strained one
max
c
t
t
log c


log[(c


1
1 r
l
c

l
c


)(1 r
l
)[
FOC is
1
c


=
1 r
l
(1 r
l
)c


c

l
(1 r
l
)c


This implies
c


=
1
2
(.
1
1 r
l
.
o
) (9.9)
c

l
=
1
2
((1 r
l
).
.
o
). (9.10)
The initial olds problem is
max log c
0
l
:.t.
c
0
l
_ .
o
Obviously the solution for the initial old is c
0
l
= .
o
. Recall the resource con
straint of period 1 is
c
0
l
c
l
l
= .
.
o
Thsi implies c
l
l
= .
, c

l
= .
0
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 141
Given this allocation, we go back to solution equation (9.9) and (9.10) to nd
out the price r
l
that supports the allocation as a solution in CE. We obtain
r
l
=
.
0
.
1.
Equivalently in ADE, the AD price will be
j

=
1

r=l
(1 r
r
)
= (
.
.
0
)

.
This constant price sequence supports the equilibrium where HHs do not trade:
they just consume their initial endowments. We call this equilibrium autarky.
9.1.4 Analysis of the Model Using Oer Curves
The Oer Curves
But actually the example economy above may have other equilibria. To con
struct and analyze all equilibria, we summarize preferences and consumption
decisions in terms of an oer curve. We will use a graphical apparatus proposed
by David Gale (1973). As in the example above, in thsi section, we consider the
stationary economy with c


= .
, c

l
= .
o
.
What is an oer curve? We have following denition.
Denition 54 The HHs oer curve (OC) is the locus of (c


, c

l
) \t _ 1 that
solves the cohort ts problem
max
]c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
]
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
c


j
l
j

c

l
_ c


j
l
j

c

l
Evidently, the OC solves the following pair of equations
c


j
l
j

c

l
= c


j
l
j

c

l
(BC)
j
l
j

=
,n
t
(c

l
)
n
t
(c


)
(FOC)
for
t+1
t
0. We denote the OC by
c(c


, c

l
) = 0
Apparently, OC solves allocation (c


, c

l
) as a function of relative AD price
ratio
t+1
t
(it is also the reciprocal of the oneperiod gross rate of return from
period t to t 1). Therefore, if we draw a graph with c


on the raxis and
142 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Figure 9.1: The oer curve and feasibility line
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 143
c

l
on the jaxis and vary
t+1
t
, we will have a resutling locus for c


and c

l
,
that is the OC. Every point on OC corresponds to a tangent point between the
indierence curve and the BC line.
Following Gale (1973), we can use the oer curve and a straight line depicting
feasibility (resource constraint) in the (c


, c

l
) plane to construct a machine
for computing equilibrium allocations and prices. In particular, we can use
the following pair of dierence equations to solve for an equilibrium allocation
\t _ 1
c(c


, c

l
) = 0
c
l

c


= c
l

c


See Figure 9.1 for the graph. Note that the slope of the feasibility line is
1. By the denition of CE, the intersection between the OC and feasibility
line is an equilibrium. Also note that the endowment point (c


, c

l
) is on the
feasibility line (it is feasible) and the OC (as we showed above, autarky is an
equilibrium). For any point other than endowment point, draw a straight line
through both points, the slope of that line equals
t
t+1
, and this line is the BC
given this price ratio
t+1
t
.
Computing Equilibria using Oer Curves
A procedure for nding an equilibrium is illustrated in Figure 9.2, which repro
duces a version of a graph of David Gale (1973). Lets start with a proposed
initial old consumption c
0
l
.
2
Then go horizontally to the feasibility line to nd
the maximal feasible value for c
l
l
on raxis, the time 1 allocation to the cohort
born at time 1. The candidate time 1 allocation is thus feasible, but the time
1 young will choose c
l
2
only if the price
2
1
is such that (c
l
l
, c
l
2
) lies on the oer
curve. Therefore, we choose c
l
2
from the point on the oer curve that cuts a
vertical line through c
l
l
. Then we proceed to nd c
2
2
from the intersection of a
horizontal line through c
l
2
and the feasibility line. We continue recursively in
this way, choosing c


as the intersection of the feasibility line with a horizon
tal line through c
l

, then choosing c

l
as the intersection of a vertical line
through c


and the oer curve. In this way, the entire equilibrium consumption
allocation path can be constructed. We can also construct a sequence of price
t+1
t
from the slope of a straight line through the endowment point and the se
quence of (c


, c

l
) pairs that lie on the oer curve. Thus using this procedure,
we construct an entire equilibrium graphically.
If the OC has the shape drawn in Figure 9.2, any initial old consumption c
0
l
between the upper and lower intersections of the OC and the feasibility line is
an equilibrium setting of c
0
l
. Each such c
0
l
is associated with a distinct allocation
(c


, c

l
) and a price sequence, all but one (the one on the upper intersection of
OC and feasibility line) of them converging to the autarky equilibrium allocation
and interest rate. Thus this endowment economy has a continuum of equilibria.
2
Readers may notice that the initial old consumption we chose is more than the endowment
for initial old c
0
1
= .o. this is because initial old is endowed with some at money
m
p
1
0.
144 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Figure 9.2: Computing an equilibrium using Oer Curve
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 145
Remark 55 For the economy without money (: = 0), the autarkic equilibrium
is the unique equilibrium for this economy. This is easily seen. Since the initial
old generation has no money, only its endowments .
o
, there is no way for them
to consume more than their endowments. Obviously they can always assure to
consume at least their endowments by not trading, and that is what they do for
any j
l
0 (obviously j
l
_ 0 is not possible in equilibrium). But then from
the resource constraint it follows that the rst young generation must consume
their endowments when young. Since they havent saved anything, the best they
can do when old is to consume their endowment again. But then the next young
generation is forced to consume their endowments and so forth. Trade breaks
down completely. For this allocation to be an equilibrium prices must be such
that at these prices all generations actually nd it optimal not to trade, which
yields the price sequence
t+1
t
=
ou
0
(.c)
u
0
(.)
.
Remark 56 In general, the price ratio supporting the autarkic equilibrium sat
ises
j
l
j

=
,n
t
(c

l
)
n
t
(c


)
=
,n
t
(.
o
)
n
t
(.
)
.
It is also the slope of the OC at the endowment point. Accordingly, the autarkic
interest rate (recall the equivalence result we derived above) is determined by
1
1 r
.IT
=
,n
t
(.
o
)
n
t
(.
)
.
We cal this equation Condition of Eciency. When , = 1, this condition
reduces to
1
1 r
.IT
=
n
t
(.
o
)
n
t
(.
)
.
Gale (1973) has invented the following terminology: If .
o
_ .
,
l
l:
.!J
<
1 (recall the utility function is strictly concave), hence r
.IT
_ 0, he calls it
Classical Case; otherwise if .
o
< .
,
l
l:
.!J
1 = r
.IT
< 0, he calls it
Samuelson Case. As it will turn out and will be demonstrated below autarkic
equilibria are not Pareto optimal in the Samuelson case while they are in the
classical case.
9.1.5 Pareto Optimality in OLG Model
The preceding example can also serve to demonstrate our rst major feature of
OLG economies that sets it apart from the standard innite horizon model with
nite number of agents: competitive equilibria may be not be Pareto optimal. In
the discuss below, we restrict our attention on the OLG model without money,
i.e., : = 0.
Denition 57 An equilibrium is stationary if c


= c
, c

l
= c
o
, and
t+1
t
=constant.
Obviously, the autarky equilibrium is a stationary equilibrium. But if au
tarky equilibrium is PO?
146 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Theorem 58 Autarky Equilibrium (c


= .
, c

l
= .
o
) is ecient (PO) i
r
.IT
_ 0.
Proof. To establish suciency part (if r
.IT
_ 0, the autarky equilibrium is
PO), we prove by contradiction. Suppose there exists another feasible allocation
C = ( c


, c

l
) that Pareto dominates the autarky equilibrium and r
.IT
_ 0.
Since it is feasible, it has to satisfy the resource constraint
c


c
l

= .
.
o
.
Let t be the rst period when this alternative allocation
C diers from the
autarkic allocation. The requirement that the old generation in this period t is
not made worse o, c
l

_ .
o
, implies c


< .
. Lets dene

l
= .
c
l
l
0 (9.11)
Nonnegativity constraint on consumption also implies 
l
_ .
.
Now given c
l
l
, we compute the smallest number c
l
2
such that
n( c
l
l
) n(c
l
2
) = n(.
) n(.
o
).
Let c
l
2
be the solution to this problem. Since
C Pareto dominates the autarky
equilibrium, we have
c
l
2
_ c
l
2
.
Now we want to derive a convenient expression for c
l
2
. Consider the
indierence curve of preferences over (c
, c
o
) that yields a xed utility level
n(.
) n(.
o
) as in autrakic equilibrium
n(c
) n(c
o
) = n(.
) n(.
o
)
This indierence curve denes consumption when old as a function of consump
tion when young. c
o
= /(c
) where /
t
= '1o
,o
=
u
0
(c)
u
0
(cc)
. Dene 0 =
u
0
(c)
u
0
(cc)
.
Notice that /
tt
0. Therefore, applying Taylors Theorem to /, we have
c
o
= /(c
)
= /(.
) (.
)[/
t
(.
)
1
2
/
tt
(.
)(.
)[
Dene
)(.
) =
1
2
/
tt
(.
)(.
)
Notice that )() is strictly increasing and )(0) = 0. Thus we have
/(c
) = /(.
) (.
)[/
t
(.
) )(.
)[. (9.12)
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 147
Now allocation ( c
l
l
, c
l
2
) and (c
l
l
= .
, c
l
2
= .
o
) are on the same
indierence curve /, we may use (9.11) and (9.12) to write
c
l
2
= /( c
l
l
)
= /(.
) (.
c
l
l
)[/
t
(.
) )(.
c
l
l
)[
= /(.
) 
l
[/
t
(.
) )(
l
)[
Notice that .
o
= /(.
) and 0
.IT
= /
t
(.
), thus we have
c
l
2
= .
o

l
[0
.IT
)(
l
)[.
Since c
l
2
_ c
l
2
, we have
c
l
2
.
o
_ 
l
[0
.IT
)(
l
)[ (9.13)
Since
C is also feasible, ( c
l
2
, c
2
2
) satises the feasibility constraint
c
l
2
c
2
2
= .
.
o
.
Thus we have

2
= .
c
2
2
= c
l
2
.
o
_ 
l
[0
.IT
)(
l
)[
Since 0
.IT
=
u
0
(.)
u
0
(.c)
= 1 r
.IT
_ 1 and )(
l
) 0 (implied by 
l
0 and
) is strictly increasing). We have

2
_ 
l
[0
.IT
)(
l
)[ 
l
Continuing these computations of successive values of 

yields


_ 
l
l
=l
(0
.IT
)(

)) 
l
[0
.IT
)(
l
)[
l
, \/ 2,
where the strict inequality comes from the fact that 


=l
is a strictly
increasing sequence and ) is strictly increasing. Since 0
.IT
)(
l
) 1,
the conclusion is that the  sequence is bounded below by a strictly increasing
exponential and hence is unbounded. This is a contradiction because we already
know that  cannot exceed the endowment .
, c

l
= .
o
, \t _ 1
where  is an arbitrarily small positive number. First of all, we can check this
alternative allocation is feasible since
c


c

l
= .
.
o
148 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Second, we can show that it makes every cohort t _ 1 strictly better o.
[n( c


) n( c

l
)[ [n(.
) n(.
o
)[
= [n(.
) n(.
)[ [n(.
o
) n(.
o
)[
= n
t
(.
) n
t
(.
o
)
= [n
t
(.
o
) n
t
(.
)[
Notice that
l
l:
.!J
=
u
0
(.c)
u
0
(.)
. If r
.IT
< 0, n
t
(.
o
) n
t
(.
), which implies
n( c


) n( c

l
) n(.
) n(.
o
), \t _ 1
We can also make c
0
l
= c
0
l
= .
o
, thus the initial old has the same utility as before.
This alternative allocation then Pareto dominates the autarky equilibrium.
Why this condition r
.IT
_ 0 is important for Pareto optimality? What is
the intuition behind this theorem? Note that in the autarky equilibrium
j
l
j

=
1
1 r
.IT
=
n
t
(.
o
)
n
t
(.
)
If r
.IT
< 0, we have
t+1
t
1, \t _ 1. Thus the price sequence is strictly
increasing and unbounded eventually, therefore we have
o
=l
j

= , this
implies the value of the aggregate endowment is innite. Therefore, the standard
proof of FWT fails (if alternative allocation is better than the current one in
terms of utility, then it will violate the resource constraint: value of aggregate
consumption _ value of aggregate endowment. If the resource is not constrained
at all, then how can we say it violates RC?), CE may not be PO.
We have following theorem which is equivalent to the theorem above.
Theorem 59 (Balasko and Shell) A stationary autarkic equilibrium in an OLG
endowment economy is PO i
o
=l
1
j

=
o
=l

r=l
(1 r
r
) = .
9.1.6 Monetary Equilibrium in OLG Model
Now we want to demonstrate the second and third feature of OLG models that
set it apart from standard ArrowDebreu economies, namely the possibility of
a continuum of equilibria and the fact that outside money may have positive
value. We will see that, given the way we have dened our equilibria, these
two issues are intimately linked. So now let us suppose that : ,= 0. In our
discussion we will assume that : 0, the situation for : < 0 is symmetric.
Although we have done it before, but lets repeat the denition of monetary
equilibrium here with some modication.
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 149
Denition 60 Given money :, an ADE for this economy is an allocation
c


, c

l
o
=l
' c
0
l
and prices j

,

o
=l
such that
(i). Given prices j

o
=l
, for each t _ 1, c


, c

l
o
=l
solves cohort ts
problem
max
]c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
]
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
j

c


j
l
c

l
_ j

c


j
l
c

l
c


, c

l
_ 0
(ii). Given j
l
and
l
,, c
0
l
solves the initial olds problem
max
c
0
1
n(c
0
l
)
:.t.
j
l
c
0
l
_ j
l
c
0
l
l
:
c
0
l
_ 0.
(iii). Markets clear for every t _ 1.
c
l

c


= c
l

c


(goods market)

: = j

(c


c


). (money market)
We can also dene a SME as follows. Lets denote j
n
be the value of a unit
of money at time t in terms of consumption good ate time t. Also let j

=
l
rt
be the price level at time t, i.e., the price of one unit of consumption good in
terms of money. Notice that the dierence between time t price level and AD
date0 price j

(a little notation abuse:)).
Denition 61 Given money :, an SME for this economy is an allocation
c


, c

l
, :


o
=l
' c
0
l
and price j

o
=l
such that
(i). Given prices j

o
=l
, for each t _ 1, c


, c

l
, :


o
=l
solves cohort ts
problem
max
]c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
,n
t
t
]
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
c


:


j

_ c


(9.14)
c

l
_ c

l
:


j
l
(9.15)
c


, c

l
, :


_ 0.
150 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
(ii). Given j
l
, c
0
l
solves the initial olds problem
max
c
0
1
n(c
0
l
)
:.t.
c
0
l
_ c
0
l
:
j
l
(9.16)
c
0
l
_ 0.
(iii). Market clears for every t _ 1.
c
l

c


= c
l

c


, \t _ 1.
Combining BCs (9.14) and (9.15), we have for every t _ 1
c


c

l
j

,j
l
= c


c

l
j

,j
l
We still assume
c


= .
, c

l
= .
o
.
Thus we have consolidated BC
c


c

l
j

,j
l
= .
.
o
j

,j
l
.
Furthermore, lets assume log utility and , = 1, hence the cohort ts preference
is
log c


log c

l
Given this preference, subject to the consolidated BC above, it is easy to show
the solution to SME is
c


=
1
2
_
.
.
o
j
l
j

_
,
c

l
=
1
2
_
.
.
o
j
l
j

_
j

j
l
.
Therefore the real demand for money of the young at time t is
:


j

= .
c


=
1
2
.
1
2
.
o
j
l
j

Imposing money market clearing condition (money supply is xed)
:


= :, \t _ 1
We can recover the law of motion for prices in this economy:
j
l
= j

.
.
o
2:
.
o
. (9.17)
Consider following three cases:
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 151
Figure 9.3: Price sequence in the monetary equilibrium
1.
.
.c
1;
2.
.
.c
= 1;
3.
.
.c
< 1.
We can domonstrate these three cases for the rstorder dierence equation
(9.17) in the graph below. (We show case 1 and 3, the case 2 in the graph should
be a straight line goes through intercept
2n
.c
and parallel to the 45 degree dash
line.)
From this graph, we learn:
1. The only case consistent with positive and nite values of j

is the rst one,
when .
.
o
. In this case, there exists a solution j

= j =
2n/.c
.
.c
l
0, \t.
Money can have real value.
152 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
2. Money can overcome suboptimality. Recall that in the previous section,
.
.
o
is called Samuelson case. Without money in this case, the CE
is not PO. By introducing money, we achieve the PO. (We have stationary
equilibrium allocation c
= c
o
=
..c
2
,
t+1
t
= 1, hence '1o = 1. By
BalaskoShell criterion, the resulting allocation is PO.)
3. There is no equilibrium with j
l
< j, which means that one unit of money
at t = 1 has value at most
l
. It is easy to show that if j
l
< j, then c
0
l
..c
2
which contradicts to the equilibrium allocation. (If c
0
l
..c
2
,
then according to feasibility constraint, c
= c
l
l
<
..c
2
, to make cohort 1
not worse o, we have to let c
o
= c
l
2
..c
2
, then the whole equilibrium
path messes up.)
4. If j
l
j, there exists an equilibrium which the price sequence follows
j
l
= j

.
.
o
2:
.
o
with j
l
given. Equation above can be rewritten as
j

=
2:
.
.
o
.
j
l
If we do repeated substitution forwardly, we obtain
j

=
2:,.
o
.
.c
1
c(
.
.
o
)

= j c(
.
.
o
)

where scalar c _ 0 is the terminal value of the price. c = 0 is the solution
for the stationary equilibrium j

= j. j
l
j implies c 0. In this
equilibrium, since .
.
o
, when t , j

=j
n
0. This is an
equilibrium with hyperination. Money loses value and goes to zero in the
limit. Therfore, for any j
l
( j, ), we can construct an equilibrium.
This idea was already shown in the previous section by using oer curve
technique.
5. j
n
= 0 (j

= ) is also an equilibrium. Money has zero value. The
economy goes back to the one without money, and we all know that the
only equilibrium there is autarky equilibrium.
These ve points summarize the esstiential two dierences between OLG
and innite horizon model.
Money may have positive value in OLG. But this is not true in IHG.
Proposition 62 In pure exchange economies with a nite number of innitely
lived agents there cannot be an equilibrium in which outside money is valued.
9.1. A PURE EXCHANGE OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL 153
Proof. Suppose, to the contrary, that there is an equilibrium allocation ( c
I

)
I1
o
=l
and j

o
=l
for initial endowments of outside money (:
I
)
I1
such that
I
:
I
,=
0 and money as numeraire (hence j
nl
= 1). Given the assumption of strict
concavity of utility function, each consumer in equilibrium satises the AD BC
with equality
o
=l
j

c
I

=
o
=l
j

c
I

:
I
<
Summing over all individuals i 1 yields
o
=l
j

I1
( c
I

c
I

) =
I1
:
I
(9.18)
But resource constraint requires for every period t
I1
c
I

=
I1
c
I

Substituting into (9.18), we have
I1
:
I
= 0
Contradiction. This shows that there cannot exist an equilibrium in this type of
economy in which outside money is valued in equilibrium. Note that this result
applies to a much wider class of standard ArrowDebreu economies than just
the pure exchange economies considered in this section.
While in OLG, when .
.
o
, the initial old had endowment .
o
but con
sumed more than his endowment. He can do that because stock of outside
money : he held is valued in equilibrium in that the old guys can exchange
: pieces of intrinsically worthless paper for
n
1
0 units of period 1 consump
tion goods. The currently young generation accepts to transfer some of their
endowment to the old people for pieces of paper because they expect (correctly
so, in equilibrium) to exchange these pieces of paper against consumption goods
when they are getting old, and hence to achieve an intertemporal allocation of
consumption goods that dominates the autarkic allocation. Without the out
side asset, again, this economy can do nothing else but remain in the possibly
dismal state of autarky. The fact that money has value may be also seen as a
rational bubble
3
: what people are willing to pay for money today depends
on what they expect others will pay for it tomorrow. The role of money here
is to mitigate the suboptimality present in the economy. It is the suboptimality
that gives money positive value.
3
In this equilibrium money is a bubble. The fundamental value of an asset is the value
of its dividends, evaluated at the equilibrium ArrowDebreu prices. An asset is (or has) a
bubble if its price does not equal its fundamental value. Obviously, since money doesnt pay
dividends, its fundamental value is zero and the fact that it is valued positively in equilibrium
makes it a bubble.
154 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
A deeper reason for this positively valued money in OLG is now we have
double innity in OLG, while in IHG only time is innite, the agents are nite
though. As we explain above, the rational bubble of money is supported by
the expectation that the next cohort will always accept my money because the
cohort after next cohort will do the same thing. This chain will continue forever
because we have innite agents here. But for IHG model, agents are nite, if
this chain goes like the way in OLG, eventually there will be a last person who
does not have another successor to accept his money. Therefore, he would not
to accept the old guys money when he is young. Go backward, no one will
accept money from the previous cohort. Thus money have zero value.
OLG can have a continuum of equilibria, while IHG only has nite number
of equilibrium.
As we show above, there is an entire continuum of equilibria in OLG with
positive valued money, indexed by j
l
( j, ). These equilibria are arbitrarily
close to each other, but they dier in the sense that at any nite time t, the
consumption allocations and price ratios (and levels) dier across equilibria. As
we showed in OC graph, eventually all nonstationary equilibria so constructed
in the limit converge to the stationary autarkic equilibrium where j

= .
This is again in stark contrast to standard ArrowDebreu economies where,
generically, the set of equilibria is nite and all equilibria are locally unique.
Notice that when we are in the Samuelson case, i.e., .
.
o
, all these
equilibria are Paretoranked. One can show, by similar arguments that demon
strated that the autarkic equilibrium is not Pareto optimal, that these equilibria
are Paretoranked: let j
l
, j
l
( j, ), then the equilibrium corresponding to
j
l
Paretodominates the equilibrium indexed by j
l
. By the same token, the only
Pareto optimal equilibrium allocation in this case is the nonautarkic stationary
monetary equilibrium j

