George Evans was born in New York City and grew up in Los Altos Hills, California. He attended Peninsula School, in Menlo Park, and Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has worked and lived in England and Scotland as well as California and Oregon. He is married and has two adult sons.
Professor Evans received a B.A. in Mathematics, 1974 (Phi Beta Kappa), an M.A. in Statistics, 1976, and a Ph. D. in Economics, 1980, from the University of California at Berkeley. He also studied P.P.E. (Politics and Economics) at Balliol College, Oxford, England and received a B.A. from the University of Oxford, 1972.
Professor Evans's first full-time academic appointments were at the University of Stirling, Scotland, and then at Stanford University from 1981-1987. In 1983-4 he visited the London School of Economics and then in 1987 he joined the Economics Department at the L.S.E., where he remained until 1993. During 1993-4 he was the George Watson and Daniel Stewart Professor of Political Economy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In September 1994 he went to the University of Oregon as the John B. Hamacher Professor of Economics, a newly endowed Chair. He was named a University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in 2005. Since October 2007 he has also held an appointment as part-time Professor of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Professor Evans has served as a consultant or visiting scholar at the Financial Markets Group, L.S.E. (1990-2), the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (Summer 1992), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington D.C. (4/97 and 4/2001), and the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland (2002-2009) and St. Louis (2003, 2005-2008). During 1991-2 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Business Administration. He was a Distinguished Visitor at U.C. San Diego in March 1995, Professor Invité, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, Paris, April 1996 and June 2001, Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Monetary and Economic Statistics, Bank of Japan, Tokyo, 4/2007, and Professeur Invité, Université Paris X - Nanterre, France, September 2007. He has been asked to give lectures on adaptive learning, economic dynamics and monetary policy at the LSE (Fall 1993), UCLA (Winter 1994), the University of Helsinki (June 1995), the Stockholm School of Economics (April 1998), the Bank of Finland (February 2000), the IMF Institute (August 2007), the Université de Paris X – Nanterre (September 2007), the SIRE PhD Workshop Series in Advanced Quantitative Methods on Economics and Finance, St Andrews (March 2010) and the Santiago, Chile, workshop on “Theoretical questions around the economic crisis,” May 2011. He has given two invited talks at International Neetwork on Expectational Coordination conferences (Paris, 2012, 2013). With Seppo Honkapohja he gave a Plenary Address to the Society of Computational Economics (Seattle, 7/2003), an invited talk to the Chief Economists' Workshop at the Bank of England (May 2006) and an invited talk to the Economic Summit, Central Bank of Chile (November 2007). Prof. Evans has given keynote/plenary talks at: Money, Macro and Finance Research Group annual conference (2008, Birkbeck College, London), Expectations in Dynamic Macroeconomcs Models conference (2012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), Theoretical and Experimental Macroeconomics Conference (June 2014, GSE Barcelona), Workshop of the Australasian Macroeconomic Society (December 2015, University of New South Wales, Sydney), Expectations in Dynamic Macroeconomic Models conference (September 2016, Amsterdam), Winter Symposium in Economics and Finance Universita Cattolica (December 2016, Milan, Italy), Workshop on “Adaptive Learning,” University of the Basque Country (May 2018, Bilbao, Spain), UC Riverside Distinguished Speaker Seminar (November, 2018), Second Behavioral Macroeconomics Workshop, keynote speaker, Bamberg, Germany (June 2019), Bank of Canada Annual Ecoonomics Conference (November 2021).
Professor Evans was a member of the editorial board of the American Economic Review (1991-94) and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control (since 1995) and Associate Editor or Co-Editor of Macroeconomic Dynamics (since 1996). He is also on the Board of Advisors of the Journal of Economic Surveys.
He has been the recipient of seven National Science Foundation Grants and one European Community SPES grant.
