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511b

Spring 1998

C. Sims

**Linear Rational Expectations Model Exercise Answers
**

(i) - (iii): The FOC’s in the general case are ∂C: ∂A: 1 − Ct = λ t [1] [2] λ t = βEt λ t +1 ⋅ 1 + r + µ t

b g

with µ t = 0 when (3) is not binding, and λ t = 0 when (2) is not binding. (Equations in this answer sheet are in square brackets, while those in the original problem set are in ordinary parentheses.) To answer (ii) first, just set λ t ≡ 0 in [1] and [2], to obtain Ct = 1 µt = 0 . [3] [4]

Because there is no dynamic constraint active, there is no conventional transversality condition in this version of the problem. The equation system in C, A, and µ, when [3] and [4] are combined with the binding constraint (3), is

LM1 MM0 N0

0 0 Ct 1 1 0 At = 0 . 0 1 µt 0

OPLM PPMM QN

OP PP Q

LM OP MM PP NQ

[5]

If we introduce a variable X t = Yt −1 to cast the full system into first-order form, the equation describing the evolution of the exogenous random income variable Yt becomes the two-equation system . LM1 0OPLM Y OP = LM15 N0 1 Q N X Q N 1

t t

−.75 Yt −1 1 + zt . X t −1 0 0

OPLM OP LM OP QN Q N Q

0 −.75 0

[6]

To form the full 5x5 system in C, A, µ, Y, and X, we have to combine [5] and [6]. Since each involves a separate list of variables, the Γ matrices of coefficients will be block diagonal. In particular, we will have Γ0

LM0 15 = I, Γ = 0 L . MN MN 1

1

OPOPP QQ

[7]

1

For a general 5x5 matrix this would be impractical as a hand calculation. Thus for this solution to be viable and consistent with all the equations of the system. when current income always suffices to support the satiation level of consumption. to arrive at Γ0 OP LM b g PP MM PP MM PQ MN LM0OP LM0OP LM −1OP MM0PP. iv): We don’t really need the apparatus of matrix decompositions to check the solution for the case where (3) always binds. Is this possible? With A held at zero by the binding constraint. Y. No higher value of the objective function is obtainable than what we get with C identically one (which is 1 2 ⋅ 1 − β . it would have to be true that there is no random disturbance in (4). where (2) but not (3) binds. But is a level of Y that always equals or exceeds one consistent with the constraint on exogenous variables given by (4)? Just barely. The set of equations we will use.25PP MM1PP MN 0 PQ MN0PQ LM−1 MM 0 = 1 MM 0 MN 0 0 −1 0 β ⋅ 1+ r 1 0 0 0 0 0 [8] For (i) the system is more complicated.75 0 1 0 OP PP PP PQ [9] [10] Here the variables are ordered C. C = MM 0 PP . If Y ≥ 1 with probability one. is obtained by setting µ to zero in [1] and [2] and stacking up the results with the active constraint and the exogenous variable dynamics. λ. . Π = MM1PP. Π = 0. this means that Y must always equal or exceed one. Recall that c b gh in this solution we assume that (2) never binds. For the other case. Taking unconditional expectations of all terms in that equation allows us to conclude that EY = 1. it is clearly feasible and optimal to accumulate no capital and to consume at the satiation level at all times. 0 15 −. or equivalently that z t = 0 with probability one for all t. but the 2 . This implies C is identically one. (2) simply asserts Ct ≤ Yt . then necessarily Y = 1 with probability one. A.LM 1 OP LM0OP MM0PP. while also EY = 1. X . Under these circumstances. in which λ takes the place of µ from the system above.25PP 0 MN0PQ MN0PQ MN 0 PQ 0 0 −1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 . With Ct always equal to one. we do need to carry out matrix decompositions. C = MM 0 PP . 0 Ψ= 0 MM. 0 Ψ= 0 MM1PP MM0PP MM. Γ1 = 0 1 + r 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 . The only question is whether this is feasible. which is the satiation level of consumption.

