Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/229527
Authors: 
da Silveira, Rava Azeredo
Sung, Yeji
Woodford, Michael
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
CESifo Working Paper No. 8709
Abstract: 
We propose a model of optimal decision making subject to a memory constraint. The constraint is a limit on the complexity of memory measured using Shannon’s mutual information, as in models of rational inattention; but our theory differs from that of Sims (2003) in not assuming costless memory of past cognitive states. We show that the model implies that both forecasts and actions will exhibit idiosyncratic random variation; that average beliefs will also differ from rational-expectations beliefs, with a bias that fluctuates forever with a variance that does not fall to zero even in the long run; and that more recent news will be given disproportionate weight in forecasts. We solve the model under a variety of assumptions about the degree of persistence of the variable to be forecasted and the horizon over which it must be forecasted, and examine how the nature of forecast biases depends on these parameters. The model provides a simple explanation for a number of features of reported expectations in laboratory and field settings, notably the evidence of over-reaction in elicited forecasts documented by Afrouzi et al. (2020) and Bordalo et al. (2020a).
Subjects: 
rational inattention
over-reaction
survey expectations
JEL: 
D84
E03
G41
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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