= j.
9.2 Government Policys in Overlapping Gener
ations Model
We already know that from the previous section that autarky equilibrium is not
PO. A natural question is can we has some welfareimproving government policy
in this case? The answer is yes. The payasyougo (PAYG) social security
system is the one.
9.2.1 PayAsYouGo Social Security
Lets consider a simple pure exchange OLG model without money (: = 0) but
with population growth. We assume population grows at constant rate :, so
that for each old person in a given period there are (1:) young people around.
Equilibrium conditions are the same, except resource feasibility changes
c
l

(1 :)c


= c
l

(1 :)c


9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL155
Hence, in our oer curve diagram, the slope of the resource line is not 1
anymore, but (1 :).
Without any government intervention, we already know that the unique
equilibrium is the autarkic equilibrium. Now lets introduce the government.
What the government does in this economy is to introduce a PAYG social se
curity system. Lets still assume stationary endowment c


= .
, c

l
= .
o
, \t.
But now at each period the government imposes a social security tax t (0, .
)
on the young and give social security benets / to the old. We assume that the
social security system balances its budget in each period, so that benets are
given by
/ = t(1 :)
Therefore, we can dene a SME for this economy as following
Denition 63 An SME for this economy is an allocation c


, c

l
, :


o
=l
'c
0
l
,
a government policy t

, /

o
=l
, and interest rates r

o
=l
such that
(i). Given prices r

o
=l
, for each t _ 1, c


, c

l
, :


o
=l
solves cohort ts
problem
max
]c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
,s
t
t
]
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
c


:


_ c


t

c

l
_ c

l
/

(1 r
l
):


c


, c

l
_ 0.
(ii). Given r
l
, c
0
l
solves the initial olds problem
max
c
0
1
n(c
0
l
)
:.t.
c
0
l
_ c
0
l
/
l
c
0
l
_ 0.
(iii). Government budget constraint is balanced for every period
/

= t

(1 :)
(iii). Market clears for every t _ 1.
c
l

(1 :)c


= c
l

(1 :)c


, \t _ 1.
Again, we consider the stationary equilibrium with c


= c
, c

l
= c
o
, r

=
r, /

= /, t

= t. Obviously the new unique competitive equilibrium is again
autarkic with endowments ( c


= .
t, c

l
= .
o
t(1 :)) and equilibrium
interest rates
1 r
l
= 1 r =
n
t
(.
t)
,n
t
(.
o
t(1 :))
.
156 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Now lets show that under what condition this new qutarkic equilibrium with
PAYG is Paretoimproving to the original autarkic equilibrium (c


= .
, c

l
=
.
o
).
Obviously for the initial old, c
0
l
= .
o
t(1 :) .
o
= c
0
l
, the initial old
is strictly better o. For all other generations, dene the equilibrium lifetime
utility, as a function of the social security system, as
\ (t) = n(.
t) ,n(.
o
t(1 :))
The introduction of a small social security system is welfare improving if and
only if \
t
(t), evaluated at t = 0, is positive. But we have
\
t
(t) = n
t
(.
t) ,n
t
(.
o
t(1 :))(1 :)
Evaluating at t = 0, we have
\
t
(0) = n
t
(.
) ,n
t
(.
o
)(1 :)
Hence \
t
(0) 0 i
:
n
t
(.
)
,n
t
(.
o
)
1 = r
.IT
where r
.IT
is the autarkic interest rate. Hence the introduction of a (marginal)
PAYG social security system is welfare improving if and only if the population
growth rate exceeds the equilibrium (autarkic) interest rate, or, to use our pre
vious terminology, if we are in the Samuelson case where autarky is not a Pareto
optimal allocation. Note that social security has the same function as money in
our economy: it is a social institution that transfers resources between genera
tions (backward in time) that do not trade among each other in equilibrium. In
enhancing intergenerational exchange not provided by the market it may gener
ate allocations that are Pareto superior to the autarkic allocation, in the case in
which individuals private marginal rate of substitution 1r
.IT
(at the autarkic
allocation) falls short of the social intertemporal rate of transformation 1 :.
9.2.2 The Ricardian Equivalence Hypothesis
Question: Whether the timing of taxes matters?
Answer: Under some assumptions it does, and under others it does not.
The Ricardian doctrine describes assumptions under which the timing of
lump taxes does not matter. In this subsection, we will study how the timing
of taxes interacts with restrictions on the ability of households to borrow. We
study the issue in two equivalent settings: (1) an innite horizon economy with
an innitely lived representative agent; and (2) an innite horizon economy with
a sequence of niteperiodlived agents, each of whom cares about its immediate
descendant.
9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL157
Innite Lifetime Horizon and Borrowing Constraints
The Ricardian Equivalence hypothesis is, in fact, a theorem that holds in a
fairly wide class of models. It is most easily demonstrated within the Arrow
Debreu market structure of innite horizon models. Consider the simple innite
horizon pure exchange model with identical HHs. The index of HH is i
1 = 1, 2, ..., . The preference of HH i is
o
=0
,

n(c
I

)
Now introduce a government that has to nance a given exogenous stream of
government expenditures (in real terms) denoted by G

o
=0
. These government
expenditures do not yield any utility to the agents (this assumption is not at all
restrictive for the results to come). Let j

denote the ArrowDebreu price at date
0 of one unit of the consumption good delivered at period t. The government
has initial outstanding real debt of 1
l
that is held by the public. Let /
I
l
denote
the initial endowment of government bonds of agent i. Obviously we have the
restriction
I1
/
I
l
= 1
l
In order to nance the government expenditures the government levies lump
sum taxes: let t
I

denote the taxes that agent i pays in period t, denoted in terms
of the period t consumption good. We dene an ArrowDebreu equilibrium with
government as follows.
Denition 64 Given a sequence of government spending G

o
=0
and initial
government debt 1
l
and initial individual bond holding (/
I
l
)
I1
, an ADE is
an allocation (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
, a price system j

o
=0
, and a sequence of taxes
(t
I

)
I1
o
=0
such that
(i). Given the price and the sequence of taxes, (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
solves HH is
problem
max
](c
1
t
)
121
]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

n(c
I

)
:.t.
o
=0
j

(c
I

t
I

) _
o
=0
j

c
I

j
l
/
I
l
. (9.19)
(ii). Given the price, government tax policy (t
I

)
I1
o
=0
satises
o
=0
j

G

j
l
1
l
=
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

(9.20)
(iii). Market clears \t _ 0.
I=l
c
I

G

=
I=l
c
I

. (9.21)
158 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Remark 65 Muitiply AD price j

on both sides of the resource constraint
equation (9.21), use government BC () to substitute out
o
=0
j

G

and use
I1
/
I
l
= 1
l
to substitute out j
l
1
l
, we will end up with HHs BC (9.19).
In an ArrowDebreu denition of equilibrium the government, as the agent,
faces a single intertemporal budget (9.20) constraint which states that the total
value of tax receipts is sucient to nance the value of all government purchases
plus the initial government debt. From the denition it is clear that, with respect
to government tax policies, the only thing that matters is the total value of taxes
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

that the individual has to pay, but not the timing of taxes. It
is then straightforward to prove the Ricardian Equivalence theorem for this
economy.
Theorem 66 (Ricardo Equivalence) Take as given a sequence of government
spending G

o
=0
and initial government debt 1
l
and initial endowment of gov
ernment bond (/
I
l
)
I1
, Suppose that allocation (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
, prices j

o
=0
, and
a sequence of taxes (t
I

)
I1
o
=0
consist an ADE. Let ( t
I

)
I1
o
=0
be an arbi
trary alternative tax system satisfying
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

=
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

. (9.22)
Then allocation (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
, prices j

o
=0
, and a sequence of taxes ( t
I

)
I1
o
=0
also consist an ADE.
Proof. Summing HH is BC over i, we have
o
=0
I=l
j

(c
I

t
I

) _
o
=0
I=l
j

c
I

j
l
I=l
/
I
l
Substituting the government BC (9.20) into the aggregate BC above, we have
o
=0
I=l
j

c
I

o
=0
j

G

j
l
1
l
_
o
=0
I=l
j

c
I

j
l
1
l
=
o
=0
I=l
j

c
I

o
=0
j

G

_
o
=0
I=l
j

c
I

As long as (9.22) holds, the dierence between ( t
I

)
I1
o
=0
and (t
I

)
I1
o
=0
does not change this aggregate BC. Notice that all individuals are indentical,
therefore we have c
I

= c

, c
I

= c

, the aggreagte BC becomes
o
=0
j

c

o
=0
j

G

_
o
=0
j

c

9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL159
This disaggregated BC does not change either for dierent tax sequence. Thus
the allocation is unchanged.
A shortcoming of the ArrowDebreu equilibrium denition and the preced
ing theorem is that it does not make explicit the substitution between current
taxes and government decits that may occur for two equivalent tax systems
( t
I

)
I1
o
=0
and (t
I

)
I1
o
=0
. Therefore we will now reformulate this economy
sequentially. This will also allow us to see that one of the main assumptions of
the theorem, the absence of borrowing constraints is crucial for the validity of
the theorem.
As usual with sequential markets we now assume that markets for the con
sumption good and oneperiod loans open every period. Let r
l
denote the
interest rate on one period loans from period t to period t 1. Given the tax
system and initial bond holdings each agent i now faces a sequence of budget
constraints of the form
c
I

/
I
l
1 r
l
t
I

_ c
I

/
I

with /
I
l
given. In order to rule out Ponzi schemes we have to impose a no Ponzi
scheme condition of the form (borrowing constraint)
/
I
l
_ c
I

(r, G, t)
which shows that in general borrowing limit may depend on the sequence of
interest rates as well as the endowment stream of the individual and the tax
system. We will be more specic about the exact from of the constraint later.
In fact, we will see that the exact specication of the borrowing constraint is
crucial for the validity of Ricardian equivalence.
The government faces a similar sequence of budget constraints of the form
(nonarbitrage condition guarantee that the government bond has the same
interest rate as private bond)
G

1

_
I1
t
I

1
l
1 r
l
with 1
l
given. 1
l
is the bond that government issue at time t, while gov
ernment has to pay back the bond issued one year ago 1

. We also impose
a condition on the government that rules out government policies that run a
Ponzi scheme
1

_

(r, G, t)
Now we can dene a SME in this economy
Denition 67 Given a sequence of government spending G

o
=0
and initial
government debt 1
l
and initial individual bond holding (/
I
l
)
I1
, an ADE is an
allocation (c
I

, /
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
, an interest rate r

o
=0
, and a sequence of govern
ment policies (t
I

)
I1
, 1
l
o
=0
such that
160 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
(i). Given the interest rate and the sequence of policies, (c
I

, /
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
solves HH is problem
max
](c
1
t
)
121
]
1
t=0
o
=0
,

n(c
I

)
:.t.
c
I

/
I
l
1 r
l
t
I

_ c
I

/
I

, \t (9.23)
/
I
l
_ c
I

(r, G, t) (9.24)
c
I

_ 0,
(ii). Given the price, government policies satisfy \t _ 0
G

1

_
I1
t
I

1
l
1 r
l
(9.25)
1

_

(r, G, t) (9.26)
(iii). Market clears \t _ 0.
I1
c
I

G

=
I1
c
I

I1
/
I
l
= 1
l
.
We will particularly look at two forms of borrowing constraints. The rst is
the so called natural borrowing or debt limit following Aiyagari (1994): it is that
amount that, at given sequence of interest rates, the consumer can maximally
repay, by setting consumption to zero in each period since now. It is given by
/
I
l
_
o
s=0
c
I
s
t
I
s
s
=l
(1 r
l
)
where

=l
(1 r
l
) = 1. Similarly we set the borrowing limit of the govern
ment at its natural limit:
1

_
o
s=0
I1
t
I
s
s
=l
(1 r
l
)
.
Another form of borrowing constraint is a commonly used one
/
I
l
_ 0
9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL161
i.e., the HHs cannot borrow at all (but they can lend out). Actually notice that
since there is positive supply of government bonds, such restriction does not
rule out saving of individuals in equilibrium in the form of holding government
bonds.
We can now state a Ricardo Equivalence theorem under the natural bor
rowing constraint. Lets rst prove the following proposition that shows the
equivalence between ADE and SME under government policies and natural debt
limits.
Proposition 68 Given a sequence of government spending G

o
=0
and ini
tial government debt 1
l
and initial individual bond holding (/
I
l
)
I1
, Suppose an
allocation (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
, an interest rate j

o
=0
, and a sequence of government
policies (t
I

)
I1
o
=0
form an ADE. Then there exists a corresponding SME with
the natural debt limits
_
( c
I

,
/
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
, r

o
=0
, ( t
I

)
I1
,
1
l
o
=0
_
such that
c
I

= c
I

t
I

= t
I

, \i, \t.
Reversely, let
_
( c
I

,
/
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
, r

o
=0
, ( t
I

)
I1
,
1
l
o
=0
_
form a SME with
natural debe limits. If we have
r
l
1, \t
o
=0
c
I

t
I


=l
(1 r
l
)
< , \i, \t
o
s=0
I1
t
I
s
s
=l
(1 r
l
)
< , \t
Then there exists a corresponding ADE with an allocation (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
, an in
terest rate j

o
=0
, and a sequence of government policies (t
I

)
I1
o
=0
such
that
c
I

= c
I

t
I

= t
I

, \i, \t.
Proof. The key to the proof is to show the equivalence of the budget sets for
the ArrowDebreu and the sequential markets structure. Normailize j
l
= 1 and
link the interest rate r

o
=l
and AD price j

o
=0
as following
1 r
l
=
j

j
l
(9.27)
162 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
From BC in SME equation (9.23), recursively substituting out bond holding
/
I
l
, then using equation above to substituting interest rate, we end up with
o
=0
j

(c
I

t
I

c
I

) lim
To
j
Tl
/
I
Tl
= /
I
l
This will be equivalent to the BC in ADE (9.19) if
lim
To
j
Tl
/
I
Tl
_ 0
But from the natural debt constraint
j
Tl
/
I
Tl
_ j
Tl
o
s=0
c
I
Ts
t
I
Ts
Ts
=Tl
(1 r
l
)
=
o
s=Tl
j
s
(c
I
s
t
I
s
)
=
o
s=0
j
s
(c
I
s
t
I
s
)
T
s=0
j
s
(c
I
s
t
I
s
)
Taking limit on both sides when T , we have
lim
To
j
Tl
/
I
Tl
_
o
s=0
j
s
(c
I
s
t
I
s
) lim
To
T
s=0
j
s
(c
I
s
t
I
s
)
= 0
Notice that the condition of this proposition guarantee
o
s=0
j
s
(c
I
s
t
I
s
) < ,
therefore the limit is welldened.
So at equilibrium prices, with natural debt limits and the restrictions posed
in the proposition a consumption allocation satises the ArrowDebreu budget
constraint (at equilibrium prices) if and only if it satises the sequence of budget
constraints in sequential markets. A similar argument can be carried out for
the budget constraint(s) of the government. Since the utility function is same in
both equilibrium, the allocation has to be same since they are identical problems.
Notice that given an ADE consumption allocation, the corresponding bond
holdings for the sequential markets formulation are
/
I
l
=
o
s=0
c
I
s
c
I
s
t
I
s
s
=
(1 r
l
)
.
Now we can prove the Ricardian Equivalence under the natural debt limit.
9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL163
Proposition 69 Suppose that the natural debt limit prevails. Take as given a
sequence of government spending G

o
=0
and initial government debt 1
l
and
initial endowment of government bond (/
I
l
)
I1
, Suppose that allocation (c
I

, /
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
,
interest rate r

o
=0
, and a sequence of government policies (t
I

)
I1
, 1
l
o
=0
consist an SME. Let ( t
I

)
I1
o
=0
be an arbitrary alternative tax system satisfy
ing
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

=
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

.
Then (c
I

,
/
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
, r

o
=0
, ( t
I

)
I1
,
1
l
o
=0
also consist an SME where
/
I
l
=
o
s=0
c
I
s
c
I
s
t
I
s
s
=l
(1 r
l
)
(9.28)
1

=
o
s=0
(
I1
t
I
s
G
s
)
s
=l
(1 r
l
)
. (9.29)
Proof. We only sketch the proof. According to the proposition above, under
natural debt limit, HHs in SME face a single intertemporal BC as same as in
ADE. This alternative tax scheme does not change this ArrowDebreu BC. The
optimal consumption plan only depends on this AD budget constraint, hence it
is also unchanged. Next, the adjusted borrowing plan
/
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
is obtained
by solving BC in SME (9.23)forwardly given new tax scheme. Note that the
adjusted borrowing plan satises trivially the (adjusted) natural debt limit in
every period, since the consumption plan (c
I

)
I1
o
=0
is a nonnegative sequence.
The second point of the proposition is that the altered government tax and
borrowing plans continue to satisfy the governments budget constraint. In
particular, we see that the governments budget set at time 0 does not depend
on the timing of taxes, only their present value. Thus, under the altered tax
plan with an unchanged present value of taxes, the government can nance the
same expenditure plan G

o
=0
. The adjusted borrowing plan for government
1
l
o
=0
is computed in a similar way as above to arrive at (9.29).
It is not surprised that we still obtain Ricardian Equivalence under natural
debt limit since natural debt limit is equivalent to the nonnegativity constraint
of consumption. The Ricardian equivalence theorem rests on several important
assumptions. The rst is that there are perfect capital markets. If consumers
face binding borrowing constraints (e.g. nonborrowing constraint /
I
l
_ 0),
or if, with uncertainty, not a full set of contingent claims is available, then
Ricardian equivalence may fail. Secondly one has to require that all taxes are
lumpsum. Nonlump sum taxes may distort relative prices (e.g. labor income
taxes distort the relative price of leisure) and hence a change in the timing of
taxes may have real eects. Here in this chapter, all the taxes are imposed on
the endowment, hence are lumpsum. Finally a change from one to another
164 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
tax system is assumed to not redistribute wealth among agents. This was a
maintained assumption of the theorem, which required that the total tax bill
that each agent faces was left unchanged by a change in the tax system. In a
world with nitely lived overlapping generations this would mean that a change
in the tax system is not supposed to redistribute the tax burden among dierent
generations, which is automatically satised in twoperiod OLG setting.
Now lets move to a stronger restriction on debt limit, which we call no
borrowing constraint
/
I
l
_ 0, \i, \t.
Following example shows that with noborrowing constraint, Ricardian equiva
lence may fail.
Example 70 Consider an innite horizon economy with 2 agents, n(c) = lnc,
, = 0., /
I
l
= 1
l
= 0, G

= 0, \t, and the endowment follows
c
l

_
2 if t odd
1 if t even
c
2

_
1 if t odd
2 if t even
First lets consider a tax scheme
t
l

_
0. if t odd
0. if t even
t
2

_
0. if t odd
0. if t even
Thus HH is problem is
max
o
=l
,

lnc
I

:.t.
c
I

/
I
l
1 r
l
t
I

_ c
I

/
I

, \t
c
I

, /
I
l
_ 0
Note that this tax scheme is selfbalanced.
2
I=l
t
I

= 0. Obviously with no
borrowing constraint, the unique equilibrium is autarky with c
I

= 1., \i, \t.
FOCs of HH is problem are (`

_ 0 is the multiplier associated with BC at time
t, j
l
_ 0 is the multiplier associated with noborrowing constraint /
I
l
_ 0)
c
I

: ,

1
c
I

= `

/
I
l
:
`

1 r
l
= `
l
j
l
9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL165
Combining these FOCs, we have
c
I
l
,c
I

=
`

`
l
= 1 r
l
(1 r
l
)j
l
`
l
Hence we have
c
I
l
,c
I

_ 1 r
l
a:d
c
I
l
,c
I

= 1 r
l
, if /
I
l
0
We know in equilibrium,
c
1
t+1
oc
1
t
= 2, which implies the equilibrium interest rate
r
l
_ 1 and r
l
= 1 if /
I
l
0. For concreteness lets take r
l
= 1 for all
t.18 Then the present value of total bill of taxes for the rst consumer is
o
=l
t
l

(1 r
l
)
l
=
1
2
1
4
1
8
1
16
1
82
....
=
1
2
(1
1
4
(
1
4
)
2
...)
1
4
(1
1
4
(
1
4
)
2
...)
=
1
8
.
The present value of total tax bill for consumer 2 is
l
3
. Now lets consider
an alternative tax system that has t
l
l
=
l
3
, t
2
l
=
l
3
and t
I

= 0, \i, \t _ 2.
Obviously the new tax system has the same present value of total tax bill as
in the original one. Hence it satises the government budget constraint and
does not redistribute among agents. However, equilibrium allocations change
to c
l
l
=
5
3
, c
2
l
=
d
3
and c
I

= c
I

, \i, \t _ 2. Furthermore, equilibrium interest
rate change to r
2
=
3
2.5
and r

= 0, \t _ 8. Ricardian equivalence fails in this
economy.
Under the noborrowing constraint, we require that the asset holding at time
t /
I
l
satises budget constraint and not fall below zero simultaneously. That
is, under the noborrowing constraint, we have to check more than just a single
intertemporal budget constraint for the HH at time 0. Changes in the timing
of taxes that obey equation (9.22) evidently alter RHS of sequential BC (9.23)
and can, for example, cause a previously binding borrowing constraint no longer
to be binding, and vice versa. The allocation has to be changed accordingly.
But if we can have an additional condition to guarantee that under the new tax
system, the bond holding still satises noborrowing constraint, we can have
Ricardian equivalence again. See the following proposition.
Proposition 71 Suppose that noborrowing constraint prevails. Take as given
a sequence of government spending G

o
=0
and initial government debt 1
l
and
166 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
initial endowment of government bond (/
I
l
)
I1
, Suppose that allocation (c
I

, /
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
,
interest rate r

o
=0
, and a sequence of government policies (t
I

)
I1
, 1
l
o
=0
consist an SME. Let ( t
I

)
I1
o
=0
be an arbitrary alternative tax system satisfy
ing
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

