The paper studies the implication of initial beliefs and associated confidence under adaptive learning. We first illustrate how prior beliefs determine learning dynamics and the evolution of endogenous variables in a small DSGE model with credit-constrained agents, in which rational expectations are replaced by constant-gain adaptive learning. We then examine how discretionary experimenting with new macroeconomic policies is affected by expectations that agents have in relation to these policies. More specifically, we show that a newly introduced macro-prudential policy that aims at making leverage counter-cyclical can lead to substantial increase in fluctuations under learning, when the economy is hit by financial shocks, if beliefs reflect imperfect information about the policy experiment.
We add a companion background paper on estimating financial frictions under adaptive learning.