Robustness and Macroeconomic Policy
This paper considers the design of macroeconomic policies in the face of uncertainty. In recent years, several economists have advocated that when policymakers are uncertain about the environment they face and find it difficult to assign precise probabilities to the alternative scenarios that may characterize this environment, they should design policies to be robust in the sense that they minimize the worst-case loss these policies could ever impose. I review and evaluate the objections cited by critics of this approach. I further argue that, contrary to what some have inferred, concern about worst-case scenarios does not always lead to policies that respond more aggressively to incoming news than the optimal policy would respond absent any uncertainty.