=
o
=0
I=l
j

t
I

a:d
/
I
l
=
o
s=0
c
I
s
c
I
s
t
I
s
s
=l
(1 r
l
)
_ 0 (9.30)
Then (c
I

,
/
I
l
)
I1
o
=0
, r

o
=0
, ( t
I

)
I1
,
1
l
o
=0
also consist an SME.
We leave the proof of this proposition as an exercise.
Finite Horizon and Operative Bequest Motives
How about Ricardian equivalence in OLG setting? It should be clear from the
above discussion that one only obtains a very limited Ricardian equivalence the
orem for OLG economies. Any change in the timing of taxes that redistributes
among generations is in general not neutral in the Ricardian sense. If we insist
on representative agents within one generation and purely selsh, twoperiod
lived individuals, then in fact any change in the timing of taxes cant be neutral
unless it is targeted towards a particular generation, i.e. the tax change is such
that it decreases taxes for the currently young only and increases them for the
old next period. Hence, with sucient generality we can say that Ricardian
equivalence does not hold for OLG economies with purely selsh individuals.
Rather than to demonstrate this obvious point with another example we
now briey review Barros (1974) argument that under certain conditions 
nitely lived agents will behave as if they had innite lifetime. As a consequence,
Ricardian equivalence is reestablished. Barros (1974) classic article Are Gov
ernment Bonds Net Wealth? asks exactly the Ricardian question, namely does
an increase in government debt, nanced by future taxes to pay the interest on
the debt increase the net wealth of the private sector? Barro identied two main
sources for why future taxes are not exactly osetting current tax cuts (increas
ing government decits): a) nite lives of agents that lead to intergenerational
redistribution caused by a change in the timing of taxes b) imperfect private
capital markets. Barros paper focuses on the rst source of nonneutrality.
Barros key result is the following: in OLG models niteness of lives does not
invalidate Ricardian equivalence as long as current generations are connected
to future generations by a chain of operational intergenerational, altruistically
motivated transfers. These may be transfers from old to young via bequests or
from young to old via social security programs. Let us look at his formal model.
9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL167
Setup of Barros Model
1. It is the standard pure exchange OLG model with twoperiod lived agents.
2. No population growth.
3. Cohort t has endowment process (c


= n, c

l
= 0).
4. There is a government that, for simplicity, has 0 government expenditures
but initial outstanding government debt 1. This debt is denominated in
terms of the period 1 consumption good.
5. The initial old generation is endowed with the B units of bonds.
6. Government bonds are zero coupon bonds with maturity of one period
which means one unit of government bond pays o one unit of consumption
good tomorrow.
7. Government keeps its outstanding government debt constant and we as
sume a constant oneperiod real interest rate r on these bonds.
8. In order to nance the interest payments on government debt the govern
ment taxes the currently young people.
The governments BC at time t is
1
l
. .
expenditure
= t
1

1 r
. .
revenue: tax + bond issued
Notice that
l
l:
is the bond price. Since 1

= 1, \t, we have
1 = t
1
1 r
which implies
t =
r1
1 r
And we assume
:1
l:
_ n.
Now the cohort t has preferences
l

(c


, c

l
, a

l
) = n(c


) ,n(c

l
) c\
l
(c
l
)
subject to two BCs
c


a


1 r
= n t
c

l
a

l
1 r
= a


a
l

a

l
_ 0 (bequest motive)
168 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
where a


denotes the savings of cohort t at time t (when they are young),
a

l
denotes the savings of cohort t at time t 1 (when they are old), we
require a

l
_ 0 to let it stand for bequest motive. In our previous OLG
models obviously a

l
= 0 was the only optimal choice since individuals were
completely selsh, they do not care about their children. Notice that when old
the individuals have two sources of funds: their own savings from the previous
period and the bequests from the previous generation.
We can consolidate these twoperiod BCs into a lifetime BC
c


c

l
1 r
a

l
(1 r)
2
= n
a
l

1 r
t = c

where c

is the present value of toal lifetime income for the cohort t. Therefore,
c
l
= n
ot+1
l:
t and it is surely a function of cohort ts bequest a

l
.
\
l
(c
l
) is the maximal utility cohort t 1 can attain with lifetime resources
c
l
. To be consistent with bequest motive, we assume 1 c 0.
The initial olds problem is
\
0
(1) = max
c
0
1
,o
0
1
0
,n(c
0
l
) c\
l
(c
l
)
:.t.
c
0
l
a
0
l
1 r
= 1
c
l
= n
a
0
l
1 r
t
Notice that these two constraints can be combined into one as follows
c
0
l
c
l
= n 1 t. (9.31)
The solution to this problem is a decision rule c
0
l
(n, 1, t) and a
0
l
(n, 1, t). Now
assume the bequest motive is operative, i.e., a
0
l
(n, 1, t) 0. Lets answer
Barros question by considering following experiment: increase initial govern
ment debt marginally by ^1 (i.e., the initial old BC changes to c
0
l
o
0
1
l:
=
1 ^1) and repay this additional debt by levying higher taxes on the rst
young generationcohort 1.
Clearly, in the OLG model without bequest motives such a change in s
cal policy is not neutral: it increases resources available to the initial old and
reduces resources available to the rst regular generation. This will change
consumption of both generations and interest rate. But now in Barros econ
omy with altruistic preference, In order to repay the ^1, from the government
budget constraint taxes for the young have to increase by
^t = ^1
since by assumption government debt from the second period onwards remains
unchanged (1^1 = t ^t
1
l:
for time t = 1, 1 = t
1
l:
, \t _ 2). Then
from the BC of initial old (9.31), we clearly know that the optimal allocation for
9.2. GOVERNMENT POLICYS INOVERLAPPINGGENERATIONS MODEL169
c
0
l
and c
l
are unchanged since the RHS of the BC is unchanged. What happen
is the initial old generation receives additional transfers of bonds of magnitude
^1 from the government, but since they care about their descendants, and they
know that the government will immediately levy higher taxes t ^t on their
children in order to repay higher government debt, the initial old cohort thus
increases its bequests a
0
l
by (1 r)^1 so that lifetime resources available to
their children (and hence their allocation) is left unchanged. In other words,
altruistically motivated bequest motives just undo the change in scal policy.
Ricardian equivalence is restored.
c
l
= n
a
0
l
(1 r)^1
1 r
(t ^t)
= n
a
0
l
1 r
t (^1 ^t)
= n
a
0
l
1 r
t
Ricardian equivalence also holds in general with operational altruistic be
quests. In doing so we will establish the linkage between Barros OLG econ
omy and an economy with innitely lived consumers and borrowing constraints.
Again consider the problem of the
initial old generation, we can write it in a FE way, the value function for the
initial old is \
0
(1)
\
0
(1) = max
c
0
1
,o
0
1
0
c
0
1
o
0
1
1+r
=1
,n(c
0
l
) c\
l
(c
l
)
= max
c
0
1
,o
0
1
0
c
0
1
o
0
1
1+r
=1
_
_
,n(c
0
l
) c max
c
1
1
,c
1
2
,o
1
2
0,o
1
1
c
1
1
o
1
1
1+r
=ur
c
1
2
o
1
2
1+r
=o
1
1
o
0
1
n(c
l
l
) ,n(c
l
2
) c\
2
(c
2
)
_
_
We can rewrite it as
\
0
(1) = max
c
0
1
,o
0
1
,c
1
1
,c
1
2
,o
1
2
0,o
1
1
,n(c
0
l
) cn(c
l
l
) c,n(c
l
2
) c
2
\
2
(a
l
2
)
:.t.
c
0
l
a
0
l
1 r
= 1
c
l
l
a
l
l
1 r
= n t
c
l
2
a
l
2
1 r
= a
l
l
a
0
l
170 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Repeating this procedure innitely many times, and let c = ,, we will end up
with
\
0
(1) = max
]c
t1
t
,c
t
t
,o
t1
t
]
1
t=1
,n(c
0
l
)
o
=l
,

(n(c


) ,n(c

l
))
:.t.
c
0
l
a
0
l
1 r
= 1
c


c

l
1 r
a

l
(1 r)
2
= n
a
l

1 r
t
Essentially, the problem is equivalent to that of an innitely lived consumer
that faces a noborrowing constraint. This innitely lived consumer is peculiar
in the sense that her periods are subdivided into two subperiods, she eats twice
a period, c


in the rst subperiod and c

l
in the second subperiod, and saves in
the second subperiod a

l
_ 0. The relative price of the consumption goods in
the two subperiods is given by (1r). Apart from these reinterpretations this is
a standard innitely lived consumer with noborrowing constraints imposed on
her. Consequently one obtains a Ricardian equivalence proposition similar to
Proposition 71, where the requirement of operative bequest motives a

l
_ 0
is the equivalent to condition (9.30). More generally, this argument shows that
an OLG economy with two periodlived agents and operative bequest motives
is formally equivalent to an innitely lived agent model.
9.3 Overlapping Generations Models with Pro
duction
We want more realistic OLG model with production due to two reasons:
1. We are curious that if the theoretical results we obtained under pure en
dowment economy still hold in production economy?
2. With more realistic setting with production, we can do policy analysis.
Since Auerbach and Kotliko (1987), macroeconoimists are able to set up
largescale OLG model with production to analyze a lot of economic policy
issues related to social security, taxation, and so on.
9.3.1 Basic Setup of the Model
Demographic Structure
The economy consists of identical agents who live up to two periods: young and
old. We use


to denote number of young people in period t.
l

denotes
number of old people in period t. We assume no death until the end of the
second period, hence we have


=

l
. We normalize the size of the initial
9.3. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODELS WITH PRODUCTION171
young generation to 1, i.e.,
0
0
=
0
l
= 1. We assume population grows at
constant rate :, thus we have


= (1 :)
l
l
.
which implies


= (1 :)

0
0
= (1 :)

.
Therefore, the total population in period t is
l



= (1 :)

(1 :)
l
.
Preferences
For each cohort t (generation was born in period t), the preference is given by
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
Again, we make standard assumptions about utility function n: n is strictly
increasing, strictly concave, twice continuously dierentiable and satises the
Inada conditions. All individuals are assumed to be purely selsh and have no
bequest motives whatsoever. The initial old generation has preferences n(c
0
l
).
Each individual of generation t _ 1 has as endowments one unit of time for
working when young and no endowment when old. Each member of the initial
old generation is endowed with initial capital stock (1 :)
/
l
0.
Production
There is a representative rm that accesses to a CRS technology with production
function
1

= 1(1

, 1

).
Given this assumption, prots are zero in equilibrium and we do not have to
specify ownership of rms. Since the production function is CRS, we can rewrite
it in an intensive form. Dene /

=
1t
Jt
, we have
j

=
1

1

= 1(
1

1

, 1) = )(/

)
We also assume that ) is twice continuously dierentiable, strictly concave and
satises the Inada conditions.
Timing
The timing of events for a given generation t is as follows:
1. At the beginning of period t production takes place with labor of gen
eration t and capital saved by the current old generation t 1 from the
previous period. The young generation earns a wage n

.
172 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
2. At the end of period t the young generation decides how much of the
wage income to consume, c


, and how much to save for tomorrow, :


. The
saving occurs in form of physical capital, which is the only asset in this
economy.
3. At the beginning of period t 1 production takes place with labor of
generation t 1 and the saved capital of the now old generation t. The
return on savings equals r
l
1 c, where again 1 r
l
is the rental
rate of capital and c is the rate of depreciation, so that r
l
1 c is the
real gross interest rate from period t to t 1.
4. At the end of period t 1 generation t consumes its savings plus interest
rate (1 r
l
c):


and then dies.
We can now dene a SME for this economy.
Denition 72 Given
/
l
, a SME is an allocation for the consumers (c


, c

l
, :


)
o
=l
'
c
0
l
, an allocation for the rm 1

, 1

o
=l
, and prices r

, n

o
=l
such that:
(i). \t _ 1, given prices (n

, r
l
), (c


, c

l
, :


) solves cohort ts problem
max
c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
,s
t
t
n(c


) ,n(c

l
)
:.t.
c


:


_ n

1
c

l
_ (1 r
l
c):


c


, c

l
_ 0.
(ii). Given
/
l
and r
l
, c
0
l
solves the initial old generations problem
max
c
0
1
n(c
0
l
)
:.t.
c
0
l
_ (1 r
l
c)
/
l
c
0
l
_ 0.
(iii). \t _ 1, given prices (n

, r

), (1

, 1

) solves the rms problem
max
1t,Jt
1(1

, 1

) r

1

n

1

(iv). Markets clear.
Goods market:


c


l

c
l

1
l
(1 c)1

= 1(1

, 1

)
Labor market:
1

=


Capital market:
1
l
=


:


.
9.3. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODELS WITH PRODUCTION173
In many cases, we are particularly interested in a stationary equilibrium.
Denition 73 A steady state (or stationary equilibrium) is an equilibrium
with allocations (c


, c

l
, :


)
o
=l
'c
0
l
, 1

, 1

o
=l
, and prices r

, n

o
=l
such
that
c


= c
l
c

l
= c
2
:


= :
1

=
/


1

=


r

= r
n

= n
for initial capital stock
/
l
=
/.
In other words, a steady state is an equilibrium for which the allocation
(per capita) is constant over time, given that the initial condition for the initial
capital stock is exactly right.
9.3.2 Characterization of the Equilibrium
We can derive out an equation to say savings = investment (it is a direct result
from goods market clearing condition)
1
l
(1 c)1

= 1(1

, 1

) (


c


l

c
l

)
Dividing both sides by


and using labor market clearing condition, we obtain
1
l
l
l
l
l


(1 c)
1



= 1(
1



, 1) (c


l

l



c
l

)
=
/
l
(1 :) (1 c)/

= )(/

) c


c
l

1 :
=
)(/

) = c


c
l

1 :
(1 c)/

/
l
(1 :)(9.32)
The Firms FOCs
r

=
01

01

=
01

)(/

)
01

= 1

)
t
(/

)
1
1

= )
t
(/

)
n

=
01

01

=
01

)(/

)
01

= )(/

) )
t
(/

)/

.
The EE for cohort ts problem
n
t
(c


) = ,(1 r
l
c)n
t
(c

l
)
or
n
t
(n

:


) = ,(1 r
l
c)n
t
((1 r
l
c):


)
174 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
Notice that this EE implicitly dene a saving function
:


= :(n

, r
l
)
= :()(/

) )
t
(/

)/

, )
t
(/
l
))
Therefore, optimal savings are a function of this and next periods capital stock.
From the capital clearing condition, we also know
:


=
1
l


=
l
l


1
l
l
l
= (1 :)/
l
Therefore we have following rstorder dierence equation
/
l
=
:()(/

) )
t
(/

)/

, )
t
(/
l
))
1 :
Since we know the initial capitallabor ratio /
l
=
11
J1
=
11
1
1
=
(ln)
1
ln
=
/
l
,
So in principle we could put equation above on a computer and solve for the
entire sequence of /

o
=l
and hence for the entire equilibrium. Under some
appropriate conditions, we can show that there exists a steady state for this
rstorder dierence condition which satises
/ =
:()(
/) )
t
(
/)
/, )
t
(
/))
1 :
9.3.3 An Analytical Example
Consider an OLG economy with production. n(c) = lnc, 1 = 1
o
1
lo
and
no population growth : = 0.
The rms problem is
max
1t,Jt
1
o

1
lo

r

1

n

1

FOCs are
n

= (1 c)(
1

1

)
o
= (1 c)/
o

r

= c(
1

1

)
ol
= c/
ol

.
Cohort ts problem is
max
c
t
t
,c
t
t+1
,s
t
t
ln(c


) , ln(c

l
)
:.t.
c


:


_ n

c

l
_ (1 r
l
c):


c


, c

l
_ 0
9.3. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODELS WITH PRODUCTION175
The lifetime BC thus is
c


c

l
(1 r
l
c)
= n

EE for cohort t is
c

l
c


= ,(1 r
l
c)
Combining lifetime BC and EE, we have
c


=
1
1 ,
n

:


= n

c


=
,
1 ,
n

Since


= 1, \t, we have
/
l
= :


=
,
1 ,
n

=
,
1 ,
(1 c)/
o

This rstorder dierence equation has two steady states where /
l
= /

=
/,
one is
/ = 0. Another one (more meaningful one) is
/ = [
,
1 ,
(1 c)[
lo
0
9.3.4 Dynamic Eciency in the Model
We know in steady state, we have
)(
/) = c
l
c
2
1 :
(1 c)
/
/(1 :)
=
)(
/) (: c)
/ = c
l
c
2
1 :
= c
Here c is total (per capita) consumption in the steady state. Using implicit
function theorem, we obtain
d c
d
/
= )
t
(
/) (: c).
When we let
J c
J

= 0, we have
)
t
(
/) = : c (9.33)
This relation is called the golden rule of capital accumulation and characterizes
the ecient steady state capital stock which will maximize the steady state
consumption. To understand the golden rule is indeed ecient, think about if
)
t
(
/) < : c, (9.34)
176 CHAPTER 9. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODEL
The capital stock is ineciently high so that the marginal product of capital is
ineciently low; it is so high that its marginal productivity )
t
(
/) is outweighed
by the cost of replacing depreciated capital, c
/) (: c) 0, \: _ 1
In this way we can increase total per capita consumption in every period. Now
we can just divide the additional consumption between the two generations
alive in a given period in such a way that make both generations better o,
which is straightforward to do, given that we have extra consumption goods
to distribute in every period. Thus a Pareto superior allocation is found. The
original equilibrium is dynamically inecient.
In our analytical example above, now with positive population growth rate
: 0, it is straightforward to compute the unique steady state as
/ = [
,(1 c)
(1 ,)(1 :)
[
lo
0
so that
r = )
t
(
/) = c
/
ol
=
c(1 ,)(1 :)
,(1 c)
.
Therefore, the economy is dynamically inecient i
c(1 ,)(1 :)
,(1 c)
< : c.
Notice that in the OLG model with peoduction, the real interest rate is
r

c, therefore, the dynamic ineciency condition is equivalent to
real interest rate in ss = r

c < : = population growth rate
9.3. OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS MODELS WITH PRODUCTION177
That is exactly the Samuelson case with : = 0 in pure exchange economy.
Accordingly, we also have the following BalaskoShell optimality criteria in the
production economy.
Theorem 74 (CassBalaskoShell) A feasible allocation is Pareto optimal if
and only if
o
=l

s=l
(1 r
sl
c)
1 :
sl
= .
In steady state equilibrium, obviously this condition is reduced to r =
)
t
(
/) _ : c. Thus, if )
t
(
I=l
r
I
The standard deviation is dened by
:td(r) =
_
1
:
n
I=l
(r
I
r)
2
.
We thus dene a very important measurement of inequality, coecient of vari
ation (cv), as follows
c(r) =
:td(r)
r
.
10.1. STYLIZEDFACTS ABOUT THE INCOME ANDWEALTHDISTRIBUTION183
Variable Mean cv Gini
Top 1%
Bottom 40%
Location of mean
mean
median
Earnings $33074 4.19 0.63 211 65% 1.65
Income $45924 3.86 0.57 84 71% 1.72
Wealth $184308 6.09 0.78 875 80% 3.61
Table 10.1: Inequality of Earnings, Income, and Wealth in US: 1992
Note this is desirable than Standard Deviation, because it is independent of
the unit. Imagine we compare the inequality of income between Italy and US.
Even if the real inequality is the same, the Standard Deviation of income across
Italian people measures in Lira is much larger than the Standard Deviation of
income across US people measured in US dollar, because of the dierence of the
denomination. By dividing by mean, we can avoid such trouble.
A second commonly used measure is the Gini coecient and the associated
Lorenz curve. Here is how to construct Lorenz curve of income: First sort the
agents by their income. And arrange the agents on the horizontal axis [0, 1[.
The agent with lowest income comes on the point 0 and the one with highest
income comes on the point 1. The vertical axis [0, 1[ represents the proportion
of total income owned by agents. Specically, a point on the income Lorenz
curve (r, j) represents that fraction of agents in the interval [0, r[ owns fraction
j of total income of the economy. By denition, the Lorenz curve crosses the
point (0, 0) because no agent owns nothing. Similarly, the Lorenz curve crosses
the point (1, 1) because all agents in the economy own all of the income in
the economy. Note that the Lorenz curve never crosses the 45 degree line by
construction, unless everybody has the same amount (in this case Lorenz curve
is exactly the 45 degree line). If you are considering income, and there is nobody
with negative income in the economy, the Lorenz curve does not have a negative
slope in [0, 1[. Suppose you are considering the Lorenz curve of the net asset.
In this case the poorest agents have usually negative net assets, and the asset
Lorenz has a negative slope as long as the corresponding agents have negative
net asset. Accordingly, the Gini coecient is dened by
Gini =
Area enclosed by Lorenz curve and 45 degree line
Triangle made by connecting the points (0,0), (1,0), (1,1)
Gini coecient falls between zero and 1, with higher Gini coecients indicating
bigger concentration of earnings, income or wealth. As extremes, for complete
equality of income the Gini coecient is zero and for complete concentration
(the richest person has all earnings, income, wealth) the Gini coecient is 1.
Figure 10.1 and Table 10.1 and 10.2 summarize the main stylized facts with
respect to the concentration of earnings, income and wealth from the 1992 SCF.
From them, we observe the following stylized facts:
1. There is substantial variability in earnings, income and wealth across U.S.
households. The standard deviation of earnings, for example, is about
$140000. The top 1% of earners on average earn 21100% more than the
bottom 40%, the corresponding number for income is still 8400%.
184CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Figure 10.1: Lorenz Curve
Quintiles
Measure 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Earnings 0.40 3.19 12.49 23.33 61.39
Income 2.18 6.63 11.80 19.47 59.91
Wealth 0.39 1.74 5.72 13.43 79.49
Table 10.2: Share of Earnings, Income, and Wealth in dierent quintiles: 1992
SCF
10.1. STYLIZEDFACTS ABOUT THE INCOME ANDWEALTHDISTRIBUTION185
2. Wealth is by far the most concentrated of the three variables, followed
by earnings and income. That income is most equally distributed across
households makes sense as income includes payments from government
insurance programs. The distribution would be even less dispersed if we
would look at income after taxes, due to the progressivity of the tax code.
3. Since wealth is accumulated past income minus consumption, it also makes
intuitive sense that it is most most concentrated. For example, the top 1%
households of the wealth distribution hold about 29.55% of total wealth.
4. The distribution of all three variables is skewed. If the distributions were
symmetric, the median would equal the mean and the mean would be
located exactly at the 50percentile of the distribution. For all three vari
ables the mean is substantially higher than the median, which indicates
skewness to the right. In accordance with the last stylized fact, the distri
bution of wealth is most skewed, followed by the distribution of earnings
and the distribution of income.
Measurement of Mobility
Not only is there a lot of variability in earnings, income and wealth across
households, but also a lot of dynamics within the corresponding distribution.
Statistics that are useful in analyzing mobility are the followings:
Autocorrelation j(r
s
, r