George Evans has investigated a wide range of theoretical and empirical topics in macroeconomics including tests for speculative bubbles, the effect of sectoral imbalance on unemployment, the decomposition of aggregate output into trend and cycle, and models of endogenous fluctuations. In his work on "rational bubbles" he has examined the statistical evidence for the presence of bubbles in foreign exchange rates and in stock prices. Econometric work on business cycles showed how to extract the cyclical component of GDP using multivariate forecasting methods.
Professor Evans is best known for his research on expectational stability and learning in stochastic, dynamic models, including settings with multiple equilibria. In these models, economic agents are assumed to have bounded rationality in making forecasts -- e.g. to use simple or sophisticated forecast rules, which are updated over time using observed data. Because agents learn and adapt to forecast errors, they may, in the long run, approximate full rationality. Adaptive learning techniques can be used, in particular, to determine when the economy can become trapped into cycles, "sunspot equilibria," hyperinflationary paths or deflationary spirals, and how macroeconomic policy can steer the economy away from these inefficient outcomes.
This focus on the role of expectations in macroeconomic fluctuations has led to a number of applications. One project showed how complementarities can lead to "growth cycles" generated by self-fulfilling fluctuations in business confidence and investment. A second project examined the role of expectations and learning in optimal monetary policy design and in the interaction of monetary and fiscal policy. A third focus has been on asset price dynamics, showing that adaptive learning dynamics can explain the propensity of the stock market to bubbles and crashes, as well as other asset pricing anomalies. A fourth focus is restricted perceptions equilibria or misspecification equilibria that arise when economic agents use misspecified forecasting models.
The research on monetary policy has shown that stability under learning must be taken into account even in the context of optimal policy: some policy rules consistent with optimal policy are unstable under learning and hence unattainable equilibria. However, suitable expectation-based interest-rate rules do lead to optimal policy under adaptive learning. Related to these results, neo-Fisherian policy prescriptions that advise adopting, for example, a higher interest-rate fixed peg in order to raise inflation to its target, lead to economic instability because of divergent expectation dynamics under learning.
An ongoing project has looked at fiscal and monetary policy when there are pessimistic output and inflation expectations. If the economy is subject to a large negative expectation shock, the economy can be trapped in a deflation or stagnation trap region under adaptive learning, even though the steady state targeted by policymakers is locally stable under learning. This research shows that careful design of policy, and in particular a suitable fiscal stimulus, may be needed to drive the economy out of the stagnation trap and back to the targeted steady state.
Other current research includes eductive stability in real business cycle models with infinite horizon decision-making, new results on the existence of adaptively stable sunspot equilibria, with applications to monetary models, an examination of the importance of heterogeneous expectations, the impact of the decision-making horizon under learning, incorporating anticipated policy changes into adaptive learning, and boundedly optimal decision-making.
Professor Evans has collaborated with economists from the UK, France, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia, as well as the United States.
His principal teaching interests are in Macroeconomics and Econometrics. At the University of Oregon, Professor Evans has taught core macroeconomic theory, advanced topics in macroeconomics, econometrics and time series analysis, at the graduate level, and intermediate macroeconomics at the undergraduate level.
Previously he has also taught courses at the graduate level in monetary economics and in econometrics and at the undergraduate level in applied macroeconomics, econometrics, mathematical economics, forecasting, introductory statistics and macroeconomic principles.
“A Unified Model of Learning to Forecast” (with Christopher Gibbs and Bruce McGough)
“Learning to Optimize” (with Bruce McGough)
"Are Long-horizon Expectations (De)-stabilizing? Theory and Experiments (with Cars Hommes, Bruce McGough and Isabelle Salle)
"The RPEs and RBCs and other DSGEs" (with David Evans and Bruce McGough)
Learning and Expectations in Macroeconomics (with Seppo Honkapohja), Princeton University Press, January 2001.
“Learning in Macroeconomics” (with Seppo Honkapohja), New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, second edition, 2008.
“Economics of Expectations” (with Seppo Honkapohja), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd ed. Elsevier Science, 2015.
"Adaptive Learning in Macroeconomics" (with Bruce McGough), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance, 2020.
