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Cyclicality of Uncertainty and Disagreement

Osnat Zohar ()
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Osnat Zohar: Bank of Israel

No 2021.09, Bank of Israel Working Papers from Bank of Israel

Abstract: The empirical literature often uses dispersion in forecasts (disagreement) as a proxy for uncertainty, yet these variables behave differently throughout the business cycle. The difference is especially salient in non-crisis periods, in which disagreement among professional forecasters in the US is positively correlated with growth, while measures of uncertainty are negatively correlated with it. This finding is explained using a noisy information model with endogenous learning. In the model, agents observe noisy private information, but only when they are active. Holding uncertainty fixed, a rise in activity introduces noisy information to the market, and agents' beliefs draw apart, i.e., disagreement rises.

Pages: 45 pages
Date: 2021-05
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