) and j(r
s
, r

), : = 1, 2, ..., T.
Transition matrix. Since SCF is not a panel data, i.e., it does not track
people over time. Therefore, we use PSID here. We use data on net worth
from the PSID for the years 1984 and 1989 (reported in the 1984 and 1989
PSIDs) and combine them with data on earnings and income for the same
HHs for these two years (reported in 1985 and 1990 PSIDs). We then
use these data to construct the transition matrices for the 1984 earnings,
income, and wealth quintiles as reported in Table 10.3.
For example, the entry in the rst row and the rst column of Table 10.3
shows that 85.8% of the HHs in the lowest earnings quintile in 1984 stayed in
the lowest earnings quintile in 1989. To avoid the role of retirees in shaping
the mobility of households with zero earnings, Table 10.4 reports the transition
matrices in earnings for HHs with positive earnings in both positive sample
periods. To partially control for the role played by age in shaping the properties
of the mobility of earnings, Table 10.4 also reports the transition matrices of
earnings for those HHs with heads between the socalled prime ages 3545 in
1984.
Based on these two tables, We nd the following stylized facts:
1. There is substantial persistence of labor earnings, in particular at the
lowest and highest quintile. For the lowest quintile this may be due to
retirees and longterm unemployed. Stratifying the sample as in Table
186CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
1984 1989 Quintile
Measure Quintile 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Earnings 1st 85.8 11.6 1.4 0.6 0.5
2nd 18.6 40.9 30.0 7.1 3.4
3rd 7.1 12.0 47.0 26.2 7.6
4th 7.5 6.8 17.5 46.5 21.7
5th 5.8 4.1 5.5 18.3 66.3
Income 1st 71.0 17.9 7.0 2.9 1.3
2nd 19.5 43.8 22.9 10.1 3.7
3rd 5.1 25.5 37.2 24.9 7.3
4th 2.5 10.7 23.4 42.5 20.8
5th 1.9 2.1 9.5 20.3 66.3
Wealth 1st 66.7 23.4 6.6 2.9 0.4
2nd 25.4 46.6 20.4 5.4 2.3
3rd 5.8 24.4 44.9 20.5 4.6
4th 1.8 4.6 22.4 49.6 21.6
5th 0.7 0.8 5.7 21.6 71.2
Table 10.3: Three Measures of the Economic Mobility of US Households
Type of 1984 1989 Quintile
Household Quintile 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
With Posotive 1st 58.8 25.1 9.0 5.1 2.0
Earnings in both 2nd 20.2 45.6 21.6 8.6 4.0
1984 and 1989 3rd 9.7 20.2 40.4 21.9 7.8
4th 7.7 6.1 20.0 45.9 20.4
5th 3.6 2.9 9.0 18.4 66.1
With Heads 1st 63.3 27.2 4.0 3.3 2.3
3545 years old 2nd 23.6 44.3 22.3 7.3 2.4
in 1984 3rd 4.7 16.7 47.0 25.1 6.6
4th 6.9 8.1 20.2 44.6 20.1
5th 1.1 4.0 6.4 19.1 69.3
Table 10.4: A Closer Look at the Economic Mobility of US Households
10.1. STYLIZEDFACTS ABOUT THE INCOME ANDWEALTHDISTRIBUTION187
10.4 indicates that this may be part of the explanation that 85.8% of all
the households that were in the lowest earnings quintile in 1984 are still in
the lowest earnings quintile in 1989. But even looking at Table 10.4 there
seems to be substantial persistence of earnings at the low and high end,
with persistence being even more accentuated for primeage HHs.
2. The persistence properties of income are similar to those of earnings, which
is understandable given the high correlation between income and earnings
(j(income, earnings) = 0.028).
3. Wealth seems to be more persistent than income and earnings.
The inequality facts we just summarized suggest that the following elements
are important ingredients for a reliable theory of inequality:
Transfers. Income transfers distort the labor/leisure decision, and they
allow households to survive without work. They are an important source
of income for earnings and wealthpoor households; hence, they should
play an important role in any attempt to account for the lower tails of the
distributions.
Businesses. Businesses in nancial distress account for the sizable amount
of negative income earned by many U.S. households. Moreover, business
income is an important source of income for the households in the upper
tails of the distributions. These facts suggest that both business successes
and business failures should be important elements for any theory of in
equality.
Retirees. Retirees hold a large share of total wealth. Moreover, their labor
earnings are zero. These facts spell trouble for any theory of inequality
that abstracts from elements of the life cycle.
Education. Households whose head has a college education have more
than twice the earnings, income, and wealth of those households whose
head has a high school education. Understanding the determinants of the
acquisition of education becomes a crucial part of understanding inequal
ity.
Marital Status. The better nancial performance of married households
over single households cannot be accounted for only by family size. A suc
cessful theory should account for how the patterns of household formation
and dissolution shape inequality.
Now its time to build a model that tries to explain the U.S. wealth dis
tribution, taking as given the earnings distribution, i.e., treating the earnings
distribution as an input in the model. Lets start from the classic savings prob
lem (or income uctuation problem).
188CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
10.2 The Classic Income Fluctuation Problem
This section describes a version of what is sometimes called a savings problem.
A consumer wants to maximize the expected discounted sum of a concave func
tion of oneperiod consumption rates. However, the consumer is cut o from
all insurance markets and almost all asset markets. The consumer can only
purchase nonnegative amount of a single riskfree asset. The absence of insur
ance opportunities induces the consumer to adjust his asset holdings to acquire
selfinsurance.
The savings problem is
max
]ct,ot+1]
1
0
o
=0
,

n(c

)
:.t.
c

a
l
_ j

(1 r)a

a
l
_ 0, c

_ 0
a
0
given
We assume n(c) is a strictly increasing, strictly concave, twice continuously dif
ferentiable function of the consumption of a single good c. Here the endowment
T time t j

takes a nite number of values indexed by : o. So this is an
endowment economy (without production). In particular, the set of possible
endowments is j
l
< j
2
< ... < j
S
. Elements of the sequence of endowments are
independently and identically distributed with Ii(j = j
s
) = H
s
, H
s
_ 0, and
sS
H
s
= 1. There are no insurance markets.
The agent can hold nonnegative amounts of a single riskfree asset that has
a net rate of return r. Let a

_ 0 be the agents assets at the beginning of
period t. We assume that a
0
= j
0
is drawn from the timeinvariant endowment
distribution.
The Bellman equation for this problem is
(a) = max
c
n(c)
S
s=l
,H
s
[(1 r)a j
s
c[
where j
s
is the income realization in state : o. The value function (a)
inherits the basic properties of n(c), that is, is increasing, strictly concave,
and dierentiable.
Selfinsurance occurs when the agent uses savings to insure himself against
income uctuations. On the one hand, in response to low income realizations,
an agent can draw down his savings and avoid temporary large drops in con
sumption. On the other hand, the agent can partly save high income realizations
in anticipation of poor outcomes in the future. We are interested in the lon
grun properties of an optimal selfinsurance scheme. Will the agents future
consumption settle down around some level c? Or will the agent eventually
become impoverished? We will show that neither of these outcomes occurs:
consumption will diverge to innity!
10.2. THE CLASSIC INCOME FLUCTUATION PROBLEM 189
Before analyzing it under uncertainty, well briey consider the savings prob
lem under a certain endowment sequence. With a nonrandom endowment that
does not grow perpetually, consumption does converge.
10.2.1 Deterministic Income
We break our analysis of the nonstochastic case into two parts, depending on
the stringency of the borrowing constraint. We begin with the least stringent
possible borrowing constraint, namely, the natural borrowing constraint on one
period Arrow securities, which are risk free in the current context. After that,
well arbitrarily tighten the borrowing constraint to arrive at the noborrowing
condition a
l
_ 0 imposed in the statement of the problem above.
Natural Debt Limit
Lets specify the borrowing constraint as
a
l
_ /

and the borrowing limit / is dened by
/

= sup
o
=l
j

(1 r)
<
It is the maximal amount that it is feasible to repay at time t when c

_ 0, \t.
The key of specifying the borrowing constraint in this form is that the borrowing
constraint will never be binding, i.e., we will never have a
l
= /

. (Think
about why? Hint: Inada condition.) Hence the optimal consumption allocation
is completely characterized by the Euler equations
n
t
(c

) = ,(1 r)n
t
(c
l
)
and AD BC is
o
=0
c

(1 r)
l
=
o
=0
j

(1 r)
l
a
0
.
Depending on the value of ,(1 r), we have following three cases:
1. If ,(1 r) 1, n
t
(c

) n
t
(c
l
), = c

< c
l
, \t. Consumption is
increasing over time. Since borrowing is limited at zero, assets must grow
to nance consumption, so also assets diverge. The individual is too
patient (, is too high) or/and the rate of return on savings is too high
(r is too high). Both forces push her to accumulate too much wealth.
2. If ,(1 r) < 1, n
t
(c

) < n
t
(c
l
), = c

c
l
, \t. Consumption is
decreasing over time and converges to a nite number.
190CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
3. If ,(1r) = 1, n
t
(c

) = n
t
(c
l
), =c

= c
l
, \t. Consumption is constant
over time. One can prove that the eect of the borrowing constraint lasts
until a given time and vanishes thereafter. Therefore, consumption and
assets converge to a nite value.
Notice that , measures the patience. Higher , means more patient.
l
l:
is
the relative price of consumption tomorrow compared to consumption today. If
the relative price is lower than the natural discount (
l
l:
< ,), people want to
consume more tomorrow (by saving more), therefore, we have c
l
c

. On
the other hand, in terms of saving, the desire to save is increasing in patience
, and the interest rate r . When 1 r is too large, HHs desire to accumulate
is too strong hence assets also diverge to innity. Therefore, in deterministic
case, all we need to prevent divergence is ,(1 r) _ 1.
NoBorrowing Constraint
Let us make the same assumptions as before, but now assume that the borrowing
constraint is tighter than the natural borrowing limit. For simplicity assume
that the consumer is prevented from borrowing completely, i.e., assume a
l
_
0. We also assume that the endowment sequence j

o
=0
is constant at j

= j.
Now in the optimization problem we have to take the borrowing constraints into
account explicitly. Forming the Lagrangian and denoting by `

the Lagrange
multiplier for the BC at time t and by j

the Lagrange multiplier for the non
negativity constraint for a
l
, we have the following FOCs:
c

: ,

n
t
(c

) = `

c
l
: ,
l
n
t
(c
l
) = `
l
a
l
: `

j

(1 r)`
l
= 0
The complementary slackness condition is
a
l
j

= 0, a
l
_ 0, j

_ 0
Or
a
l
0 =j

= 0
Combining FOCs, we have
n
t
(c

) _ ,(1 r)n
t
(c
l
)
= ,(1 r)n
t
(c
l
), if a
l
0
Notice that for this economy, a

and j only enter as sum in the dynamic
programming problem. Hence we can dene a variable r

= (1 r)a

j,
which we call cash at hand, i.e., the total resources of the agent available for
10.2. THE CLASSIC INCOME FLUCTUATION PROBLEM 191
consumption or saving at time t. Now we can rewrite the FE as
(r

) = max
ct,ot+10
n(c

) ,(r
l
)
:.t.
c

a
l
= r

r
l
= (1 r)a
l
j
or more concisely
(r

) = max
rtot+10
n(r

a
l
) ,((1 r)a
l
j)
EE for this FE is
n
t
(c

(r

)) _ ,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
l
j)
= ,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
l
j) if a
l
(r

) 0
The envelope condition is
t
(r

) = n
t
(c

(r

))
Therefore
t
(r
l
) = n
t
(c
l
(r
l
))
Substituting into EE, we have
n
t
(c

(r

)) _ ,(1 r)n
t
(c
l
(r
l
))
= ,(1 r)n
t
(c
l
(r
l
)), if a
l
(r

) 0.
We end up with the same EE as derived from SP. Our rst result about char
acterizing the equilibrium path is following:
Proposition 78 In this economy, rst, consumption is strictly increasing in
cash at hand, i.e., c
t

(r

) 0, \t. Second, there exists a r

such that a
l
(r

) = 0
for all r

_ r

and a
t
l
(r

) 0 for all r

r

. Finally, we have c
t

(r

) < 1
and a
t
l
(r

) < 1.
Proof. For the rst part, take rstorder derivative w.r.t. r

on the envelope
condition, we obtain
tt
(r

) = n
tt
(c

(r

))c
t

(r

)
=
c
t

(r

) =
tt
(r

)
n
tt
(c

(r

))
0
since both utility and value function are strictly concave.
Suppose the borrowing constraint is not binding, i.e., a
l
(r

) 0, then
from dierentiating the EE w.r.t. r

we get
n
tt
(c

(r

))c
t

(r

) = ,(1 r)
2
tt
((1 r)a
l
j)a
t
l
(r

)
192CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
=
a
t
l
(r

) =
n
tt
(c

(r

))c
t

(r

)
,(1 r)
2
tt
((1 r)a
l
j)
0
Now we want to show that a
l
(r

) = 0 for all r

_ r

(this implies a
l
( r

) =
0). Suppose not, for example, suppose that a
l
(r

) a
l
( r

) = 0, then by
EE, we know
n
t
(c

(r

)) = ,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
l
(r

) j)
n
t
(c

( r

)) _ ,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
l
( r

) j)
But since
t
is strictly decreasing ( is strictly concave), we have
,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
l
(r

) j) < ,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
l
( r

) j)
=
n
t
(c

( r

)) n
t
(c

(r

))
=
c

( r

) < c

(r

)
Since we already know that c
t

(r

) 0, we have
r

r

Contradiction! Same reasoning applies to exclude the case that a
l
(r

) <
a
l
( r

) = 0.
Finally to show c
t

(r

) < 1 and a
t
l
(r

) < 1, we dierentiate the BC at time
t w.r.t. r

c
t

(r

) a
t
l
(r

) = 1
Also notice that c
t

(r

), a
t
l
(r

) 0.
The proposition basically states that the more cash at hand an agent has,
coming into the period, the more he consumes and the higher his asset accumu
lation, provided that the borrowing constraint is not binding. It also states that
there is a cuto level for cash at hand below which the borrowing constraint is
always binding. Obviously when the borrowing constraint is binding, i.e., when
r

_ r

, we have a
l
(r

) = 0 which implies c

= r

, the agent consumes all his
income.
Lets especially consider the case when ,(1 r) < 1 hence consumption is
declining over time. We have following proposition.
Proposition 79 When ,(1 r) < 1, if a
t
(r) 0, then we have r
t
< r. We
also have a
t
(j) = 0
3
. And there exists a cuto level r j such that a
t
(r) = 0
for all r _ r.
3
Here a little bit notation abuse, o
0
(a) is not a rstorder derivative of o w.r.t. a, in stead,
it is the function of next period asset holding.
10.2. THE CLASSIC INCOME FLUCTUATION PROBLEM 193
Proof. When borrowing constraint is not binding, a
t
(r) 0, the EE is
t
(r) = ,(1 r)
t
(r
t
) <
t
(r
t
)
since is strictly concave, we have r
t
< r.
For the second part, suppose that a
t
(j) 0. Then from the EE and the
strict concavity of the value function, we have
t
(j) = ,(1 r)
t
((1 r)a
t
(j) j)
<
t
((1 r)a
t
(j) j)
<
t
(j)
Contradiction! Hence we have a
t
(j) = 0 and c(j) = j.
For the last part, we also prove by contradiction. Suppose a
t
(r) 0, \r
r j. Pick arbitrary such r and dene the sequence r

o
=0
recursively by
r
0
= r
r

= (1 r)a
t
(r
l
) j j
If there exists a smallest T such that r
T
= j then we found a contradiction, since
then a
t
(r
Tl
) = 0 and r
Tl
j. So suppose that r

j for all t, therefore we
have a
t
(r) 0, \t. Hence
t
(r
0
) = ,(1 r)
t
(r
l
)
= [,(1 r)[
2
t
(r
2
)
= ...
= [,(1 r)[

t
(r

)
< [,(1 r)[

t
(j)
= [,(1 r)[

n
t
(j)
where the inequality follows from the fact that r

j and the strict concavity
of . the last equality follows from the envelope theorem and the fact that
a
t
(j) = 0 and c(j) = j.
But since and n both are strictly increasing,
t
(r
0
) 0, n
t
(j) 0. By
assumption ,(1r) < 1, therefore, there must exist a nite t such that
t
(r
0
)
[,(1 r)[

n(j). A contradiction!
This last result bounds the optimal asset holdings (and hence cash at hand)
from above since the asset holding is decreasing given the borrowing constraint
is not binding (or is constant at j, in the case the borrowing constraint binds).
Since computational techniques usually rely on the niteness of the state space,
we want to make sure that for our theory the state space can be bounded from
above (see section 4.2.1). This theorem thus is a desirable result. The theorem
also implies that the agent eventually becomes creditconstrained: there exists a
nite time t such that the agent consumes his endowment in all periods following
t. We summarize it in the following proposition.
194CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Proposition 80 When ,(1 r) < 1, there exists a nite time t such that the
agent consumes his endowment in all periods following t.
Proof. We prove it be contradiction. Suppose we have a
t
(r) = 0 but a
t
(r
t
) 0,
here r
t
is the next period cash in hand. By denition
r
t
= (1 r)a
t
(r) j = j
But from the previous proposition, we know a
t
(r
t
) = a
t
(j) = 0. Contradiction!
In summary, for the innite horizon, if ,(1r) < 1, under deterministic and
constant income we have a full qualitative characterization of the allocation:
If a
0
= 0 then the consumer consumes his income forever from time 0. If
a
0
0, then cash at hand and hence consumption is declining over time, and
there exists a time t(a
0
) such that for all t t(a
0
) the consumer consumes his
income forever from thereon, and consequently does not save anything.
10.2.2 Stochastic Income and Borrowing Limits
Now lets consider the stochastic income case. We rst look at i.i.d. case.
Stochastic Income: i.i.d. case
We rst assume that endowments are independently and identically distributed
with Ii(j = j
s
) = H
s
, H
s
_ 0, and
sS
H
s
= 1. And we maintain the
assumption ,(1 r) < 1. Thus, the FE is
(r) = max
0o
0
r
n(r a
t
)
S
s=l
,H
s
((1 r)a
t
j
s
)
FOC is
n
t
(r a
t
) _ ,(1 r)
S
s=l
H
s
t
((1 r)a
t
(r) j
s
)
= ,(1 r)
S
s=l
H
s
t
((1 r)a
t
(r) j
s
), if a
t
(r) 0
Envelope condition is
t
(r) = n
t
(r a
t
(r)) = n
t
(c)
For simplicity, denote
1
t
(r
t
) =
S
s=l
H
s
t
((1 r)a
t
(r) j
s
).
The proof of the following proposition is identical to the deterministic case.
10.2. THE CLASSIC INCOME FLUCTUATION PROBLEM 195
Proposition 81 When ,(1r) < 1, consumption is strictly increasing in cash
at hand, i.e. c
t
(r) (0, 1[. Optimal asset holdings are either constant at the
borrowing limit or strictly increasing in cash at hand, i.e., a
t
(r) = 0 or
Jo(r)
Jr
(0, 1). Moreover, there exists r _ j
l
such that for all r _ r, we have c(r) = r
and a
t
(r) = 0.
The proposition states that there is a cuto level for cash at hand below
which the consumer consumes all cash at hand and above which he consumes less
than cash at hand and saves a
t
(r) 0 and the saving is also strictly increasing
in cash at hand.
What if ,(1 r) = 1? Previously in the deterministic case, we know that
we still get convergence results for consumption and assets. Goes back to the
EE
n
t
(r a
t
) _ ,(1 r)
S
s=l
H
s
((1 r)a
t
(r) j
s
)
= ,(1 r)
S
s=l
H
s
((1 r)a
t
(r) j
s
), if a
t
(r) 0
Since now ,(1 r) = 1, the EE reduces to
t
(r) _ 1
t
(r
t
)
= 1
t
(r
t
), if a
t
(r) 0
Since cash at hand r now is a random variable, so does
t
(r). Therefore, ac
cording to probability theory (see Richard Durrett (1996): Probability: Theory
and Examples page 231),
t
(r) is a nonnegative supermartingale, and it is a
martingale if the borrowing constraint is not binding. By the martingale con
vergence theorem (see Durrett page 235236), a nonnegative supermartingale
will converge almost surely to a nite limit.
But we can show that the limiting value of
t
(r) must be zero because of
the following argument: Suppose to the contrary that
t
(r) converges for some
realization to a strictly positive limit. That supposition implies that r converges
to a nite positive value. But this implication is immediately contradicted by
the nature of the optimal policy function, which makes c a function of r (hence
a), together with the budget constraint c a
t
(1 r)a _ j, the LHS of BC is
a deterministic nite number, but the RHS is random due to j. Therefore, the
limit of
t
(r) cannot be positive, it must converge to zero, implying that assets
diverge to innity since value function is strictly concave. Since r , so
does the consumption. Unfortunately, the convergence result of the determinis
tic case does not hold in the stochastic case if ,(1 r) = 1.
We can give a simple proof (and intuition) of this result if we assume that
n
ttt
0, i.e., the marginal utility is strictly convex. From the EE
n
t
(c

) _ 1

[n
t
(c
l
)[
196CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
From strict convexity of the marginal utility, by Jensens inequality
n
t
(c

) _ 1

[n
t
(c
l
)[ n
t
[1

(c
l
)[
which by strict concavity of utility function implies
1

(c
l
) c

Therefore, consumption will always tend to ratchet upward over time and never
converge.
Stochastic Income: general case
The result that consumption diverges to innity with an i.i.d. endowment
process is extended by Chamberlain and Wilson (2000) to an arbitrary station
ary stochastic endowment process that is suciently stochastic. Let 1

denote
the information set at time t. When ,(1 r) = 1, the general version of EE
becomes
n
t
(c

) _ 1[n
t
(c
l
) [ 1

[
where 1[ [ 1

[ is the expectation operator conditioned upon information set
1

. Assuming a bounded utility function, Chamberlain and Wilson prove the
following result:
Proposition 82 If there is an  0 such that for any c 1
Ii(c _ n

