Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.

Three Types of Ambiguity

July 2012
Lars Peter Hansen, Thomas J. Sargent

For each of three types of ambiguity, we compute a robust Ramsey plan and an associated worst-case probability model. Ex post, ambiguity of type I implies endogenously distorted homogeneous beliefs, while ambiguities of types II and III imply distorted heterogeneous beliefs. Martingales characterize alternative probability specifications and clarify distinctions among the three types of ambiguity. We use recursive formulations of Ramsey problems to impose local predictability of commitment multipliers directly. To reduce the dimension of the state in a recursive formulation, we transform the commitment multiplier to accommodate the heterogeneous beliefs that arise with ambiguity of types II and III. Our formulations facilitate comparisons of the consequences of these alternative types of ambiguity.

Publication Type: 
Article
Journal: 
Journal of Monetary Economics
Volume: 
59
Issue Number: 
5
Pages: 
422-445