the lower right block of the inverse is just the identity. The inverse of the upper left block is found by straightforward calculation to be LM−1 MM 1 MN 0 LM−1 MM 1 NM 0 which reduces to β β −1 −1 − β −1 ⋅ 1 + r β −1 β −1 b g ⋅ b1 + r g ⋅ b1 + r g 0 −1 −1 −1 OP 1P . This makes all the hard calculations 2x2 or 3x3. with a 3x3 block in the upper left and a 2x2 in the lower right. The first task is to invert Γ0 . 0P PQ 0 0 0 = −H ⋅ I . The inverse of a block triangular matrix is block triangular with the same structure and has the inverses of its diagonal submatrices on the diagonal. the upper right block of the inverse is found directly from solving the equations in the upper right − block of Γ0 1Γ0 = I . or b g ⋅ b1 + r g ⋅ b1 + r g 0 0 −1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 −1 −1 OP L0 M 0P M0 0P ⋅ M0 PM 0P M 0 PN 1Q M0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1+ r 0 0 0 . then the condition we solve to get H is − β −1 ⋅ 1 + r b g ⋅ b1 + r g ⋅ b1 + r g −1 −1 −1 OP L 0 1P ⋅ M 0 M 0P M−1 QP N 0 0 . so that every column of the product except the fourth is just a scalar multiple of a column of the left-hand matrix.matrices in [9] are block triangular. which is quite feasible by hand. 0 OP PP Q [12] LM0 H = M1 MN0 LM−1 MM 1 MM 0 0 MN 0 − β −1 ⋅ 1 + r β −1 β −1 OP PP Q [13] − The matrix whose roots we need to analyze is Γ0 1Γ1 .75 . To be specific. 0 0 15 −. Once we have computed these. 0 0 1 0 OP PP PP PQ [14] This matrix multiplication is easy because every column of the right-hand matrix except the fourth has only a single element. 0 [11] − If we let H stand for the upper right corner of Γ0 1 . The result is 3 .

2 d i b g First. according to whether or not β −1 b g t ≤ 1 + r . So long as the interest rate is positive. suppose 1+r is strictly the largest root. 1 −1 −1 OP −.LM0 MM0 MM0 MN0 0 −1 0 1+ r 0 0 0 − β −1 ⋅ 1 + r β −1 β −1 b g ⋅ b1 + r g ⋅ b1 + r g 0 0 −1 0 . To find a left eigenvector of [15] of the form [a 1 b c d ] corresponding to the eigenvalue ρ. −1 β −1 ⋅ 1 + r . jb g b gd i [16] The roots of the quadratic factor in this expression are complex and equal to . Thus they give rise to a component of the solution that decays in magnitude as . So we have to consider some cases. may or may not exceed one in absolute value. 0 15 . P −. We know from [2] that E λ t grows at the rate β − t ⋅ 1 + r [17] b g −t . Therefore we expect that transversality will rule out solutions with components that grow as fast as 1 + r . 15 0 . . Thus we will impose as a stability condition that the component of the solution corresponding to the 1+r root −1 be suppressed.75P P 0 Q 0 [15] The characteristic polynomial of this matrix is easily found as eβ ⋅ b1 + r g −1 − λ ⋅ 1 + r − λ ⋅ − λ λ2 − 15λ +. β −1 ⋅ 1 + r . The other non-zero root.) For ρ=1+r.75P 0 P = ρ ⋅ [a 1 b c d ] .866 t (which has a half life of 4. The conventional transversality condition is b g β t E λ t At → 0 . may or may not equal or exceed 1+r. this becomes the system 4 . so normalizing on the first element of the vector only works for the ρ = 0 root.8 years) and oscillates with a period of 6 years. The other non-zero root.75 . 15 1 −1 −1 OP −. given by 1+r.75P 0 P P −. we solve the equation LM0 MM0 [a 1 b c d ] ⋅ 0 MM0 MN0 0 1+ r 0 0 0 − β −1 ⋅ 1 + r β −1 β −1 b g ⋅ b1 + r g ⋅ b1 + r g 0 0 −1 0 15 . there is at least one unstable root in the system.75P P 0 Q 0 (Why not [1 a b c d] instead of [a 1 b c d ]? Because it turns out the first element has to be zero.866e ± iπ 3 .

1+r and −1 b g 2 b g ⋅a b1 + r g β = b1 + r g β b1 + b − agβ b1 + r g = b1 + r g β ⋅ b .75b1 + c g = b1 + r gd Clearly a = 0 and b = 1 eb1 + r g β − 1j . then. 15b1 + c g + d = b1 + r g ⋅ c −. then 1+r is no longer the largest root. no more than one stability condition can be imposed. b > −1. From [19] it is easy to check that 1 + c ≠ 0 . though there will be exceptions.75 . so this “spanning” condition just requires that the righthand side of [22] be non-zero if the right-hand side of [21] is. because as long as β and 1+r are positive. would generate violations of transversality if present. and both roots. β −1 . We expect generally that when there is only one endogenous error. −1 [22] This will always be satisfied.0 = 1+ r ⋅a [18] b1 + b − agβ b1 + r g = b1 + r g ⋅ b .75b1 + c g = β b1 + r g d 0 = β −1 ⋅ 1 + r −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 [23] 5 . The coefficients c and d can then be solved for from the −1 −1 2 b g 1+ r = 1+ r last two equations of [18] and are found to be c= −3 ⋅ 1 + r 3 + 6r . 15b1 + c g + d = β b1 + r g ⋅ c . . −. (Of course in this simple example b and c are scalars. So our conclusion is that there is in this case a unique solution to all the FOC’s including conventional transversality. d= 2 . The existence condition is that the column space of 0 1 b c d Γ0−1Ψ = 1 + c be spanned by that of [0 1 b c d ]Γ0−1Π = β −1 ⋅ 1 + r [21] eb g jb g [20] b g b1 + bg . 4r + 2r + 1 4r + 2r + 1 2 2 b g [19] The stability condition has the form. − λ t = 1 + r β − 1 At + cYt + dYt −1 −. The second stability condition has coefficients found from b1 + r g When 1 + r β ≤ 1 . so that the stability condition fixes the value of η and thereby guarantees there is no possibility of non-uniqueness.