_ c  [ 1

) < 1 
for all 1

and t _ 0, then Ii(lim
o
c

= ) = 1. Here r

is the annuity value
of the tail of the income process starting from period t
n

=
r
1 r
o
=
(1 r)

j
.
Under certainty, the limiting value of the consumption path is given by the
highest annuity of the endowment process across all starting dates t: c = sup

n

.
Under uncertainty, Proposition above says that the consumption path will never
converge to any nite limit if the annuity value of the endowment process is
suciently stochastic. Instead, the optimal consumption path will then converge
to innity. This stark dierence between the case of certainty and uncertainty
is quite remarkable.
In summary, In presence of borrowing constraints and uncertain income, the
condition ,(1 r) < 1 is necessary for the optimal consumption sequence and
for the asset space to be bounded.
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS197
10.3 Economies with Idiosyncratic Risk and In
complete Markets
Lets go back to our target in this chapter: build a class of models whose
equilibria feature a nontrivial endogenous distribution of income and wealth
across agents. We are going to describe a particular type of incomplete markets
model in this section. The models have a large number of ex ante identical
but ex post heterogeneous agents who trade a single security. For most of this
section, we study models with no aggregate uncertainty and no variation of an
aggregate state variable over time (so macroeconomic time series variation is
absent). But there is much uncertainty at the individual level. Households
only option is to selfinsure by managing a stock of a single asset to buer
their consumption against adverse shocks. We study several models that dier
mainly with respect to the particular asset that is the vehicle for selfinsurance,
for example, at currency or capital.
The tools for constructing these models are discretestate discounted dy
namic programming, used to formulate and solve problems of the individuals,
and Markov chains, used to compute a stationary wealth distribution. The
models produce a stationary wealth distribution that is determined simultane
ously with various aggregates that are dened as means across corresponding
individuallevel variables.
We begin by recalling our discretestate formulation of a singleagent innite
horizon savings problem. We then describe several economies in which house
holds face some version of this innite horizon savings problem, and where some
of the prices taken parametrically in each households problem are determined
by the average behavior of all households.
This class of models was invented by Bewley (1977, 1980, 1983, 1986), partly
to study a set of classic issues in monetary theory. Then Huggett (1993) and
Aiyagari (1994) are the two pathbreaking papers that establish its quantitative
signicance in the eld. Researchers have used calibrated versions of Bewley
Aiyagari models to give quantitative answers to questions including the welfare
costs of business cycles (Imrohoroglu, 1989), the risksharing benets of un
funded social security systems (Imrohoroglu, Imrohoroglu, and Joines, 1995),
the benets of insuring unemployed people (Hansen and Imrohoroglu, 1992),
and the welfare costs of taxing capital (Aiyagari, 1995).
10.3.1 A Savings Problem
Recall the discretestate savings problem as in section 4.2.1 and the previous
section. The households labor income at time t, :

evolves according to an :
state Markov chain with transition matrix 1. If the realization of the process
at t is :
I
, then at time t the HH receives labor income n :
I
. Thus, employment
opportunities determine the labor income process. We sometimes assume that
: is 2, and that :

takes the value 0 in an unemployed state and 1 in an employed
state. This is the idiosyncratic risk (shock) in the model.
198CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
We constrain holdings of a single asset to a grid / = [a
0
= 0 < a
l
<
a
2
< ... < a
n
= a
nax
[. For given values of prices (n, r) and given initial values
(a
0
, :
0
), the HH chooses a policy for a
l
o
=0
to maximize
1
0
o
=0
,

n(c

)
:.t.
c

a
l
= (1 r)a

n:

c

_ 0, a
l
/.
n(c) is a strictly increasing, strictly concave, twice continuously dierentiable
oneperiod utility function satisfying the Inada condition lim
c0
n
t
(c) =
and ,(1 r) < 1. (Recall that we learned from the previous section that this is
a necessary condition for the optimal consumption sequence and for the asset
space to be bounded.)
The Bellman eauation is \i [1, 2, ..., :[ and \/ [1, 2, ..., :[
(a

, :
I
) = max
o
0
,
l[(1 r)a

n :
I
a
t
[ ,
n
=l
1
I
(a
t
, :
)
where a
t
is next periods value of asset holdings. Here (a, :) is the optimal
value of the objective function, starting from assetemployment state (a, :).
Note that the grid / incorporates upper and lower limits on the quantity that
can be borrowed (i.e., the amount of the asset that can be issued). The upper
bound on / is restrictive. In some of our theoretical discussion to follow, it will
be important to dispense with that upper bound. We assume that there is no
government, no physical capital or no supply or demand of bonds from abroad.
Hence the net supply of assets in this economy is zero.
As we showed in the previous section, we can solve this BE for a value
function (a, :) and an associated policy function a
t
= q(a, :) mapping this
periods (a, :) pair into an optimal choice of assets to carry into next period.
10.3.2 Wealthemployment Distributions
Lets dene the unconditional distribution of individual state pairs at time t
(a

, :

) to be
`

(a, :) = Ii(a

= a, :

= :)
Notice that we have
o
s
`

(a, :) = 1, \t
This crosssectional distribution over individual characteristics describes the
aggregate state of the economy. The exogenous Markov chain 1 on : and the
optimal policy function a
t
= q(a, :) induce a law of motion for the distribution
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS199
`

as following
Ii(a
l
= a
t
, :
l
= :
t
) =
ot
st
Ii(a
l
= a
t
[ a

= a, :

= :)
Ii(:
l
= :
t
[ :

= :) Ii(a

= a, :

= :).
Or
`
l
(a
t
, :
t
) =
s
`

(a, :) 1
ss
0 J(a
t
, a, :)
where the indicator function J(a
t
, a, :) is dened as
J(a
t
, a, :) =
_
1 if a
t
= q(a, :)
0 otherwise
The preceding equation can also be expressed concisely as
`
l
(a
t
, :
t
) =
]o.o
0
=(o,s)]
s
`

(a, :) 1
ss
0 (10.1)
Denition 83 A timeinvariant distribution ` that solves equation (10.1), i.e.,
one for which `
l
= `

, \t, is called a stationary distribution.
A Digression on Markov Chain and Stationary Distribution
What is a Markov chain? Formally we have the following denition:
Denition 84 A stochastic process r

is said to have the Markov property
if for all / _ 1 and all t,
Ii(r
l
[ r

, r
l
, ..., r

) = Ii(r
l
[ r

).
We assume the Markov property and characterize the process by a Markov
chain. A timeinvariant Markov chain is dened by a triple of objects ( r, 1,
0
)
where r is an :demensional vector of possible state values, 1 is an : :
transition matrix which records the probabilities of moving from one value of
the state to another in one period; and an : 1 vector
0
whose ith element is
the probability of being in state i at time 0:
0
= Ii(r
0
= c
I
).
The elements of transition matrix 1 are
1
I
= Ii(r
l
= c
[ r

= c
I
) _ 0.
For these interpretations to be valid, the matrix 1 and the vector
0
must
satisfy the following assumption:
Assumption M: (1). \i = 1, 2, ..., :, the matrix 1 satises
n
=l
1
I
= 1.
200CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
(2). The vector
0
satises
n
I=l
0I
= 1.
A matrix 1 that satises Assumption M is called a stochastic matrix. A
stochastic matrix denes the probabilities of moving from one value of the state
to another in one period. The probability of moving from one value of the state
to another in two periods is determined by 1
2
because
Ii(r
2
= c
[ r

= c
I
)
=
n
=l
Ii(r
2
= c
[ r
l
= c

) Ii(r
l
= c

[ r

= c
I
)
=
n
=l
1
I
1

= 1
(2)
I
,
where 1
(2)
I
is the (i, ,) element of 1
2
= 1 1. Continuing this process, we have
Ii(r

= c
[ r

= c
I
) = 1
()
I
.
Therefore, the unconditional probability distributions of r

are determined by
t
l
..
ln
= Ii(r
l
) =
t
0
..
ln
1
..
nn
t
2
= Ii(r
2
) =
t
0
1
2
......
t

= Ii(r

) =
t
0
1

where
t

= Ii(r

) is the 1 : vector whose ith element is Ii(r

= c
I
). More
concisely
t
l
=
t

1. (10.2)
An unconditional distribution is called stationary or invariant if it satises
l
=

,
that is, if the unconditional distribution remains unaltered with the passage of
time. From the law of motion (10.2) for unconditional distributions, a stationary
distribution must satisfy
t
=
t
1
=
t
(1 1) = 0
where 1 is an : : identity matrix. Transposing both sides of this equation
gives
(1 1
t
) = 0 (10.3)
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS201
which implies as an eigenvector associated with matrix 1
t
.
The fact that 1 is a stochastic matrix (i.e., it has nonnegative elements and
satises
n
=l
1
I
= 1, \i, ,) guarantees that 1 has at least one unit eigenvalue,
and that there is at least one eigenvector that satises equation (10.3). This
stationary distribution may not be unique because 1 can have a repeated unit
eigenvalue.
Example 85 A Markov chain
1 =
_
_
1 0 0
0.2 0. 0.8
0 0 1
_
_
has two unit eigenvalues with associated two eigenvectors
t
= [ 1 0 0 [ and
t
= [ 0 0 1 [. You can easily conrm that by computing
t
1 =
t
. Or
you can use MATLAB function [V,D]=eig(P) to conrm it. This function
returns matrices of eigenvalues (D) and eigenvectors (V) of matrix P, so that
1
t
\ = \ 1. In this case,
\ =
_
_
1 0 0.8244
0 0 0.8111
0 1 0.4867
_
_
1 =
_
_
1 0 0
0 1 0
0 0 0.
_
_
The diagonal elements of matrix D are three eigenvalues. Here state 1 and 3
are both absorbing states. Furthermore, any initial distribution that puts zero
probability on state 2 is a stationary distribution. Fo example, given
t
0
=
[ 0. 0 0. [, we have
t
0
1 =
t
0
.
Example 86 A Markov chain
1 =
_
_
0.7 0.8 0
0 0. 0.
0 0.0 0.1
_
_
has one unit eigenvalue with associated eigenvector
t
= [ 0 0.6420 0.871 [.
Here states 2 and 3 form an absorbing subset of the state space.
We often ask the following question about a Markov process: for an arbi
trary initial distribution
0
, do the unconditional distributions

approach a
stationary distribution
lim
o

=
o
where
o
solves equation (10.3)? If the answer is yes, then does the limit distri
bution
o
depend on the initial distribution
0
? If the limit
o
is independent
202CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
of the initial distribution
0
, we say that the process is asymptotically station
ary with a unique invariant distribution. We call a solution
o
a stationary
distribution or an invariant distribution of 1.
We state these concepts formally in the following denition:
Denition 87 Let
o
be a unique vector that satises (1 1
t
)
o
= 0. If for
all initial distributions
0
it is true that 1
t
0
converges to the same
o
, we
say that the Markov chain is asymptotically stationary with a unique invariant
distribution.
When does a Markov chain is asymptotically stationary with a unique in
variant distribution? We have following theorems.
Theorem 88 Let 1 be a stochastic matrix with 1
I
0, \i, ,. Then 1 has a
unique stationary distribution, and the process is asymptotically stationary.
Theorem 89 Let 1 be a stochastic matrix with 1
()
I
0, \i, , for some / _ 1.
Then 1 has a unique stationary distribution, and the process is asymptotically
stationary.
The conditions of Theorems above state that from any state there is a posi
tive probability of moving to any other state in one (or /) steps.
Computing Invariant Distribution
Now lets go back to the law of motion of distribution in the incomplete market
model equation (10.1). From the digression above, we know there are two ways
to compute a stationary distribution in this equation. One way is to directly
iterate to convergence on equation (10.1). An alternative way is to create a
Markov chain that describes the solution of the optimum problem, then to
compute an invariant distribution from a left eigenvector associated with a unit
eigenvalue of the stochastic matrix.
Here we go for the second method. To deduce this Markov chain, we
map (orstack) the pair (a, :) of vectors into a single state vector r as fol
lows. For i = 1, 2, ..., :, / = 1, 2, ..., :, let the ,th element of the : :
vector r be the pair (a
I
, :

) where , = (i 1): /. Thus we denote r
t
=
[ (a
l
, :
l
), (a
l
, :
2
), ..., (a
l
, :
n
), (a
2
, :
l
), (a
2
, :
2
), ..., (a
2
, :
n
), ..., (a
n
, :
l
), .., (a
n
, :
n
) [.
As we said above, the optimal policy function a
t
= q(a, :) and the Markov chain
1 on : induce a Markov chain on r

via the formula
Ii[(a
l
= a
t
, :
l
= :
t
) [ (a

= a, :

= :)[
= Ii(a
l
= a
t
[ a

= a, :

= :) Ii(:
l
= :
t
[ :

= :)
= J(a
t
, a, :) 1
ss
0
This formula denes an matrix T, where = ::. This is the Markov
chain on the households state vector r.
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS203
Now nding an invariant distribution implies
r
t
= r
t
T
where again T is the Markov chain on the HHs state vector r. Suppose that the
Markov chain associated with T is asymptotically stationary and has a unique
invariant distribution
o
, which is an : 1 vector. Typically, all states in the
Markov chain will be recurrent, and the individual will occasionally revisit each
state. The distribution
o
tells the fraction of time that the HH spends in
each state. Once we get it, we can unstack the state vector r and use
o
to
deduce the stationary probability measure `(a
I
, :

) over (a, :) pairs
`(a
I
, :

) = Ii(a

= a
I
, :

= :

) =
o
(,)
where , = (i 1): / is the ,th element of the vector
o
. Notice that at
a particular point of time t, `(a
I
, :

) also measures the fraction of people who
has state vector (a
I
, :

), i.e., it is also a probability distribution of all HHs over
state (a, :).
10.3.3 Stationary Equilibrium
Here we basically summarize the setup as in Aiyagari (1994). He used a version
of the savings problem in an economy with many agents and interpreted the
single asset as homogeneous physical capital, denoted /. The law of motion for
capital holdings is
/
l
= (1 c)/

i

The HHs BC is
c

i

= r/

n:

,
where r is the rental rate on capital and n is a competitive wage, both will be
determined later. Combining these two equations, we have
c

/
l
= (1 r c)/

n:

This BC coincides with the one in the benchmark savings problem if we dene
a

= /

and r = r c.
In Aiyagari model, there is a large number of HHs with identical preferences
whose distribution across (/, :) pairs is given by `(/, :), and whose average be
havior determines prices (n, r) as follows: HHs are identical in their preferences,
the Markov processes governing their employment opportunities, and the prices
that they face. However, they dier in their histories :

0
= :


=0
of employ
ment opportunities, and therefore in the capital that they have accumulated.
Each household has its own history :

0
as well as its own initial capital /
0
. The
productivity processes are assumed to be independent across households. The
behavior of the collection of these HHs determines the wage and interest rate
(n, r).
204CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Assume an initial distribution across HHs of `(/, :). The average level of
capital per HH 1 satises
1 =
s
`(/, :)q(/, :),
where the optimal policy function is
/
t
= q(/, :).
The average level of employment is
=
s
`(/, :) : (10.4)
where : is the exogenously specied vector of individual employment rates (we
can also view it as eciency units of labor, i.e., idiosyncratic labor productivity).
It is constant over time (remember there is no aggregate uncertainty). In other
words, aggregate labor supply in this economy is constant.
There is an CRS aggregate production function
1(1, ) = 1
o
lo
The production function determines the rental rates on capital and labor from
the marginal conditions
r =
01(1, )
01
(10.5)
n =
01(1, )
0
(10.6)
Now we are ready to dene a stationary equilibrium in this economy.
Denition 90 A stationary recursive equilibrium is a policy function q(/, :)
and c(/, :), a value function (/, :), a probability distribution `(/, :), and posi
tive real numbers (1, , r, n) such that
(i). Given ( r, n), the policy function q(/, :), c(/, :)and the value function
(/, :) solve the HHs problem.
max 1
0
o
=0
,

n(c

)
:.t.
c

/
l
= (1 r c)/

n:

c

, /
l
_ 0.
(ii). The prices ( r, n) satises the rms FOCs (10.5)(10.6).
(iii). The probability distribution `(/, :) is a stationary distribution associ
ated with policy function q(/, :) and Markov chain 1 on :; that is, it satises
`(/
t
, :
t
) =
].
0
=(,s)]
s
`(/, :) 1
ss
0
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS205
(iv). Individual and aggregate behavior are consistent:
1 =

s
`(/, :)q(/, :)
=

s
`(/, :) :.
(v). Goods market clears.
s
`(/, :)c(/, :)
s
`(/, :)i(/, :) =

s
`(/, :) rq(/, :)
s
`(/, :)n :
or
C 1 = r1 n = 1.
In this equilibrium, the individualwide state variables are (/

, :

), the economy
wide state variable is 1

. Therefore, for individuals the state vector is (1

, /

, :

).
Notice that since the distribution ` is timeinvariant, it does not enter into the
state space. This dramatically reduces the curse of dimensionality problem.
Given the stationary property, in the equilibrium, aggregate capital and labor
are constant, so are interest rate and wage rate. But the indivudual variables
are dierent depending on their status. In other words, we have individual
heterogeneity and aggregate stability.
10.3.4 Computing Stationary Equilibrium
Aiyagari (1994) computed an equilibrium of the model above by dening a
mapping from 1 1 into 1, with the property that a xed point of the
mapping is an equilibrium capital stock 1. Here is an algorithm for nding a
xed point:
1. Guess the initial capital stock 1 = 1
s
`
(/, :)q
(/, :)
If
_
_
1
+
_
_
< 
206CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Stop. Otherwise, for a xed relaxation parameter (0, 1), compute a
new estimate of 1
1
l
= 1
(1 )1
+
.
and go back to step 1.
4. Iterate on this scheme to the convergence.
10.3.5 Borrowing Constraint: Natural vs. Ad Hoc
Now lets go back to our savings problem and change our borrowing constraint
to a broader one
1
0
o
=0
,

n(c

)
:.t.
c

a
l
= (1 r)a

n:

(BC)
a
l
_ c (borrowing constraint)
c

_ 0.
We consider two types of borrowing constraints here.
First of all, imposing c

_ 0, \t implies in BC
a
l
_ (1 r)a

n:

Or
a

_
1
1 r
(a
l
n:

)
which by iteration implies
a

_
1
1 r
([
1
1 r
(a
2
n:
l
)[ n:

)
=
1
1 r
n:

(
1
1 r
)
2
n:
l
(
1
1 r
)
2
a
2
= ...
=
1
1 r
T
=0
n:

(1 r)
(
1
1 r
)
Tl
a
Tl
Take limit T , impose the transversality condition (or nonPonzi condition),
we have
a

_
1
1 r
o
=0
n:

(1 r)
. (10.7)
Since the right hand side of inequality above is a random variable, not known
at time t, we have to supplement equation (10.7) to obtain the borrowing con
straint. One possible approach is to replace the RHS of equation (10.7) with
its conditional expectation, and to require equation (10.7) to hold in expected
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS207
value. But this expected value formulation is incompatible with the notion that
the loan is risk free, and that the household can repay it for sure. If we in
sist that equation (10.7) hold almost surely, for all t _ 0, then we obtain the
constraint that emerges by replacing :

with min: = :
l
, which yields
a

_
1
1 r
o
=0
n:
l
(1 r)
=
:
l
n
r
.
Aiyagari (1994) call it the natural borrowing limit. Note that
s1u
:
is the max
imum amount that the HH can repay for sure without violating nonnegativity
of sonsumption. If this borrowing limit holds, the inequality in (10.7) denitely
holds.
If the borrowing limit / as dened
a

_ /
is tighter than the natural borrowing limit (e.g., / = 0 so that no borrowing is
permitted), then the borrowing limit / may be regarded as ad hoc in the sense
that it is not a consequence of nonnegativity of consumption. Combining these
two borrowing limits, we have
a

_ c
where
c = min[/,
:
l
n
r
[.
10.3.6 Equilibrium Interest Rate and Savings under Idio
syncratic Risk
For the special case of Aiyagari model in which : is i.i.d., Aiyagari showed how
to cast the model in terms of a single state variable to appear in the HHs
value function. To synthesize a single state variable, note that the maximum
disposable resources available to be allocated at t are
.

= (1 r)a

n:

c
i.e., borrow to the limit a
l
= c. Dene a

= a

c, we have
.

= n:

(1 r) a

rc.
In terms of the single state variable .

, the HHs BC can be represented recur
sively as
c

a
l
_ .

.
l
= n:
l
(1 r) a
l
rc
c

_ 0, a
l
_ 0
208CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
The FE is
(.

) = max
ot+10
n(.

a
l
) ,1(.
l
) (10.8)
:.t.
.
l
= n:
l
(1 r) a
l
rc.
The optimal asset demand rule (or policy function) is obtained by solving the
FE above. This yields the following singlevalued asset demand function
a
l
= (.

