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A Method for Implementing Counterfactual Experiments in Models with Multiple Equilibria

Victor, Aguirregabiria (2009): A Method for Implementing Counterfactual Experiments in Models with Multiple Equilibria.

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Abstract

This paper proposes a method for implementing counterfactual experiments in estimated models that have multiple equilibria. The method assumes that the researcher does not know the equilibrium selection mechanism and wants to impose minimum restrictions on it. Our key assumption is that the equilibrium selection function does not jump discontinuously between equilibria as we change marginally the structural parameters of the model. Under this assumption, we show that, although the equilibrium selection function is unknown, the researcher can obtain an approximation of this function in a neighborhood of the estimated values of the structural parameters. Under the additional assumption that the counterfactual equilibrium is stable, this approximation can be combined with iterations in the equilibrium mapping to obtain the exact counterfactual equilibrium. We illustrate the differences between our approach and other methods, such as the selection of a counterfactual equilibrium that is closer to the equilibrium in the data, and equilibrium mapping iterations using the equilibrium in the data as the initial value. We show that, in general, these alternative methods are not consistent with the assumption that the equilibrium selection mechanism is continuous with respect to the structural parameters.

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