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Keywords:rational inattention 

Report
Rational inattention in hiring decisions

We provide an information-based theory of matching efficiency fluctuations. Rationally inattentive firms have limited capacity to process information and cannot perfectly identify suitable applicants. During recessions, higher losses from hiring unsuitable workers cause firms to be more selective in hiring. When firms cannot obtain sufficient information about applicants, they err on the side of caution and accept fewer applicants to minimize losses from hiring unsuitable workers. Pro-cyclical acceptance rates drive a wedge between meeting and hiring rates, explaining fluctuations in matching ...
Staff Reports , Paper 878

Report
Information acquisition and financial intermediation

Informational advantages of specialists relative to households lead to disagreement between the two in an intermediated market. Although households can acquire additional signals to reduce the informational asymmetry, the additional information is costly, making it rational for households to limit the accuracy of the signals they observe. I show that this leads the equity capital constraint to bind more frequently, making the asset prices in the economy more volatile unconditionally. When disagreement between households and specialists is high, however, return volatility decreases. I find ...
Staff Reports , Paper 571

Working Paper
What we don’t know doesn’t hurt us: rational inattention and the permanent income hypothesis in general equilibrium

This paper derives the general equilibrium effects of rational inattention (or RI; Sims 2003,2010) in a model of incomplete income insurance (Huggett 1993, Wang 2003). We show that,under the assumption of CARA utility with Gaussian shocks, the permanent income hypothesis (PIH) arises in steady state equilibrium due to a balancing of precautionary savings and impatience. We then explore how RI affects the equilibrium joint dynamics of consumption, income and wealth, and find that elastic attention can make the model fit the data better. We finally show that the welfare costs of incomplete ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 14-14

Working Paper
Elastic attention, risk sharing, and international comovements

In this paper we examine the effects of elastic information-processing capacity (or optimal inattention) proposed in Sims (2010) on international consumption and income correlations in a tractable small open economy (SOE) model with exogenous income processes. We find that in the presence of capital mobility in financial markets, optimal inattention due to fixed information-processing cost lowers the international consumption correlations by generating heterogeneous consumption adjustments to income shocks across countries facing different macroeconomic uncertainty. In addition, we show that ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 15-16

Working Paper
Mechanics of Linear Quadratic Gaussian Rational Inattention Tracking Problems

This paper presents a general framework for constructing and solving the multivariate static linear quadratic Gaussian (LQG) rational inattention tracking problem. We interpret the nature of the solution and the implied action of the agent, and we construct representations that formalize how the agent processes data. We apply this infrastructure to the rational inattention price-setting problem, confirming the result that a conditional response to economics shocks is possible, but casting doubt on a common assumption made in the literature. We show that multiple equilibria and a social cost ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-109

Working Paper
Rationally Inattentive Consumer: An Experiment

This paper presents a laboratory experiment that directly tests the theoretical predictions of consumption choices under rational inattention. Subjects are asked to select consumption when income is random. They can optimally decide to reduce uncertainty about income by acquiring signals about it. The informativeness of the signals directly relates to the cognitive effort required to process the information. We find that subjects? behavior is largely in line with the predictions of the theory: 1) Subjects optimally make stochastic consumption choices; 2) They respond to incentives and changes ...
Working Papers , Paper 1813

Working Paper
Rationally Inattentive Savers and Monetary Policy Changes: A Laboratory Experiment

We present a model where rationally inattentive agents decide how much to save while imperfectly tracking interest rate changes. Suitable assumptions on agents’ preferences and interest rate distribution allow us to derive testable theoretical predictions and their implications for monetary policy. We probe these predictions using a laboratory experiment with induced inattention that closely reflects the theoretical assumptions. We find that, empirically, the laboratory data corroborates the results of the theoretical model. In particular, we show that experimental subjects respond to ...
Working Papers , Paper 1915

Working Paper
Rational Inattention via Ignorance Equivalence

We present a novel approach to finite Rational Inattention (RI) models basedon the ignorance equivalent, a fictitious action with state-dependent payoffsthat effectively summarizes the optimal learning and conditional choices. Theignorance equivalent allows us to recast the RI problem as a standard expectedutility maximization over an augmented choice set called the learning-proofmenu, yielding new insights regarding the behavioral implications of RI, inparticular as new actions are added to the menu. Our geometric approach isalso well suited to numerical methods, outperforming existing ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-24

Report
Coarse Pricing Policies

The puzzling behavior of inflation in the Great Recession and its aftermath has increased the need to better understand the constraints that firms face when setting prices. Using new data and theory, I demonstrate that each firm's choice of how much information to acquire to set prices determines aggregate price dynamics through the patterns of pricing at the micro level, and through the large heterogeneity in pricing policies across firms. Viewed through this lens, the behavior of prices in recent years becomes less puzzling, as firms endogenously adjust their information acquisition ...
Staff Report , Paper 520

Working Paper
Portfolio choice with house value misperception

Households systematically overvalue or undervalue their houses. We compute house value misperception as the difference between self-reported and market house values. Misperception is sizable, countercyclical, and persistent. We find that a 1 percent increase in house overvaluation results, on average, in a 4.56 percent decrease in the share of risky stock holdings for those households that participate in the stock market. We then build a rational inattention model in which households make decisions based on their perceived level of housing wealth. Numerical simulations generate the effects of ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-16

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