).
The EE to this FE is
n
t
(c

) _ ,(1 r)1

n
t
(c
l
) (10.9)
= ,(1 r)1

n
t
(c
l
), if a
l
0
We can use equation (10.9) to deduce signicant aspects of the limiting behavior
of mean assets 1 a as a funtion of interest rate r from the HHs side. Dene
'

= [,(1 r)[

n
t
(c

) _ 0
Thus the EE is equivalent to the following
'

_ 1

'
l
which asserts that '

is a supermartingale. As we showed in section 10.2.2,
the supermartingale converegnce theorem applies here to guarantee that '

converges almost surely to a nonnegative random variable
': '

o.s.
'.
As in the section 10.2.2, lets consider the following three cases.
1. ,(1 r) 1. Since '

= [,(1 r)[

n
t
(c

), the fact that '

converges
implies that n
t
(c

) has to converge to zero almost surely, which in turn
implies that c

o.s.
and that the consumers asset holdings must be
diverging to too.
2. ,(1r) = 1. As we showed in section 10.2.2, we have the same divergence
results here as in case 1.
3. ,(1r) < 1. convergence of Mt leaves open the possibility that n
t
(c) does
not converge almost surely, that it remains nite and continues to vary
randomly. Indeed, when ,(1 r) < 1, the average level of assets remains
nite, and so does the level of consumption.
It is easier to analyze the borderline case ,(1 r) = 1 in the special case
that the employment process :

is i.i.d.. Aiyagari (1994)
4
uses the following
argument by contradiction to show that if ,(1 r) = 1, then total available
4
See Aiyagari (1994) footnote 21.
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS209
resource .

diverges to . Assume that there is some upper limit .
nax
such
that
.
l
_ .
nax
= n:
nax
(1 r)(.
nax
) rc.
Then when ,(1r) = 1, the strict concavity of the value function, the Benveniste
Scheinkman formula, and Euler equation (10.9) imply
t
(.
nax
) _ ,(1 r)1

t
(.
t
= n:
t
(1 r)(.
nax
) rc)
1

t
[n:
nax
(1 r)(.
nax
) rc[
=
t
[(n:
nax
(1 r)(.
nax
) rc)[
=
t
(.
nax
)
The rst inequality is the FOC w.r.t. a
l
for the FE. The second inequality
comes from the fact that the value function is strictly concave, i.e.,
t
() is
strictly decreasing, and .
t
< .
nax
(since 1:
t
< :
nax
). Contradiction!
Dene , =
l
l
, i.e., j is the time discount rate. We can use a similar
graph as in Aiyagari (1994) to characterize the asset demand function 1a(r).
The average asset demand curve, as a function of the interest rate, is upward
sloping, i.e., 1a
t
(r) 0 (this is because
t
(.) 0, asset holding is a positive
function of total resource, and
J:
J:
0). It is equal to / for suciently low
r (if the interest rate is low enough, everybody wants to borrow hence hit the
borrow limit), asymptotes towards as r approaches j from below.
Now lets talk about equilibrium. Dene the capital stock as a function of
interest rate r 1(r). From the rms side, we know 1(r) is implicitly determined
by the rms FOC
r =
01(1, )
01
c
= 1
1
c
Notice that since production function 1 is strictly concave, marginal product
of capital is strictly decreasing, therefore, 1(r) is downwardslopping.
The equilibrium is achieved when the 1a(r) curve intersects the 1
1
c curve.
Thus (r
l
, 1
l
) is our equilibrium interest rate and capital stock in this economy
with idiosyncratic shock and borrowing limit. Notice that when there is no un
certainty, consumption and assets converge to nite number if ,(1r) _ 1, thus
the asset demand function a(r) does not depend on r. Therefore, the horizon
tal line crosses the raxis at j is a(r) curve under certainty
5
. The equilibrium
interest rate is r = j and the equilibrium capital stock under certainty is 1
0
.
From Figure 10.3, clearly under uncertainty, the equilibrium interest rate
r
l
is lower than its certainty counterpart, and its equilibrium capital stock 1
l
is higher than the equilibrium capital stock under full insurance (certainty)
5
More accurately, when v < j, i.e., o(1 + v) < 1, interest rate is too low, hence the HHs
always want to borrow up to the limit, o(v) = . When v = j, i.e., o(1 + v) = 1, the
HHs asset holdings equal to his initial assets o
0
whatever they might be. Therefore, the asset
demand curve is actually a twopart curve. When v < j, it is the vertical line through on
aaxis. When v = j, it is the horizontal curve through j on jaxis.
210CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Figure 10.2: Average assets as a function of r in Aiyagari economy
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS211
Figure 10.3: Demand for capital and determination of equilibrium interest rate
212CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
1
0
. Uninsured idiosyncratic risk brings the overaccumulation of capital stock.
Obviously, if / = 0, i.e., if we do not allow borrow at all (a

_ 0, \t), the
dierence between 1
l
and 1
0
will be even bigger.
This completes our description of the theoretical features of the Bewley
Aiyagari models. Now we will turn to the quantitative results that applications
of these models have delivered.
10.3.7 Numerical Results
In this subsection, we are going to show some quantitative results of Aiyagari
model.
The model period is taken to be one year. The discount factor , is chosen
to be 0.96. The production function 1(1, ) is assumed to be CobbDouglas
1(1, ) = 1
o
lo
with the capital share c = 0.86. The depreciation rate of
capital c is set at 8%. The period utility function is taken as CRRA
n(c) =
c
l
1
1 j
where j is the relative risk aversion coecient. Results are reported for three
dierent values of j 1, 8, . The above technology and preference specica
tions and parameter values are chosen to be consistent with aggregate features
of the postwar U.S. economy and are also commonly used in aggregative models
of growth and business cycles.
Next, we use Tauchens (1986) method to get a discretestate Markov chain
to approximate a rstorder autoregressive process
log :

= j log :
l
o
_
1 j
2


where 

is a sequence of i.i.d. random variables that belongs to a standard
normal distribution (0, 1). We take o 0.2, 0.4 and j 0, 0.8, 0.6, 0.0.
This process is approximated by a sevenstate Markov chain.
Finally, the borrowing limit / is set to be zero, i.e., borrowing is prohibited.
The algorithm for approximating the steady state uses simulated series and
the bisection method by following steps below.
1. Start from some value of interest rate r
l
that is close but less than the
rate of time preference j =
l
o
1 = 0.04167. Given r
l
, we compute the
asset demand function.
2. Simulate the Markov chain for the shock :

using a random number gen
erator and obtain a series of 10000 draws. These are used with the as
set demand function to obtain a simulated series of assets. 1a is calcu
lated as the sample mean of these series. We then calculate r
2
such that
1(r
2
) = 1a.
3. If r
2
= r
l
, stop. Otherwise, dene
r
3
=
r
l
r
2
2
10.3. ECONOMIES WITHIDIOSYNCRATIC RISKANDINCOMPLETE MARKETS213
A. Net return to capital (%) / Aggregate saving rate (%): o = 0.2
jj 1 3 5
0 4.1666/23.67 4.1456/23.71 4.0858/23.83
0.3 4.1365/23.73 4.0432/23.91 3.9054/24.19
0.6 4.0912/23.82 3.8767/24.25 3.5857/24.86
0.9 3.9305/24.14 3.2903/25.51 2.5260/27.36
B. Net return to capital (%) / Aggregate saving rate (%): o = 0.4
jj 1 3 5
0 4.0649/23.87 3.7816/24.44 3.4177/25.22
0.3 3.9554/24.09 3.4188/25.22 2.8032/26.66
0.6 3.7567/24.50 2.7835/26.71 1.8070/29.37
0.9 3.3054/25.47 1.2894/31.00 0.3456/37.63
Table 10.5: Equilibrium interest rate and savings rate in Aiyagari model
Go back to step 1. Iterate until convergence.
Once the steady state is approximated, we use the solution to calculate the
following objects of interest. We calculate the mean, median, standard devia
tion, coecient of variation (c.v.), skewness, and serial correlation coecient for
labor income, asset (capital) holdings, net income, gross income, gross saving,
and consumption. We also calculate measures of inequality for each of these
variables. We use the simulated series for each variable to construct its distri
bution, and then we compute the Lorenz curves and calculate the associated
Gini coecients.
Here in Table 10.5
6
, we report the net return to capital (r) and the savings
rate which is the investment/output ratio in stationary equilibrium of Aiyagari
model given all the parameter values as we described above. For comparison,
it is easy to calculate that the net return to capital and the savings rate under
the certainty case are 4.17% and 23.67% respectively.
The main message from this table is under idiosyncratic risk, r does go
down and savings rate does increase for all the combination of serial correlation
coecient j and CRRA coecient j.
Since longrun distributions for an individual coincide with crosssection dis
tributions for the population, results for variabilities of individual consumption,
income, and assets have immediate implications for crosssection distributions.
These results are qualitatively consistent with casual empiricism and more care
ful empirical observation. There is much less dispersion across households in
consumption compared with income and much greater dispersion in wealth com
pared with income For example, when o = 0.4, j = 0.0, and j = 1, the model
generates the coecients of variation (cv) of consumption, gross income, and
gross savings are 0.37, 0.59, and 1.33. But they are quite lower than the data,
which are 3.86 for income and 6.09 for wealth. In all cases, the fraction of
liquidityconstrained households is close to zero. Skewness coecients reveal
6
It replicates Table 2 in Aiyagari (1994).
214CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
another aspect of inequality. All of the crosssection distributions are positively
skewed (median<mean). However, the degree of skewness is somewhat less than
in the data. For example, median net income, gross income, and capital are all
over 90 percent of their respective mean values. In contrast, U. S. median house
hold income is about 80 percent of U. S. mean household income. Lorenz curves
and Gini coecients show that the model does generate empirically plausible
relative degrees of inequality. Consumption exhibits the least inequality, fol
lowed by net income, gross income, and then capital, and saving exhibits the
greatest inequality. However, the model cannot generate the observed degrees
of inequality. For example, when j is 5, j is 0.6, and o is 0.2, the Gini coe
cients for net income and wealth are 0.12 and 0.32, respectively. In U. S. data,
however, the Gini coecient for income is about 0.57 and that for net wealth is
about 0.78.
Overall, the model underachieves in terms of income and wealth dispersion.
This is largely because it fails to generate the fat upper tail of the wealth distri
bution. There have been several suggestions to cure this failure; for example to
introduce potential entrepreneurs that have to accumulate a lot of wealth be
fore nancing investment projects. But this is still an open question for future
research.
10.4 Extension of Aiyagari Model with Aggre
gate Shocks
Aiyagari model is absent of aggregate shock. This helps makes the model
tractable since the distribution does not enter into the state space. This section
describes a way to extend such models to situations with timevarying stochastic
aggregate state variables.
Krusell and Smith (1998) modied Aiyagaris (1994) model by adding an
aggregate state variable ., a technology shock that follows a Markov process.
Each household continues to receive an idiosyncratic laborendowment shock
: that averages to the same constant value for each value of the aggregate
shock .. The aggregate shock causes the size of the state of the economy to
expand dramatically, because every HHs wealth will depend on the history of
the aggregate shock ., call it .

, as well as the history of the householdspecic
shock :

. That makes the joint histories of .

, :

correlated across households,
which in turn makes the crosssection distribution of (/, :) vary randomly over
time. Therefore, the interest rate and wage will also vary randomly over time.
One way to specify the state is to include the crosssection distribution `(/, :)
each period among the state variables. Thus, the state includes a crosssection
probability distribution of (capital, employment) pairs. In addition, a descrip
tion of a recursive competitive equilibrium must include a law of motion mapping
todays distribution `(/, :) into tomorrows distribution.
10.4. EXTENSIONOF AIYAGARI MODEL WITHAGGREGATE SHOCKS215
Lets recall the original Aiyagari model. The FE of the model is
(/, :) = max
c,
0
n(c) ,1[(/
t
, :
t
)[
:.t.
c /
t
= (1 r c)/ n:
where the wage n and interest rate r are determined by the rms FOCs
r =
01(1, )
01
= c(
1
)
ol
n =
01(1, )
0
= (1 c)(
1
)
o
.
And the total capital stock and labor input 1 and are the average values of
/ and : over the stationary distribution `(/, :)
1 =
_
/`(/, :)d/d:
=
_
:`(/, :)d/d:.
10.4.1 KrusellSmiths Model Economy
Krusell and Smith (1998) consider a version of stochastic growth model with a
large (measure one) population of innitely lived consumers. The preference is
given by
max 1
0
o
=0
,

n(c

)
where period utility function takes the CRRA form
n(c) =
c
l
1
1 j
.
The BC is standard as the one in Aiyagari (1994).
c /
t
= (1 r c)/ n:.
However, the aggregate production is subject to a stochastic shock .:
1 = .1(1, ) = .1
o
lo
.
Thus the wage and interest rate are the function of 1, and .:
r = r(1, , .) = .c(
1
)
ol
(10.10)
n = n(1, , .) = .(1 c)(
1
)
o
. (10.11)
216CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Let ` denote the current measure (distribution) of HHs over holdings of capital
/ and employment status :. Then the law of motion of the distribution now is
`
t
= H(`, ., .
t
). (10.12)
The aggregate shock today and tomorrow will aect the transition of distri
bution. Therefore, we do not have timeinvariant distribution any more. The
distribution itself is a timevariant random variable distributed by the aggregate
shock .. Thus at time t, the aggregate capital and labor input are
1

=
_
/`

(/, :)d/d: (10.13)

=
_
:`

(/, :)d/d:. (10.14)
In this economy, the aggregate state variables are the distribution and ag
gregate shock (`, .). Notice that in the complete market representative agent
model, the aggregate state are total capital 1 and shock . (see section 1.4.5).
But now in this incomplete market economy, since dierent HHs have dierent
amount of wealth and their propensities to save are not equal, the distribution
of wealth will aect the total savings. It is clearly seen from the equation (10.13)
above. Thus the state variables are indeed (1, `, .). But since 1 is determined
by ` (of course also the individual state / and :), we can ignore 1 here to save
one state variable.
For the individual HH, the relevant state variables are his asset holdings /,
his employment status :, and the aggregate state. The role of the aggregate
state is to allow the HHs to predict future prices. We thus can write the HHs
optimization problem as a FE below
(/, :; `, .) = max
c,
0
n(c) ,1[(/
t
, :
t
; `
t
, .
t
) [ (:, ., `)[
:.t.
c /
t
= (1 r(1, , .) c)/ n(1, , .): (10.15)
1 =
_
/`(/, :)d/d:, =
_
:`(/, :)d/d:
`
t
= H(`, ., .
t
)
c, /
t
_ 0
The solution to this FE is a decision rule for consumption c = c(/, :; `, .) and
a decision rule for savings /
t
= q(/, :; `, .).
10.4.2 Recursive Competitive Equilibrium
Now we are ready to dene a RCE for this economy.
Denition 91 A RCE is a value function (/, :; `, .), a decision rule c(/, :; `, .)
and q(/, :; `, .), a pair of price functions ( r, n), and a law of motion H for dis
tribution `(/, :) such that:
10.4. EXTENSIONOF AIYAGARI MODEL WITHAGGREGATE SHOCKS217
(i). Given prices ( r, n), , c, q solve the HHs DP problem (10.15).
(ii). r and n are the solutions to the rms protmaximization problem,
i.e., r and n satisfy (10.10)(10.11).
(iii). The decision rule q and the Markov processes for : and . imply that to
days distribution `(/, :) is mapped into tomorrows `
t
(/, :) by H as in equation
(10.12)
`
t
= H(`, ., .
t
)
=
_
Q
:,:
0 (/, :)`(/, :)d/d:
where Q
:,:
0 is the transition function between two periods where the aggregate
shock goes from . to .
t
and is dened by
Q
:,:
0 (/, :) =
s
0
J(/
t
, /, :, ., `)(.
t
, :
t
[ ., :)
where J(/
t
, /, :, ., `) is an idcator function dened below
J(/
t
, /, :, ., `) =
_
1 if /
t
= q(/, :; `, .)
0 otherwise
(iv). Consistency or market clearing conditions
1 =
_
/`(/, :)d/d:
=
_
:`(/, :)d/d:
_
c(/, :; `, .)`(/, :)d/d:
_
q(/, :; `, .)`(/, :)d/d: = .1(1, ) (1 c)1.
10.4.3 Computing the Equilibrium
The main diculty of computing the RCE for this economy is due to the curse
of dimensionality. The state variable contains the distribution `, which is a
variable of, in principle, innite dimension (it is a function!). Krusell and Smith
propose a smart way to approximate an equilibrium using simulations. Their
underlying assumption is that agents are boundedly rational in their perceptions
of how ` evolves over time and to increase the sophistication of these perceptions
until the errors that agents make because they are not fully rational become
negligible.
Therefore, lets assume that agents do not perceive current or future prices
as depending on anything more than the rst 1 moments of `. Denote those
moments as : = (:
l
, :
2
, ..., :
1
). Since current prices depend only on the total
amount of capital and not on its distribution, limiting agents to a nite set of
moments is restrictive only as far as future prices are concerned. In particular,
to know future prices, it is necessary to know how the aggregate capital stock
218CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
evolves. Since savings decisions do not aggregate, the total capital stock in the
future is a nontrivial function of all the moments of the current distribution.
Agents thus perceive the law of motion for : to be given by a function H
1
that
belongs to a class ,. Each of these functions expresses :
t
, that is, the vector of
1 moments in the next period, as a function of the 1 current moments
:
t
= H
1
(:, ., .
t
)
Given the law of motion H
1
, each agents optimal savings decision can then be
represented by a decision rule )
1
. Given such a decision rule )
1
for individuals
and an initial wealth and labor shock distribution, it is possible to derive the
implied aggregate behaviora time series path of the distribution of income and
wealthby simulating the behavior of a large number of consumers. The re
sulting distributions, therefore, are restricted only by initial conditions, shocks,
and the decision rules of agents. Moreover, they can be used to compare the
simulated evolution of the specic vector of moments : to the perceived law of
motion for : on which agents base their behavior. Our approximate equilib
rium is a function H
1
that, when taken as given by the agents, (i). yields the
best t within the class , to the behavior of : in the simulated data and (ii).
yields a t that is close to perfect in the sense that H
1
tracks the behavior of :
in the simulated data almost exactly, that is, with very small errors. In a com
puted, approximate equilibrium, thus, agents do not take into account all the
moments of the distribution, but the errors in forecasting prices that result from
this omission are very small. In other words, we think thr rst 1 moments of
distribution are enough for summarizing relevant information for the economic
decision. We thus reduce the innitedimensional problem of nding a law of
motion of ` to a nitedimensional one.
According to thsi idea, we will have following computation algorithm:
1. Select 1.
2. Guess on a parameterized functional form for H
1
, and guess on the para
meters of this function.
3. Solve the consumers DP problem given H
1
(/, :; :, .) = max
c,
0
n(c) ,1[(/
t
, :
t
; :
t
, .
t
) [ (:, ., :)[
:.t.
c /
t
= (1 r c)/ n:
:
t
= H
1
(:, ., .
t
)
4. Draw a single long realization from the Markov process for .

for a
length of a large number of time say T. For that particular realization
of ., using consumers decision rules derived from step 3 to simulate the
time paths of /

, :

for agents (with a large number) over T time
periods.
10.4. EXTENSIONOF AIYAGARI MODEL WITHAGGREGATE SHOCKS219
5. Assemble these simulations into a history of T empirical crosssection
distributions `

(/, :). Then use the cross section at t to compute the
crosssection moments :(t), thereby assembling a time series of length T
of the crosssection moments :(t). Next use this sample and nonlinear
least squares to estimate the parameter values of transition function H
1
mapping :(t) into :(t 1). They return to the beginning of the
6. If the estimation gives parameter values that are very close to those
guessed initially and the goodness of t is satisfactory, stop. If the pa
rameter values have converged but the goodness of t is not satisfactory,
go back to step 1 to increase 1 or, as an intermediate step, try a dierent
functional form for H
1
. Follow the procedure again until the convergence.
An example serves to illustrate the workings of the algorithm. Suppose that
1 = 1, so we only look at the rst moment which is the aggregate capital stock.
The aggregate shock only takes two values . .
, .
b
, i.e., it is either in good
state .
or in bad state .
b
. And we further assume that H
l
is loglinear
. = .
: log 1
t
= a
0
a
l
log 1
. = .
b
: log 1
t
= /
0
/
l
log 1.
The FE for this example is
(/, :; 1, .) = max
c,
0
n(c) ,1[(/
t
, :
t
; 1
t
, .
t
) [ (:, ., 1)[
subject to
c /
t
= (1 r(1, , .) c)/ n(1, , .): (10.16)
log 1
t
= a
0
a
l
log 1, if . = .
log 1
t
= /
0
/
l
log 1, if . = .
b
c, /
t
_ 0
By solving it, we obtain a (nonlinear) decision rule /
t
= )
l
(/, :; 1, .). This rule
is then used to simulate the economy with a sample of agents ( is a large
number). We then sum up among these agents to compute a sequence of
aggregate capital stock 1

T
=0
as follows
1

=
1
I=l
/
t
I
(/, :; 1, .).
Next, use leastsquares regression to estimate parameters (a
0
, a
l
, /
0
, /
l
) of the
linear law of motion for 1. Using these estimates, the law of motion is updated,
and the procedure is repeated until a xed point in these parameters is found.
If this H
l
is satisfactorily reproduced in simulations (i.e., is the goodnessoft,
which represents a measure of how close approximate aggregation is to exact
7
),
stop. Otherwise, consider a more exible functional form for H
l
or add another
moment.
7
Krusell and Smith (1998) discuss dierent goodnessoft measures, but the simplest one
is 1
2
. Thus, if the 1
2
is very close to 1, we say that we have approximate aggregation.
220CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
10.4.4 Numerical Results
Krusell and Smith calibrate the twostate example above and show the approx
imate aggregation results. They use , = 0.00 and c = 0.02, reecting a period
in the model is one quarter in the real world. CRRA coecient j is set to
be 1, i.e., we have log utility. Capital share c = 0.86. They set the shock
values to .
= 1.01 and .
b
= 0.00. To keep things simple, they also assume
only two values for the individual productivity shock, i.e., employment status
: :
, :
b
, where :
::
0
00
::
0
0l
=
::
0
l0
::
0
ll
=
::
0
The number of people who are unemployed always equal to n
::
0
00
::
0
(1 n
:
)
::
0
l0
::
0
= n
:
0 , . = q, /
Krusell and Smith set the unemployment rates to n
= 0.04 and n
b
= 0.1,
implying that the uctuations in the macroeconomic aggregates have roughly
the same magnitude as the uctuations in observed postwar U.S. time series.
The process for (., :) is chosen so that the average duration of both good and
bad times is eight quarters and so that the average duration of an unemployment
spell is 1.5 quarters in good times and 2.5 quarters in bad times.
Given these parameters, Krusell and Smith solve the consumers problem by
computing an approximation to the value function on a grid of points in the
state space. They use cubic spline and polynomial interpolation to compute
the value function at points not on the grid. In their simulations they include
= 000 agents and T = 11000 periods; they discard the rst 1,000 time
periods. Typically, the initial wealth distribution in the simulations is one in
which all agents hold the same level of assets. They nd that their results are
not sensitive to changes in the initial wealth distribution.
With a loglinear functional form and only the mean of the capital stock as
a state variable, They obtain the following approximate equilibrium
log 1
t
= 0.00 0.062 log 1, if . = .
log 1
t
= 0.08 0.06 log 1, if . = .
b
The 1
2
= 0.000008 in both cases, which means that the agents with this simple
forecasting rule by ignoring higher moments make very small errors, for example
the maximal error in forecasting the prices 25 years into the future is around
10.4. EXTENSIONOF AIYAGARI MODEL WITHAGGREGATE SHOCKS221
0:1%. In other words, although the inclusion of more moments in these pre
dictions must signicantly improve forecasts in a statistical sense (since strict
aggregation does not obtain), these improvements are minuscule in quantitative
terms.
Why is only mean, the rst moment, is important? What is the intuition
behind this? Krusell and Smith interpret this result in terms of an approximate
aggregation theorem that follows from two properties of their parameterized
model. First, consumption as a function of wealth is concave but close to linear
for moderate to high wealth levels, i.e., as wealth increases, the slope of savings
decision rule increases towards one, the marginal propensities to consume (hence
to save) are almost identical for agents with dierent empolyment states and
level of capital. Second, most of the saving is done by the highwealth people.
The capital held by the very poor people is negligible. These two properties
mean that uctuations in the distribution of wealth have only a small eect on
the aggregate amount saved and invested. Thus, distribution eects are small.
So, although the agents in the KrusellSmith economy are prudent (they
have CRRA utility), face liquidity constraints which bind with positive proba
bility, and lack full insurance against productivity shocks, the economy in the
aggregate behaves almost like a completemarkets economy where aggregation
holds perfectly. The reason is that most of the consumers in this economy can
smooth consumption very eectively through selfinsurance, hence their sav
ing behavior is guided mostly by their intertemporal motive rather than their
insurance motive.
Krusell and Smith also compare the distributions of wealth from their model
to the U.S. data. Relative to the data, the model with a constant discount factor
generates too little skewness in wealth. More precisely, too few agents hold low
levels of wealth, and the concentration of wealth among the richest agents is far
too small in the model. In the data, the richest 1/ of the US population holds
30% of all household wealth, the top 5% hold 51% of all wealth. For the model
described above the corresponding numbers are 3% and 11%, correspondingly.
In the model people save to buer their consumption against unemployment
shocks, but since these shocks are infrequent and of short duration, they dont
save all that much. Also the model misses on the low wealth housholds. In
the US data 11% of households have negative wealth, while in the model this
fraction is 0%.
As an attempt to solve this problem, Krusell and Smith nd that a modest
dierence in discount factors among agents can bring the models wealth dis
tribution much closer to the data. Patient people become wealthier, impatient
people eventually become poorer, skewness in wealth thus increases. They as
sume that agents preferences are ex ante identical but that discount factors ,
are random and follow a Markov process with transition probabilities (,
t
[ ,).
222CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
% of Wealth Held by Top
Model 1% 5% 10% 20% 30% % Holding Zero Wealth Gini
Benchmark 3 11 19 35 46 0 0.25
Stochastic, 24 55 73 88 92 11 0.82
Data 30 51 64 79 88 11 0.79
Table 10.6: Distribution of wealth: model vs. data
Thus the FE for the HHs problem changes to
(/, :, ,; 1, .) = max
c,
0
n(c) ,1[(/
t
, :
t
,
t
; 1
t
, .
t
) [ (:, ., ,, 1)[
= max
c,
0
n(c) ,