"Agent-level Adaptive Learning" (with Bruce McGough), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance, 2021.
“Expectations, Stagnation and Fiscal Policy: a Nonlinear Analysis,” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Kaushik Mitra), International Economic Review, published online April 2022.
“Learning When to Say No,” (with David Evans and Bruce McGough), Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 194, 2021.
“Are Sunspots Learnable? An Experimental Investigation in a Simple Macro Model,” (with Jasmina Arifovic and Olena Kostyshyna), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 110, 2020.
“Stable Near-rational Sunspot Equilibria” (with Bruce McGough), Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 86, 2020.
“Eductive Stability in Real Business Cycle Models” (with Roger Guesnerie and Bruce McGough), Economic Journal, 2019
“Equilibrium Selection, Observability and Backward-stable Solutions” (with Bruce McGough), Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 98, 2018.
“Interest Rate Pegs in New Keynesian Models,” (with Bruce McGough), Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 50, 2018.
“Unstable Inflation Targets” (with William Branch), Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 49, 2017.
“Liquidity Traps and Expectation Dynamics: Fiscal Stimulus or Fiscal Austerity?” (with Jess Benhabib and Seppo Honkapohja), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 45, 2014.
“Policy Change and Learning in the RBC Model” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Kaushik Mitra), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 37, 2013.
“Does Ricardian Equivalence Hold when Expectations are not Rational?” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Kaushik Mitra), Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 44, 2012.
“Learning about Risk and Return: A Simple Model of Bubbles and Crashes” (with William Branch), American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics., Vol. 3, 2011.
“Monetary Policy and Heterogeneous Expectations” (with William A. Branch), Economic Theory, Vol. 47, 2011
“Representations and Sunspot Stability” (with Bruce McGough), Macroeconomic Dynamics, Vol. 15, 2011.
“Asset Return Dynamics and Learning” (with William A. Branch), Review of Financial Economics, Vol. 23, 2010
“Generalized Stochastic Gradient Learning” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Noah Williams), International Economic Review. Vol. 51, 2010.
“A Model of Near-Rational Exuberance” (with James Bullard and Seppo Honkapohja), Macroeconomic Dynamics, Vol. 14, 2010.
“Anticipated Fiscal Policy and Adaptive Learning” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Kaushik Mitra), Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 56, 2009.
“Learning and Macroeconomics” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Annual Review of Economics. Vol. 1, 2009.
“Liquidity Traps, Learning and Stagnation,” (with Eran Guse and Seppo Honkapohja), European Economic Review, Vol. 52, 2008.
“Monetary Policy, Endogenous Inattention, and the Volatility Trade-off” (with William A. Branch, John Carlson and Bruce McGough), Economic Journal, Vol. 119, 2009.
“Monetary Policy, Judgment and Near-Rational Exuberance” (with James Bullard and Seppo Honkapohja), American Economic Review, Vol. 98, 2008.
“Can Perpetual Learning Explain the Forward Premium Puzzle?” (with Avik Chakraborty), Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 55, 2008
“Policy Interaction, Learning and the Fiscal Theory of Prices” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Macroeconomic Dynamics, Vol. 11, 2007.
“Optimal Constrained Interest-Rate Rules” (with Bruce McGough), Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 39, 2007.
“Model Uncertainty and Endogenous Volatility” (with William A. Branch), Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol. 10, 2007.
“Stable Sunspot Equilibria in a Cash-in-Advance Model” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Ramon Marimon), The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, Vol. 7 (Advances), 2007.
“The E-Correspondence Principle” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Economica, Vol. 74, 2007.
“Are Hyperinflationary Paths Learnable?” (with Klaus Adam and Seppo Honkapohja), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 30, 2006.
“Adaptive Expectations, Underparameterization and the Lucas Critique” (with Garey Ramey), Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 53, 2006.
“Monetary Policy, Expectations and Commitment” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 108, 2006.
“A Simple Recursive Forecasting Model” (with William A. Branch), Economics Letters, Vol. 91, 2006.
