“Envelope Condition Method with an Application to Default Risk Models”
Serguei Maliar, Cristina Arellano, Lilia Maliar, and Viktor Tsyrennikov
We develop an envelope condition method (ECM) for dynamic programming problems – a tractable alternative to expensive conventional value function iteration (VFI). ECM has two novel features: first, to reduce the cost of iteration on Bellman equation, ECM constructs policy functions using envelope conditions which are simpler to analyze numerically than first-order conditions. Second, to increase the accuracy of solutions, ECM solves for derivatives of value function jointly with value function itself. We complement ECM with other computational techniques that are suitable for high-dimensional problems, such as simulation-based grids, monomial integration rules and derivative-free solvers. The resulting value-iterative ECM method can accurately solve models with at least up to 20 state variables and can successfully compete in accuracy and speed with state-of-the-art Euler equation methods. We also use ECM to solve a challenging default risk model with a kink in value and policy functions.