0
s
0
o
0
(.
t
, :
t
[ ., :)(,
t
[ ,)(/
t
, :
t
,
t
; 1)
subject to the BC as in equation (10.16) above.
More precisely, Krusell and Smith assume that , can take one three possible
values, , 0.088, 0.0804, 0.0080. Hence annual discount rates dier between
2.8% for the most patient agents and 5.6% for the most impatient agents. As
transition matrix Krusell and Smith propose (remember that the model period
is one quarter)
=
_
_
0.00 0.00 0
0.00062 0.0087 0.00062
0 0.00 0.00
_
_
to match (i). the invariant distribution for ,s has 80% of the population at the
middle , and 10% at each of the other ,s, (ii). immediate transitions between
the two extreme values of , occur with probability zero, and (iii). the average
duration of the highest and lowest ,s is 50 years.
This stochastic, model has done a much better job in replicating the wealth
distribution in the data. See Table which replicates Table 1 in Krusell and Smith
(1998) for the results.
In the modied stochastic, economy the richest 1% of the population holds
24% of all wealth, the richest 5% hold 55% percent of all wealth, pretty closer
to the data. In particular, the large fraction of agents with negative wealth in
the stochastic, model matches the data, and the Gini coecient is also quite
close to that in the data.
In the stochastic, model, poor agents are poor because they have chosen
to be poor. This choice, in turn, is based purely on (exogenous) genetics: the
degree of patience turns out to be crucial for the accumulation of wealth of an
agent, and the equilibrium interaction between agents with dierent degrees of
patience forces very large dierences in wealth from seemingly small dierences
in patience.
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 223
10.5 Some Applications of BewleyAiyagari Model
10.5.1 Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and
Liquidity Constraints
In an interesting and inuential study, Lucas (1987) estimates the magnitude
of the costs of business cycles to be remarkably small, only around 0.1% of to
tal U.S. consumption. But he used the completemarket model that assumes
perfect insurance of the idiosyncratic risk. Ayse Imrohoroglu (1989) examines
whether the magnitude of the costs of business cycles in economies with incom
plete insurance markets diers signicantly frorn the cost estimates found in an
environment with perfect insurance.
Model Setup
It is very similar to Aiyagari model in a partial equilibrium setting. The economy
consists of many innitely lived individuals who are dierent at a point in tirne
only in their asset holdings and ernployment opportunities. They maximize
max 1
0
o
=0
,

n(c

)
where period utility function takes the CRRA form
n(c) =
c
lc
1
1 o
, o 0.
Agents are endowed with one indivisible unit of time in each period and
each face an individualspecic stochastic employment opportunity that has
two states, i = c or i = n. If the employed state occurs (i = c), an agent
produces j units of the consurnption good using the time allocation. In the
unemployed state (i = n), the agent produces 0j units of consumption good
through household production, where 0 < 0 < 1. Thus an individuals asset
holdings evolve over time according to
a
l
=
_
(1 r)(a

c

j) if i = c
(1 r)(a

c

0j) if i = n
.
In order to assess the cost of business cycles, two economies are considered.
The rst economy is exposed to aggregate shocks, hence experiences business
cycles, whereas in the second there is no aggregate uncertainty. The average
rates of unemployment for these two economies are the same.
Economy 1: The state of the national economy : is assumed to follow a
rstorder Markov chain. : = q for a good time and : = / for a bad time. The
transition matrix of : is
1 =
_
j
ll
j
l2
j
2l
j
22
_
where 1 for good time and 2 for bad time.
224CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
As we describe above, variable i = c, n denotes the individualspecic em
ployment state and is assumed to follow a rstorder Markov chain. The tran
sition matrix for i is 1
=
_
j
u,u
j
u,t
j
t,u
j
t,t
_
1
b
=
_
j
b
u,u
j
b
u,t
j
b
t,u
j
b
t,t
_
,
where for example j
t,u
= Ii(i
l
= n
[ i

= c) is the probability that an
agent will be unemployed in good times at period t 1 given that the agent was
employed at period t.
We will have following structure on the transition probabilities of 1
and
1
b
to let the story make economic sense
j
t,t
j
b
t,t
, j
u,u
< j
b
u,u
j
u,t
j
b
u,t
, j
t,u
< j
b
t,u
The overall employment prospects state, :, faced by each individual is a com
bination of the aggregate and individual states, that is, : = i, :. It has four
possible values, :
l
, :
2
, :
3
, :
d
, which stand for employed in good times :
l
= i =
c, : = q), unemployed in good times :
2
= i = n, : = q), employed in bad
times :
3
= i = c, : = /, and unernployed in bad times :
d
= i = n, : = /,
respectively. The process governing : is a rstorder Markov chain with the
transition matrix H
H =
_
ll
l2
l3
ld
2l
22
23
2d
3l
32
33
3d
dl
d2
d3
dd
_
_
where
I
= Ii(:
l
= :
[ :

= :
I
). The transition probabilities of this rnatrix
are determined from the 1, 1
, 1
b
matrices. For example, if :

= :
l
, then the
probability of :
l
being equal to :
2
is given by
l2
= j
ll
j
t,u
.
Economy 2: this economy, there is no aggregate uncertainty. The state of
employment, i, is assumed to follow a Markov chain with two possible states: n
and c. The transition matrix for i is
=
_
tt
tu
ut
uu
_
Ayse considers two types of borrowing constraint in the economy. The rst
one is noborrowing constraint, i.e., borrowing is not allowed
a
l
_ 0
Since eventcontingent insurance is not permitted, individuals can insure only
through holdings of liquid assets. In equilibrium they will accumulate assets
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 225
during the periods when they work to provide for consumption during the pe
riods when they are unemployed.
Another one is an environment that there is a perfectly competitive inter
mediation sector. Agents can now borrow as well as save. However, agents
are only allowed to borrow from the intermediary at a borrowing rate that ex
ceeds the lending rate. The dierence between these rates reects the costs of
intermediation.
Finally for comparison, we describe the environment with perfect insurance
of the idiosyncratic shock. An eventcontingent insurance scheme is assumed
to exist that eliminates all but aggregate uncertainty. At a given point in time
a certain fraction of the population is employed, producing j units of the con
sumption good. On the other hand, those who are unemployed produce 0j
units of the consumption good. However, regardless of the individualspecic
employment state, each agent receives the same amount of per capita income. Of
course, at each period, the amount of income produced in the economy depends
on the aggregate shock and the fraction of the people employed.
Let i be the fraction of people employed in the current period and j
n
be
the per capita income in the current priod, where : = q, /. We have
j
n
= ij (1 i)0j.
The fraction of the people employed next period i
t
is
i
t
n
= ij
n
t,t
(1 i)j
n
u,t
, : = q, /.
Calibration
For the economies to be fully specied, it is necessary to choose the invariant
transition probabilities for 1, 1
, 1
b
and specic parameter values for ,, o, r and
0. Ayse follows Kydland and Prescott (1982) and chooses these so that certain
key statistics for the model economies match those for the U.S. economy. Since
the assets in the model economy are liquid assets, the net return on assets r
is set to be zero. For the model with intermediation technology, we assume
rate on borrowing is 8%. The income fraction of an unemlployed individual, 0,
is assumed to be
l
d
. The subjective time discount factor, ,, is assumed to be
0.995, which implies an annual subjective time discount rate of 4 percent. In
order to compare the results here with the ndings in Lucas (1987), the costs
of business cycles are computed for CRRA coecient o = 6.2. The value of
the risk aversion parameter utilized for the economies with an intermediation
technology is 1.5. The time period in the model corresponds to 6 weeks in the
real world.
The timeinvariant transition probabilities for 1, 1
, 1
b
, for all the envi
ronments studied, are selected so that the variation in per capita employment
between good and bad times is 8 percent. This implies a variation in unern
ployrnent of 8 percent, namely from 4 percent in good times (i
= 0.06) to 12
226CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
percent in bad times (i
b
= 0.88). We end up with
1 =
_
0.087 0.062
0.062 0.087
_
1
=
_
0.8076 0.6024
0.021 0.0740
_
1
b
=
_
0.708 0.4202
0.08 0.041
_
This implies
H =
_
_
0.0140 0.028 0.088 0.0087
0.62 0.870 0.0260 0.086
0.0608 0.0016 0.8818 0.068
0.087 0.020 0.4081 0.844
_
_
Next we will select the transition probabilities for the state of employment
in an economy without any business cycles. Requiring the average rate of un
employment and the average duration of umemployment to be the same across
the economies with and without business cycles determines these probabilities.
The average duration of unemployment the umployment rate in good time are
(1
= 10 weeks (=
l0
6
model period), i
1 =
1
1
uu
= 2 =
uu
= 0.
And
tt
is determined by
i = i
tt
(1 i)
ut
But we have
ut
= 1
uu
= 0.
which implies
tt
= 0.06. Therefore we obtain
=
_
0.06 0.048
0.000 0.000
_
.
This concludes our calibration process.
Computation of the Equilibrium
The Bellman equation that individuals face is
(a, :) = max
o
0
n(c) ,
s
0
ss
0 (a
t
, :
t
)
:.t.
a
l
=
_
(1 r)(a

c

j) if i = c
(1 r)(a

c

0j) if i = n
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 227
Or more concisely by substituting out BC
(a, :) = max
o
0
n(a, a
t
, :) ,
s
0
ss
0 (a
t
, :
t
).
Notice that the DP problem for the economy with no business cycles is the same
as that of the economy with business cycles except for the fact that the state
: = (i, :) in the latter economy and : = i for the former.
Ayse uses the standard discretestate DP method to numerically solve the
BE above (see section 4.2.1). For the nonborrowing constraint case, a [0, 8[
with a grid of 301 points (increment=0.027). For the intermediation technplogy
case, a [8, 8[ with a grid of 601 points (increment=0.027). The overall
state of employment prospects : takes one of four possible values, :
l
, :
2
, :
3
, :
d
.
The total number of possible states for the individual is then 4 801 = 1204,
the number of employment states times the number of asset states. At each
point in time the number of possible outcomes is nite, never exceeding 301.
Consequently the problem is a nite state, discounted dynamic program.
Ayse then uses value function iteration method to obtain the value function
and the optimal decision rule for asset holdings. By using the Markov proper
ties of : and the obtained decision rule, she compute the invariant distribution
`
+
(a, :) by solving the following law of motion of distribution
`
l
(a
t
, :
t
) =
o
0
.o
0
=(o,s)
s
0
ss
0 `

(a, :).
The equilibrium process for the economies with perfect insurance is given by
the equality between per capita consumption and per capita income each period
because storage of the aggregate output is not allowed in this study.
In order to compute the steadystate average utility in the economy with
business cycles, it is necessary to generate time series by using Monte Carlo
methods. Average income uctuates each period and is a function of the fraction
of the people employed. For this economy, individual time series that consist
of 500,000 periods are generated and average utility is found. For the economy
with no business cycles, average income each period is constant. Thus average
utility is computed simply by setting average consumption equal to average
income.
Findings
Table 10.7 reports the increase in average consumption that is necessary to
compensate the individual for the loss of utility due to business cycles in the
environment with only a storage technology (i.e., nonborrowing constraint).
Eliminating perfect insurance signicantly increases the cost of business cy
cles. Increasing the risk aversion coecient from 1.5 to 6.2 increased the average
asset holdings by a factor of 2.6. This conrms the fact that as individuals get
more risk averse, their precautionary asset holdings increase. The time average
of asset holdings in the economy with business cycles is 2.20 for o = 1. and
228CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
CRRA coecient perfect insurance Storage tech. Intermediation tech.
o = 1. 0.08% 0.30% 0.05%
o = 6.2 0.30% 1.50% n.a.
Table 10.7: Cost of Business Cycles As a Percentage of Consumption
5.67 for o = 6.2. The corresponding averages for the economy without business
cycles are 2.26 and 5.76, respectively.
In the economies in which borrowing is allowed and o = 1., only a 0.05
percent increase in average consumption is needed to compensate the individual
for the loss of utility due to business cycles. That is, the cost estimate is reduced
by a factor of six when borrowing is permitted, even though the borrowing rate
exceeds the lending rate by 8 percent. This nding seems to suggest that the
ability to store along with an intermediation technology signicantly reduces
the magnitude of the cost of uctuations, i.e., allowing selfinsurance through
borrowing to smooth consumption buers the eect from the business cycles
successfully.
10.5.2 Wealth Distribution in LifeCycle Economies
Huggett (1996) compares the age wealth distribution produced in Diamond
type lifecycle economies to the corresponding distribution in the US economy.
By adding in several new features into the basic lifecycle framework, such as
(1) earnings, health, and longevity uncertainty; (2) household structure; (3)
institutional features such as social security, income taxation, and social insur
ance, and (4) market features such as borrowing constraints and the absence
of some insurance markets, Huggett shows that the calibrated model economies
can replicate measures of both aggregate wealth and transfer wealth in the US.
Furthermore, the model economies produce the US wealth Gini and a signicant
fraction of the wealth inequality within age groups.
Model Setup
Huggett (1996) considers an overlapping generations economy. Each period a
continuum of agents are born. Agents live a maximum of periods and face a
probability :

of surviving up to age t conditional on surviving up to age t 1.
The population grows at rate :. These demographic patterns are stable so that
age t agents make up a constant fraction j

, of the population at any point in
time. The law of motion for age structure j

dened by
j
l
l
= :
l
j


which implies
j
l
= :
l
j


l
=
:

1 :
j

.
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 229
All age1 agents have identical preferences for consumption:
1
_
_
=l
,

_
_

=l
:
_
_
n(c

)
_
_
Again, the period utility function is CRRA
n(c) =
c
lc
1
1 o
, o 0.
An agents labor endowment is given by a function c(., t) that depends on
the agents age t and on an idiosyncratic labor productivity shock .. The shock
. takes on a nite number of possible values in the set 7 and follows a Markov
process. Labor productivity shocks are independent across agents. Law of
large number then implies that there is no uncertainty over the aggregate labor
endowment even though there is uncertainty at the individual level.
The production function is CobbDouglas
1 = 1(1, 1) = 1
o
1
lo
.
The individuals BC is
c a
t
_ a(1 r(1 t)) (1 0 t)c(., t)n T /

a
t
_ c, c _ 0 (10.17)
where t is capital and labor income tax rate, 0 is social security tax rate. T
is a lumpsum transfer. /

is social security benet dened by
/

=
_
0 if t < t
1
/ otherwise
t
1
is the retirement age. Since the benet level is the same for all agents, there
is no linkage between an individual agents earnings and future social security
benets. This assumption can be viewed as a rough rst approximation to
the highly redistributive nature of social security system. It also eases the
computational burden signicantly as a variable capturing an agents earnings
history need not be included as part of an individual agents state.
Now for an aget agent, the state variables are (a, ., t). Let r = (a, .), the
FE for an aget agent is
(r, t) = max
c,o
0
n(c) ,:
l
1[(a
t
, .
t
, t 1) [ r[ (10.18)
subject to BC (10.17). The solution to this FE is optimal decision rule for
consumption c(r, t) and asset holdings a(r, t).
230CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Stationary Equilibrium
At a point in time agents are heterogeneous in their age t and in their individual
state r. Denote A = [c, ) the state space and 1(A) the Borel oalgebra
on A. For each 1 1(A), a probability measure `

(1) dened on subsets of
the state space describes the distribution of individual states across age t agents.
It is the fraction of aget agents whose individual states lie in 1 as a proportion
of all aget agents. Since the share of all aget agents in the whole population is
j

, These agents then make up a fraction j

`

(1) of all agents in the economy.
The distribution of individual states across age1 agents is determined by the
exogenous initial distribution of labor productivity since all agents start out with
no assets. The distribution of individual states across agents age t = 2, 8.....
is then given recursively as follows:
`

(1) =
_
1(r, t 1, 1)d`
l
, \1 1(A) (10.19)
The function 1(r, t, 1) is a transition function which gives the probability that
an aget agent transits to the set 1 next period given that the agents current
state is r. The transition function is determined by the optimal decision rule on
asset holdings a(r, t) and by the exogenous transition probabilities on the labor
productivity shock ., i.e., 1(r, t, 1) = Ii(.
t
7 : (a(r, t), .
t
) 1 [ .).
Now we are ready to dene the stationary equilibrium.
Denition 92 A Stationary equilibrium is ((r, t), c(r, t), a(r, t), r, n, 1, 1, T, G, t, 0, /)
and distributions `

=l
such that:
(i). Given prices and government policies (r, n, T, G, t, 0, /), (r, t), c(r, t), a(r, t)
are the solutions to aget agents problem (10.18), \t.
(ii). Competitive input markets:
n =
01(1, 1)
01
(10.20)
r =
01(1, 1)
01
c. (10.21)
(iii). Markets clear:
=l
j

_
=l
j

_
a(r, t))d`

= (1 :)1 (10.23)
=l
j

_
c(., t))d`

= 1. (10.24)
(iv). Distributions are consistent with individual behavior:
`

(1) =
_
1(r, t 1, 1)d`
l
, \1 1(A), \t
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 231
(v). Government budget constraint is balanced per period:
G = t(r1 n1).
(vi). Social security is selfnanced:
0n1 = /(
=
T
j

).
(vii). Transfers equal accidental bequests:
T =
_
=l
j

(1 :
l
)
_
are set according to the actuarial estimates in Jordan (1975). The population
growth rate : is set to equal the average growth rate in the US from 195092
1.2%.
Tax rates (t, 0) are set as follows. The income tax t is set to match the av
erage share of government consumption in output (
c
Y
) 0.195 for 195993 period.
Notice that
G = t(r1 n1) = t(1(1, 1) c1)
=
G
1
= t(
1(1, 1) c1
1
)
= t(1 c
1
1
)
c
Y
= 0.10,
1
Y
= 8, c = 0.06 =t = 28.78/. The social security tax rate 0 equals
the average for the 1980s of the contribution to social security programs as a
fraction of labor income.
232CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
, o c c t
1
:

: t 0 c
1.011 1.5 0.896 0.36 0.06 79 46 0.012 0.2378 0.10 0,n
Table 10.8: Model Parameters of Huggett (1996)
The credit limit (c) is set at 0 and for comparison purposes at n. A credit
limit of 0 means that agents are not allowed to hold net debt. A credit limit of
n means that agents are allowed to borrow up to one years average earnings
in the economy.
Table 10.8 summarizes the model parameters.
Huggett also investigates a labor endowment process with regression towards
the mean in log labor endowment. This labor endowment or earnings process
has been estimated in a number of studies. Denote j

the log labor endowment
of an aget agent and j

the mean log endowment of aget agents. Also let 

be
a labor endowment shock that is distributed (0, o
2
:
) and independently over
time.
j

j

= (j
l
j
l
) 

Based on a series of micro studies, Huggett sets o
2
:
= 0.04 and = 0.06. He
also chooses j

to match the US ageearnings prole. Dene a Markov process
., where .

= j

j

.

