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A constrained min-max algorithm for rival models of the same economic system

Berc Rustem

Journal Article
Mathematical Programming
Volume 53
Issue 3
ISSN 0025-5610

There are well-established rival theories about the economy. These have, in turn, led to the development of rival models purporting to represent the economic system. The models are large systems of discrete-time nonlinear dynamic equations. Observed data of the real system does not, in general, provide sufficient information for statistical methods to invalidate all but one of the rival models. In such a circumstance, there is uncertainty about which model to use in the formulation of policy. Prudent policy design would suggest that a model-based policy should take into account all the rival models. This is achieved as a pooling of the models. The pooling that yields the policy which is robust to model choice is formulated as a constrained min-max problem. The minimization is over the decision variables and the maximization is over the rival models. Only equality constraints are considered.

A successive quadratic programming algorithm is discussed for the solution of the min-max problem. The algorithm uses a stepsize strategy based on a differentiable penalty function for the constraints. Two alternative quadratic subproblems can be used. One is a quadratic min-max and the other a quadratic programming problem. The objective function of either subproblem includes a linear term which is dependent on the penalty function. The penalty parameter is determined at every iteration, using a strategy that ensures a descent property as well as the boundedness of the penalty term. The boundedness follows since the strategy is always satisfied for finite values of the parameter which needs to be increased a finite number of times.

The global and local convergence of the algorithm is established. The conditions, involving projected Hessian approximations, are discussed under which the algorithm achieves unit stepsizes and subsequently Q-superlinear convergence.

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