We analyze the effectiveness of environmental policy when consumers are subject to social influence. To this end, we build a model of consumption decisions driven by socially-embedded preferences formed under the influence of peers in a social network. This setting gives rise to a social multiplier of environmental policy. In an application to climate change, we derive Pigouvian and target-achieving carbon taxes under socially-embedded preferences. Under realistic assumptions the social multiplier is equal to 1.30, allowing to reduce the effective tax by 38%. We show that the multiplier depends on four factors: strength of social influence, initial taste distribution, network topology and income distribution. The approach provides a basis for rigorously analyzing a transition to low-carbon lifestyles and identifying complementary information and network policies to maximize the effectiveness of carbon taxation.
2020 / Bao, T., M. Hennequin, C. Hommes and D. Massaro
Coordination on bubbles in large-group asset pricing experiments
We present a large-group experiment in which participants predict the price of an asset, whose realization depends on the aggregation of individual forecasts. The markets consist of 21 to 32 participants, a group size larger than in most experiments. Multiple large price bubbles occur in six out of seven markets. The bubbles emerge even faster than in smaller markets. Individual forecast errors do not cancel out at the aggregate level, but participants coordinate on a trend-following prediction strategy that gives rise to large bubbles. The observed price patterns can be captured by a behavioral heuristics switching model with heterogeneous expectations.
2020 / Donadelli, M., I. Gufler and P. Pellizzari
The macro and asset pricing implications of rising Italian uncertainty: Evidence from a novel news-based macroeconomic policy uncertainty index
We develop a new monthly and daily index of economic policy uncertainty for Italy based on articles from the Sole 24 Ore (a popular Italian business daily newspaper). VAR investigations document that an unexpected rise in the Sole 24 Ore news-based EPU index (EPU24) has mild effects on the real economic activity. Cross-sectional asset pricing tests then show that both monthly and daily EPU24 shocks command a positive risk premium. A standard event study finally indicates the presence of statistically significant positive cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) in the energy sector following different categories of policy-related events. Negative and significant CARs in the financial sector are instead found to be generated by international-related events and political elections.
2020 / Castro J., Drews S., Exadaktylos F., Foramitti J., Klein F., Konc T., Savin I. and van den Bergh J.
A review of agent-based modelling of climate-energy policy
Agent‐based models (ABMs) have recently seen much application to the field of climate mitigation policies. They offer a more realistic description of micro behavior than traditional climate policy models by allowing for agent heterogeneity, bounded rationality and nonmarket interactions over social networks. This enables the analysis of a broader spectrum of policies. Here, we review 61 ABM studies addressing climate‐energy policy aimed at emissions reduction, product and technology diffusion, and energy conservation. This covers a broad set of instruments of climate policy, ranging from carbon taxation, and emissions trading through adoption subsidies to information provision tools such as smart meters and eco‐labels. Our treatment pays specific attention to behavioral assumptions and the structure of social networks. We offer suggestions for future research with ABMs to answer neglected policy questions.
2020 / Pieschner S. and C. Fuchs
Bayesian inference for diffusion processes: using higher-order approximations for transition densities
Modelling random dynamical systems in continuous time, diffusion processes are a powerful tool in many areas of science. Model parameters can be estimated from time-discretely observed processes using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods that introduce auxiliary data. These methods typically approximate the transition densities of the process numerically, both for calculating the posterior densities and proposing auxiliary data. Here, the Euler–Maruyama scheme is the standard approximation technique. However, the MCMC method is computationally expensive. Using higher-order approximations may accelerate it, but the specific implementation and benefit remain unclear. Hence, we investigate the utilization and usefulness of higher-order approximations in the example of the Milstein scheme. Our study demonstrates that the MCMC methods based on the Milstein approximation yield good estimation results. However, they are computationally more expensive and can be applied to multidimensional processes only with impractical restrictions. Moreover, the combination of the Milstein approximation and the well-known modified bridge proposal introduces additional numerical challenges.
2020 / McClintock, B.T. , R. Langrock, O. Gimenez, E. Cam, D. L. Borchers, R. Glennie and T.A. Patterson
Uncovering ecological state dynamics with hidden Markov models
Ecological systems can often be characterised by changes among a set of underlying states pertaining to individuals, populations, communities, or entire ecosystems through time. Owing to the inherent difficulty of empirical field studies, ecological state dynamics operating at any level of this hierarchy can often be unobservable or" hidden". Ecologists must therefore often contend with incomplete or indirect observations that are somehow related to these underlying processes. By formally disentangling state and observation processes based on simple yet powerful mathematical properties that can be used to describe many ecological phenomena, hidden Markov models (HMMs) can facilitate inferences about complex system state dynamics that would otherwise be intractable. However, while HMMs are routinely applied in other disciplines, they have only recently begun to gain traction within the broader ecological community. We provide a gentle introduction to HMMs, establish some common terminology, and review the immense scope of HMMs for applied ecological research. By illustrating how practitioners can use a simple conceptual template to customise HMMs for their specific systems of interest, revealing methodological links between existing applications, and highlighting some practical considerations and limitations of these approaches, our goal is to help establish HMMs as a fundamental inferential tool for ecologists.
2020 / Pohle, J., R. Langrock, M. van der Schaar, R. King and F.H. Jensen
A primer on coupled state-switching models for multiple interacting time series
State-switching models such as hidden Markov models or Markov-switching regression models are routinely applied to analyse sequences of observations that are driven by underlying non-observable states. Coupled state-switching models extend these approaches to address the case of multiple observation sequences whose underlying state variables interact. In this paper, we provide an overview of the modelling techniques related to coupling in state-switching models, thereby forming a rich and flexible statistical framework particularly useful for modelling correlated time series. Simulation experiments demonstrate the relevance of being able to account for an asynchronous evolution as well as interactions between the underlying latent processes. The models are further illustrated using two case studies related to a) interactions between a dolphin mother and her calf as inferred from movement data; and b) electronic health record data collected on 696 patients within an intensive care unit.
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