in this case. so it implies as a stability condition At = − c2Yt − d2Yt −1 −. However. eventually. Thus no solution exists in this case. and satisfies all FOC’s. It may be easiest to see that the proposed solution is not a solution by a direct −1 argument. this altered policy improves utility in comparison −1 with our apparent solution to the problem. has actually given us a spurious solution. seems to satisfy every condition for an optimum. then we have from [2] that Et Ct +1 > Ct . then (3) binding. including conventional transversality. for example is the c component of the eigenvector associated with the j’th root. (The algebra is a little tedious.. N1 + c Q 1 2 2 [25] where c j . This allows us to apply a useful result known as the martingale convergence theorem: b g b g 6 . which makes C depend positively on A. Not only has the second case given us no equilibrium. and to keep (3) nonbinding it will have to explode in a positive direction. is not a scalar multiple of) the right-hand side of [26]. the problem is just that the true solution generally has (2) binding for a while. If 1 + r β −1 <1. all t.75+. Thus the message that our linear system cannot produce a solution is correct. while keeping the A time path unchanged.e. and the lower term positive. This of course makes (2) non-binding at these dates. but this is certainly feasible. If C ever becomes greater than one. Having done all this work. this is a case where the conventional transversality condition is inadequate. though. Since C is the satiation level of consumption. Checking for existence. −1 −1 [26] As is usual in cases like this with more unstable roots than η’s. but the first case. To do so. this implies C also eventually explodes upward – exceeding 1. a convex constraint set. then we can improve on the solution as above just by switching to C=1 on the dates where the supposed solution says to have C>1. But then from the form of the stability condition. we form [24] LM0 MN0 1 1 1+ r β −1 1 0 eb g 2 j c1 c2 OPΓ d P Q d1 2 −1 0 Ψ = LM1 + c OP . It is not too hard to show that both components of the right-hand side of [25] are positive. and LM0 MN0 1 1 1+ r β −1 1 0 eb g 2 j c1 c2 OPΓ d P Q d1 2 −1 0 Π Lb1 + r g eb1 + rg β − 1jOP =M MN β b1+ rg PQ . until it is gone and (3) becomes binding. where discounting of the future is very heavy. If not.This system’s solution has a = b = 0 . at every date where C exceeds one we set C=1. optimal behavior involves deliberately consuming available wealth. Note that in this case the upper term on the right-hand side of [26] is negative. That is. the FOC [2] implies that λ t converges exponentially toward zero in expectation. in this 2x1 case. If 1 + r β −1 >1 the solution will make A explode at that rate. It has a concave objective function. The first case. we find here that the right-hand side of [25] is not in the space spanned by (i. which seemed to produce a unique solution.25c . But we can certainly improve on any solution that implies C ever exceeds one. In the second case. we must now note an unpleasant fact.

all t (which makes it a submartingale). and if there is a random variable (or a constant) Y such that E Y < ∞ and X t < Y . The true solution to the problem can be found only numerically. clearly E λ β A converges to a nonE t t At g ⋅ dAt LM∑ λ d D N t t + DAt +1 gdAt +1 −t −t t t t t zero constant. C becomes exactly one. then X converges with probability one. we need that E λ t β t At → 0 for all feasible A paths. 7 . it must converge to something. the true rule starts to imply lower C (hence higher saving and more rapid growth in A). (Here we consider varying A while holding the stochastic process for λ fixed. as a function of the dA’s.) We know from [2] that E λ β has a time path proportional to β b1 + r g . all t. Hence the uncertainty about its value one step ahead is always the same. For such a path. if C remains always below one. It is feasible to choose an A path that is deterministic and proportional to b1+ r g . But the decision rule. violating the true transversality condition. because this condition is derived from the need to check that iOPQ converges. and when A gets large enough that interest on A alone exceeds one. implies that C always depends on the realization of Y with a fixed coefficient. Convergence of X with probability one means that the probability of an X sequence that fails to converge as an ordinary sequence of real numbers is zero. For the separating hyperplane theorem to apply. The theorem clearly implies that. It will be well approximated by the decision rule we have derived for the linear system in the range where it implies Ct considerably less than one. not just for the A path corresponding to the proposed solution. and it cannot possibly be converging to anything. What’s wrong with transversality here? The problem is that the A path at the solution is not representative of the full range of A’s in the feasible set. together with the constraint. As the linear decision rule starts to imply C close to one.If X is a stochastic process satisfying E X t +1 ≥ X t .

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