= .
l


Tauchens method then is used to approximate the AR(1) process above with 18
possible states of .. The transition probabilities between states are calculated
by integrating the area under the normal distribution conditional on the current
value of the state. In summary, the labor endowment process is given by
c(., t) = c
(:t t)
where .

is a nite Markov chain.
Computing the Equilibrium
The algorithm for computing equilibria is as follows:
1. Choose initial capital stock 1
l
and accidental bequest transfer T
l
. Obtain
1
l
by using (10.24).
2. Set n and r according to equilibrium conditions (10.20)(10.21).
3. Given n and r, nd decision rule a(r, t) by solving the individuals DP
problem (10.18) backwardly.
4. Calculate the wealth distribution `

(a, t) according to (10.19), then cal
culate new capital 1
t
and transfer T
t
according to (10.23) and (10.25)
respectively.
5. If 1
t
and T
t
are approximately equal to 1
l
and T
l
, stop. Otherwise use
relaxation method to adjust 1 and T and go back to step 2.
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 233
% Wealth in the top
Credit limit (c) Earnings shock (o
2
:
) 1,1 Wealth Gini 1% 5% 20% wealth_ 0 (%)
US Data 3.0 0.72 28 49 75 5.815.0
Model with uncertain lifetimes and o = 1.
0.0 0.00 3.1 0.46 2.5 11.7 42.8 11.0
n 0.00 3.0 0.49 2.6 12.1 44.3 12.0
0.0 0.045 3.4 0.69 10.9 32.9 70.0 12.0
n 0.045 3.2 0.76 11.8 35.6 75.5 24.0
Model with uncertain lifetimes and o = 8.0
0.0 0.00 2.5 0.50 2.6 12.6 45.8 21.0
n 0.00 2.3 0.61 3.1 14.3 51.1 29.0
0.0 0.045 3.0 0.72 12.1 35.7 71.7 19.0
n 0.045 2.8 0.84 13.8 40.4 80.2 40.0
Table 10.9: Wealth distribution: model vs. data
Results
Huggett (1996) reports the model simulated welath distribution measures and
compare with the data. The notion of wealth used in the model economies is
net asset holdings, a.
Table 10.9 compares the US economy and the model economies along a num
ber of dimensions. Focus rst on the capitaloutput ratio. There is considerable
variation in this ratio. Part of the variation occurs as a result of changes in
the credit limit. When the credit limit is relaxed by one years average earn
ings, the capitaloutput ratio declines as agents can borrow to buer shock and
smooth consumption. The eect of lowering the credit limit is to decrease the
capitaloutput ratio by 3 to 13 percent.
A large part of the variation in the capitaloutput ratio is also due to earn
ings uncertainty. Earnings uncertainty adds a precautionary savings motive to
the model. The partial equilibrium literature on precautionary savings shows
that savings increase with added uncertainty when marginal utility is a convex
function. In steady state the gross savings rate (
S
Y
) in the model economy is
related to the capitaloutput ratio (
1
Y
) as follows
o
1
=
1
1
= (: c)
1
1
Thus, the general equilibrium eect of adding earnings uncertainty is to increase
the gross savings rate by 12 percent of output when risk aversion is o = 1..
Savings increase by 45 percent of output when risk aversion is o = 8.0. Clearly,
the savings eect is much stronger when agents are more riskaverse. The mag
nitude of the general equilibrium eects of earnings uncertainty calculated here
are within the range calculated by Aiyagari (1994) using the innitelylived
agent abstraction.
The table also shows that the model economies are capable of generating
the US wealth Gini coecient. However, it is clear that the model economies
234CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
generate the US Gini by generating a high fraction of zero and negative wealth
holders and not by concentrating enough wealth in the extreme upper tail of
the wealth distribution (especially top 1%). So the problem raised in Aiyagari
(1994) and KrusellSmith (1998) remains.
The fraction of agents with zero or negative wealth is at or above US levels
even when agents are not allowed to go into debt. This does not seem to be a
property of the innitelylived agent model (for example, see Aiyagari (1994)).
In the innitelylived agent model relatively few agents tend to be exactly at
the corner of the borrowing constraint. Thus, lifecycle considerations seem to
be important for generating low wealth levels.
10.5.3 A LifeCycle Analysis of Social Security
As an application of Aiyagari type incomplete market model, Imrohoroglu, Im
rohoroglu, and Joines (1995) develop an general equilibrium OLG model to
examine the optimal social security replacement rate and welfare benets asso
ciated with it.
Model Setup
The model is similar to Huggett (1996). The economy is populated by a large
number of exante identical individuals who maximize the following expected
lifetime utility:
1
_
_
=l
,
l
_
=l
c

_
n(c
)
_
_
The period utility function is CRRA
n(c
) =
c
l~
1
1
, 0.
The share of age, individuals in the population is given by the fraction j
0, , = 1, 2, ..., J,
=l
j
a
l
= (1 r)a
T (10.26)
a
l
_ 0, c
_ 0
where
= n
where 
is the number
of hours worked. The labor indivisibility is introduced here. So if : = c, then
:
=
/; if : = n, then :
= n
/
8
, where is the
replacement ratio.
After the mandatory retirement age of ,
1
, the disposable income of a retiree
is equal to his social security bebets /. These benets are calculated to be a
fraction, 0, of some base income which we take as the average lifetime employed
income. That is
/ =
_
0 if , < ,
1
0
P
T
1
1=1
u
c
1
T
l
otherwise
Hence we have
=
_
_
_
(1 t
s
t
u
)n
/ if , < ,
1
and : = c
n
/ if , < ,
1
and : = n
/ otherwise
.
where t
s
is the social security tax rate and t
u
is the tax rate for unemploy
ment insurance.
The government in this economy administrate the unemployment insurance
and the social security systems. The policy instruments that government has is
(0, t
s
; , t
u
).
The production function is CobbDouglas
1 = 1(1, ) = 1
lo
o
.
Firms FOCs
r = (1 c)(
1
)
o
c (10.27)
n = c(
1
)
lo
. (10.28)
Now for an age, individual, the state variables are (a, :). The FE for an
age, individual is
(a, :) = max
c,o
0
n(c) ,c
l
1[
l
(a
t
, :
t
) [ :[, \, (10.29)
subject to BC (10.26). The solution to this FE is optimal decision rule for
consumption c
I.
236CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Stationary Equilibrium
Now we are ready to dene the stationary equilibrium for this economy. Let
1 = d
l
, d
2
, ..., d
n
denote the discrete drid of points on which asset holdings
will be required to fall. Recall that employment status : o = c, n.
Denition 93 A Stationary equilibrium for a given set of policy arrangements
(0, t
s
; , t
u
) is a collection of value functions
: 1 o 1
, a
(a, :),
c
(a, :), a
s
j
(a, :)[c
(a, :) a
s
j
(a, :)a
l
(a, :)
1 =
s
j
(a, :)a
l
(a, :)
=
T
l
=l
o
j
(a, : = c)
/
(iv). Distributions `
(a, :) satises \,
`
l
(a
t
, :
t
) =
o.o
0
=o(o,s)
H(:, :
t
)`
(a, :)
where the initial measure of agents at birth, `
0
is given.
(v). Social security is selfnancing, i.e., social security is a payasyougo
system:
t
s
=
=
T
s
j
(a, :)/
T
l
=l
o
j
(a, : = c)n
/
=
/
=
T
j
n
.
(vi). Unemployment insurance benets program is selfnancing:
t
u
=
T
l
=l
o
j
(a, : = n)n
T
l
=l
o
j
(a, : = c)n
/
.
(vii). Transfers equal accidental bequests:
T =
s
j
(a, :)(1 c
l
)a
(a, :).
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 237
Calibration
The model period is one year. Individuals are assumed to be born at the real
time age of 21 (model age , = 1) and they can live a maximum of J = 6 years,
to the realtime age of 85. The sequence of conditional survival probabilities
c
=l
is taken from Faber (1982). The age share j
where j is the growth rate of population which is average 1.2% per year over
the last fty years. Since we have
=l
j
= 1
This implies
=l
s=l
c
(1 j)
l
j
l
= 1
In turn it implies
9
j
l
= 1,
=l
s=l
c
(1 j)
l
.
The mandatory retirement age is taken to be ,
1
= 4, which corresponds to
the realtime age 65. The eciency index 
= 0, \, _ ,
1
.
Figure 10.4 shows the ageeciency prole 
.
Raw hours of work,
/, is taken to be 0.45, which assumes that individuals
devote 45 hours a week (out of a possible 98 hours). Given an employment rate
of 94%, the aggregate labor input is computed as
= 0.04
T
l
=l
j
.
Following Prescott (1986), the labor share c is taken to be 0.64. The TFP
parameter is xed at 1.3193 so that output is normalized at one for a capital
output ratio of 3 given an aggregate labor input of 0.3496. The depreciation
rate c = 0.08.
9
Notice that
1
= 1.
238CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70
age
Figure 10.4: Ageeciency prole
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 239
The CRRA coecient is taken to be 2. We take , = 1.011 as our bench
mark value for discount factor.
10
The transition probabilities are chosen to make the probability of employ
ment equal to 0.94, independent of the availability of the opportunity in the
previous period. The transition matrix is given by
H =
_
0.04 0.06
0.04 0.06
_
The average duration of umemployment is therefore 1,(10.04) = 1.0688 model
periods (i.e., years).
In most of the simulations, the discrete set of asset holdings 1 = d
l
, d
2
, ..., d
n
is chosen so that d
l
= 0 (nonborrowing limit), d
n
= 1, and number of grids
: = 601. The upper bound d
n
= 1 is about 15 times the annual income.
When necessary, : and d
n
are increased so that d
n
is never binding in the
simulations.
The umemployment insurance replacement ratio is taken to be 0.40. The
social security replacement rate 0, is our target here. We search over values of
0 (0, 1) in order to nd the optimal benet level.
Computing the Equilibrium
Computing the Decision Rules The Bellman equation for the individuals
optimization problem is
(a
, :
) = max
c,o+1
n(c
) ,c
l
1[
l
(a
l
, :
l
) [ :
[, \,
subject to
c
a
l
= (1 r)a
T
a
l
_ 0, c
_ 0
where
=
_
_
_
(1 t
s
t
u
)n
/ if , < ,
1
and : = c
n
/ if , < ,
1
and : = n
/ otherwise
.
The optimal decision rules and value function for each cohort can be found
by a single recursion working backwards from the last period of life.
Since death is certain beyond age J, we know that
l
() = 0. Hence the
solution the the BE at age J is trivial
(a
, :
) = max
c
J
n(c
)
:.t.
c
= (1 r)a
/ T
c
_ 0
10
See Imrohoroglu, Imrohoroglu, and Joines (1995) for detailed explanation for why o can
be larger than one here.
240CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
The resulting value function
/ T with a
taking on the :
possible values d
l
, d
2
, ..., d
n
. And the optimal decision rule for asset holdings
is also simple, it is an : 1 vector of zeros because corresponding to the :
possible values of a
l
(a
l
, :
l
) = max
c
J1
,o
J1
n(c
l
) ,c
(a
, :
)
:.t.
c
l
a
= (1 r)a
l
/ T
c
l
_ 0, a
_ 0
Now the decision rule is found as follows. For a
l
= d
l
, we look at all possible
values of a
and evaluate the RHS of the FE above at each point on the grid
1. We will pick the a
l
that maximizes the value of RHS. Then this value is
reported as the rst element of the :1 vector of decision rule a
(a
l
, :
l
).
By repeating this procedure for all possible initial asset levels a
l
1 the
entire vector a
.
Working backwards, now we come to age ,
1
1. The FE is
T
l
(a
T
l
, :
T
l
) = max
c
T
1,o
T
n(c
T
l
) ,c
T
(a
T
, :
T
)
:.t.
c
T
l
a
T
= (1 r)a
T
l
T
l
T
Now the decision rule and value function is no longer independent of the idio
syncratic employment shock :
(a
, :
) = max
c,o+1
n(c
) ,c
l
s
0
H(:, :
t
)
l
(a
l
, :
l
)
:.t.
c
a
l
= (1 r)a
T
a
l
_ 0, c
_ 0
Repeating this procedure until we go back to the period 1. We will have the
decision rules and value functions for all ages, i.e., we will have (,
1
1) :2
matrix and (J ,
1
1) :1 vector decision rules and (,
1
1) :2 matrix
and (J ,
1
1) :1 vector value functions.
Computing the Agedependent Distributions To obtain the distribution
of agents, `
o.o
0
=o2(o,s)
H(:, :
t
)`
l
(a, :)
And the distributions of following ages are
`
l
(a
t
, :
t
) =
o.o
0
=o(o,s)
H(:, :
t
)`
T
l
=l
j
. Given 1
0
and , use the rms FOCs to calculate
factor prices n and r.
2. Given prices, government policies, and the lumpsum transfer T
0
, solve the
Bellman equation for each cohort. Obtain the decision rules and the age
dependent distributions following the procedure described in the previous
section.
3. Computing the new aggregate capital stock 1
l
=
s
j
(a, :)a
(a, :)
and the new lumpsum transfer
s
j
(a, :)(1c
l
)a
(a, :) by
using distribution and decision rules obtained in step 2.
4. If 1
l
 1
0
and T
l
 T
0
up to a tolerance criterion of 0.001, stop; other
wise, go back to step 1 and replace 1
0
with
1011
2
and T
0
with
T0T1
2
,
and iterate until convergence is achieved.
Measures of Utility and Welfare Benets In order to compare alternative
social security arrangements, we need a measure of average utility. Given a
policy arrangement \ = (0, t
s
; , t
u
), we calculate
\(\) =
=l
s
,
l
_
=l
c

_
`
(a, :)n(c
(a, :))
as our measure of utility. \(\) is the expected discounted utility a newly born
individual derives from the lifetime consumption policy function c
(a, :) under
a given social security arrangement.
242CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
s
w r average c K average income average utility
0.00 0.000 2.236 0.004 0.740 5.224 1.220 97.859
0.10 0.020 2.161 0.009 0.742 4.751 1.179 96.293
0.20 0.041 2.096 0.014 0.742 4.365 1.143 95.476
0.30 0.061 2.038 0.019 0.741 4.060 1.114 95.175
0.40 0.081 1.989 0.024 0.738 3.772 1.085 95.339
0.50 0.102 1.947 0.028 0.735 3.553 1.062 95.801
0.60 0.122 1.907 0.032 0.732 3.358 1.040 96.358
1.00 0.203 1.781 0.046 0.716 2.773 0.971 101.570
Table 10.10: Model variables under dierent socisl security replacement rates
Second, we need a measure to quantify the welfare benets (or costs) of
alternative social security arrangements. As our reference economy, we take the
benchmark equilibrium under a zero social security replacement rate 0 = 0. Our
measure of welfare benets (or costs) is the compensation (relative to output
in the reference economy) required to make an individual indierent between
the reference economy and an economy under an alternative social security
arrangement. More formally, let \
0
= \(\
0
) and \
l
= \(\
l
) denote the
utility under policy arrangement \
0
= (0 = 0, t
s0
= 0; , t
u
) and \
l
= (0
l
0, t
sl
0; , t
u
), respectively. Then our measure of welfare benets is i =
J
Q0
where 1 is a lumpsum compensation required to make a newborn indierent
between policy arrangement \
0
with compensation 1 in each period of life, and
an alternative policy arrangement \
l
without compensation. If 1 0, it is
a welfare benets of the alternative social security arrangements, otherwise if
1 < 0, it is a welfare loss. Q
0
is real GDP under arrangement \
0
.
Findings
In Table 10.10, we present our benchmark results for dierent social security
replacement rate 0. We nd that an increase in replacement ratio 0 monotoni
cally reduces the capital stock and consequently raises the net return to capital.
Social security system crowds out perivate savings. According to the results
that we do not show here, when 0 increases from 0 to 0.30, then to 0.60, the
capitaloutput ratio
1
Y
decreases from 4.28 to 3.65, then to 3.23.
In this economy, the optimal social security replacement rate is 30% since it
maximizes the average utility \(\). Notice that when we do not have social
security (0 = 0), the net return to capital r c = 0.4/ which is less than the
growth rate of population j = 1.2/. Hence, according to section 9.3.4, the
benchmark economy without social security system is dynamically inecient.
PAYG social security system corrects this dynamic ineciency. It also reduces
private savings. From the table, it is clearly that a replacement rate somewhere
between 10% and 20% makes net return to capital r c exactly equals the pop
ulation growth rate j = 1.2/, hence we correct the overaccumulation of capital
due to dynamic ineciency and achieve the golden rule of capital accumulation.
10.5. SOME APPLICATIONS OF BEWLEYAIYAGARI MODEL 243
0 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 1.00
i 0.0120 0.0184 0.0208 0.0195 0.0158 0.0100 0.0268
Table 10.11: The welfare benets of social security
However, a newly born individual would prefer a social security replacement
rate 30% higher than this golden rule level. The reason that optimal replace
ment rate is higher than the golden rule level in this economy is exactly due to
the market incompleteness. Market incompleteness (missing annuity markets)
deviates the individuals optimal from the social optimal, which is the golden
rule. Higher optimal replacement rate arises because social security substitutes
for missing annuity markets in providing insurance against uncertain life expec
tations in smoothing oldage consumption.
The associated welfare benets (or loss) of alternative social security replace
ment rate is summarized in Table 10.11. It shows that the optimal social security
replacement rate of 30% produces a welfare benets of 2.08% of GNP, which
is th ehighest among the alternative replacement rates we consider here. This
number is huge! Recall that Lucas (1987) estimates the magnitude of the wel
fare costs of business cycles to be remarkably small, less than 0.1% of total U.S.
consumption. With incomplete market setting and reasonable parameters, Ayse
Imrohoroglu nds that this number could be 0.3%. Hansen and Imrohoroglu
(1992) study the role of umemployment benets and calculate the welfare cost
of eliminating unemployment benets to be 0.67% of GNP. Even with a sub
optimal 50% replacement rate which is close to the current replacement rate
in the US economy, the welfare benets are still 1.58% of GNP. Social security
system, due to eliminating dynamic ineciency and substituting missing private
annuity markets, is welfareenhancing.
244CHAPTER 10. BEWLEYAIYAGARI INCOMPLETE MARKET MODEL
Chapter 11
References
1. Abel, A. B. (1990): Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching
Up with Joneses, American Economic Review, vol. 80, 3842.
2. Aiyagari, R. (1994): Uninsured Risk and Aggregate Saving, Quarterly
Journal of Economics, vol. 109, 659684.
3. Arrow, K. J. (1962): The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing,
Review of Economic Studies, vol. 29, 155173.
4. Auerbach, A. J. and L. J. Kotliko (1987): Dynamic Fiscal Policy, Cam
bridge University Press.
5. Balasko, Y. and K. Shell (1980): The OverlappingGenerations Model I:
The Case of Pure Exchange without Money, Journal of Economic Theory,
vol. 23, 281306.
6. Barro, R. (1974): Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?, Journal of Po
litical Economy, vol. 82, 10951117.
7. Barro, R. and X. SalaiMartin (1995): Economic Growth, McGrawHill.
8. Bartle, R. G. (1975): The Elements of Real Analysis, John Wiley & Sons
Inc.
9. Bewley, T. F. (1986): Stationary Monetary Equilibrium with a Contin
uum of Independently Fluctuating Consumers, In Werner Hildenbrand
and Andreu MasColell (eds.), Contributions to Mathematical Economics
in Honor of Gerard Debreu. Amsterdam: NorthHolland, pp. 79102.
10. Campbell, J. Y. and J. H. Cochrane (1999): By Force of Habit: A
ConsumptionBased Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior,
Journal of Political Economy, vol. 107, 205251.
11. Cochrane, J. (2005): Asset Pricing, revised edition, Priceton University
Press.
245
246 CHAPTER 11. REFERENCES
12. Cooley, T. and E. Prescott (1995): Economic Growth and Business Cy
cles, in T. Cooley (ed.) Frontiers of Business Cycle Research, Princeton
University Press.
13. Diamond, P. (1965): National Debt in a NeoClassical Growth Model,
American Economic Review, vol. 55, 11261150.
14. DiazJimenez, J., V. Quadrini and J.V. RiosRull (1997), Dimensions
of Inequality: Facts on the U.S. Distributions of Earnings, Income, and
Wealth, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review, Spring.
15. Durrett, R. (1996): Probability: Theory and Examples, second edition,
Duxbury Press.
16. Epstein, L. G. and S. E. Zin (1989): Substitution, Risk Aversion, and
the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical
Framework, Econometrica, vol. 57, 937969.
17. Hansen, G. D. and A. Imrohoroglu (1992): The Role of Unemployment
Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard.
Journal of Political Economy, vol. 100, 118142.
18. Gale, D. (1973): Pure Exchange Equilibrium of Dynamic Economic Mod
els, Journal of Economic Theory, vol. 6, 1236.
19. Huggett, M. (1993): The RiskFree Rate in HeterogeneousAgent Incomplete
Insurance Economies, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, vol.
17, 953969.
20. Huggett, M. (1996): Wealth Distribution in LifeCycle Economies, Jour
nal of Monetary Economics, vol. 38, 469494.
21. Hurd, M. D. (1989): Mortaility Risk and Bequests, Econometrica, vol.
57, 779813.
22. Imrohoroglu, A., S. Imrohoroglu and D. Joines (1995): A Life Cycle
Analysis of Social Security, Economic Theory, vol. 6, 83114.
23. Judd, K. L. (1998): Numerical Methods in Economics, MIT Press.
24. King, R. G., C. I. Plosser and S. T. Rebelo. 1988. Production, Growth
and Business Cycles: I. The Basic Neoclassical Model, Journal of Mon
etary Economics, vol. 21, 195232.
25. Kocherlakota, N. R. (1996): The Equity Premium: Its Still a Puzzle,
Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 34, 4271.
26. Krueger D. (2002): Macroeconomic Theory Lecture Notes, Stanford Uni
versity.
247
27. Krusell P. (2004): Lecture Notes for Macroeconomic I, Princeton Univer
sity.
28. Krusell, P. and Smith, A. (1998): Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in
the Macroeconomy, Journal of Political Economy, vol. 106, 867896.
29. Kydland, F. E. and E. C. Prescott (1982): Time to Build and Aggregate
Fluctuations, Econometrica, vol. 50, 13451371.
30. Ljungqvist, L. and T. Sargent (2000): Recursive Macroeconomic Theory,
MIT Press.
31. Long, J. and C. Plosser (1983): Real Business Cycles, Journal of Polit
ical Economy, vol. 91, 13451370.
32. Lucas, R. E., Jr. (1978): Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy, Econo
metrica, vol. 46, 14291445.
33. Lucas, R. E., Jr. (1987): Models of Business Cycles, Basil Blackwell.
34. Lucas, R. E. Jr. (1988): On the Mechanics of Economic Development,
Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 22, 342.
35. Mehra, R., and E. C. Prescott (1985): The Equity Premium: A Puzzle,
Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 15, 145162.
36. Prescott, E. C. (1986): Theory Ahead of Business Cycle Measurement,
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review, 922.
37. Rebelo, S. (1991): LongRun Policy Analysis and LongRun Growth,
Journal of Political Economy, vol. 99, 500521.
38. Romer (1986): Increasing Returns and Long Run Growth, Journal of
Political Economy, vol. 94, 10021037.
39. Rosenlicht, M. (1968): Introduction to Analysis, Dover Publications Inc.
40. Solow, R. M. (1956): A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth,
Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 70, 6594.
41. Stokey, N. and R. Lucas, with E. C. Prescott (1989): Recursive Methods
in Economic Dynamics, Harvard University Press.
42. Stokey, N. and S. Rebelo (1995): Growth Eects of FlatRate Taxes,
Journal of Political Economy, vol. 103, 519550.
43. Tauchen, G. (1986): Finite State Markov Chain Approximations to Uni
variate and Vector Autoregressions, Economic Letters, vol. 20, 177181.