“Intrinsic Heterogeneity in Expectation Formation” (with William Branch), Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 127, 2006.
“Coordination on Saddle Path Solutions: the Eductive Viewpoint - Linear Multivariate Models” (with Roger Guesnerie), Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 124, 2005.
“Monetary Policy, Indeterminacy and Learning” (with Bruce McGough), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 29, 2005.
“Indeterminacy and the Stability Puzzle in Non-Convex Economies” (with Bruce McGough), The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics (Contributions), Vol. 5, 2005.
“Policy Interaction, Expectations and the Liquidity Trap” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol. 8, 2005.
“Stable Sunspot Solutions in Models with Predetermined Variables” (with Bruce McGough), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 29, 2005.
“Adaptive Learning and Monetary Policy Design” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 35, 2003.
“Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 70, 2003.
“Existence of Adaptively Stable Sunspot Equilibria near an Indeterminate Steady State” (with Seppo Honkapohja), Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 111, 2003.
“Coordination on Saddle Path Solutions: the Eductive Viewpoint - Linear Univariate Models” (with Roger Guesnerie), Macroeconomics Dynamics, Vol. 7, 2003.
“Convergence in Monetary Inflation Models with Heterogeneous Learning Rules” (with Seppo Honkapohja and Ramon Marimon), Macroeconomics Dynamics, Vol. 5, 2001.
"Learning Dynamics" (with Seppo Honkapohja), Chapter 7 in the Handbook of Macroeconomics, Vol. 1, eds. J. Taylor and M. Woodford. Elsevier, 1999.
"Growth Cycles", American Economic Review, vol. 88, 1998, with Seppo Honkapohja and Paul Romer.
"Economic Dynamics with Learning: New Stability Results” Review of Economic Studies, vol. 65, 1998, with Seppo Honkapohja.
"Stochastic Gradient Learning in the Cobweb Model" (with Seppo Honkapohja), Economics Letters, vol. 61, 1998.
"Calculation, Adaptation and Rational Expectations", Macroeconomic Dynamics, vol. 2, 1998, with Garey Ramey.
"Local Convergence of Recursive Learning to Steady States and Cycles in Stochastic Nonlinear Models", Econometrica, vol. 63, 1995, with Seppo Honkapohja.
"Information, Forecasts and Measurement of the Business Cycle", Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 33, 1994, with Lucrezia Reichlin.
"Learning, Convergence and Stability with Multiple Rational Expectations Equilibria," European Economic Review, vol. 38, 1994, with Seppo Honkapohja.
"On the Stability of Sunspot Equilibria under Adaptive Learning Rules, Journal of Economic Theory, vol. 64, 1994, with Seppo Honkapohja.
"Sectoral Imbalance and Unemployment in the United Kingdom", Oxford Economic Papers, vol. 45, 1993.
"On the Preservation of Deterministic Cycles when some Agents Perceive them to be Random Fluctuations", Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, vol. 17, 1993, with Seppo Honkapohja and Thomas J. Sargent.
"Rationalizability, Strong Rationality and Expectational Stability, Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 5, 1993, with Roger Guesnerie.
"Expectation Calculation and Macroeconomic Dynamics," American Economic Review, vol. 82, March 1992, with Garey Ramey.
"Pitfalls in Testing for Bubbles in Asset Prices", American Economic Review, vol. 81, September 1991.
"Output and Unemployment Dynamics in the United States: 1950-1985, " Journal of Applied Econometrics, vol. 4, 1989.
"The Fragility of Sunspots and Bubbles," Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 23, 1989.
"A Test for Speculative Bubbles in the Sterling-Dollar Exchange Rate: 1981-84," American Economic Review, vol. 76, 1986.
"Expectational Stability and the Multiple Equilibria Problem in Linear Rational Expectations Models," Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 100, 1985.
"Bottlenecks and the Phillips Curve: a Disaggregrated Keynesian Model of Inflation, Output and Unemployment," Economic Journal, vol. 85, 1985.