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Booms and busts in economic activity: A behavioral explanation

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  • De Grauwe, Paul
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    Abstract

    Booms and busts in economic activity are a regular occurrence. They lead to a strong empirical regularity, i.e. that output gaps and output growth are non-normally distributed. Mainstream macroeconomic models explain this phenomenon by invoking exogenous shocks that are non-normally distributed. This is not a very satisfactory explanation as it shifts our ignorance one step further. I propose an explanation based on a behavioral macroeconomic model, in which agents are assumed to have limited cognitive abilities and thus develop different beliefs. This model produces waves of optimism and pessimism in an endogenous way (animal spirits) and provides for a better (endogenous) explanation of the observed non-normality in output movements. I also analyze the implications for monetary policy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 83 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 484-501

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:3:p:484-501

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

    Related research

    Keywords: Non-normality; Imperfect information; Heuristics; Animal spirits;

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    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Paolo Gelain & Kevin J. Lansing & Caterina Mendicino, 2012. "House prices, credit growth, and excess volatility: Implications for monetary and macroprudential policy," Working Paper 2012/08, Norges Bank.
    2. Andreas Orland & Michael W.M. Roos, 2011. "The New Keynesian Phillips Curve with Myopic Agents," Ruhr Economic Papers 0281, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Driscoll, John C. & Holden, Steinar, 2014. "Behavioral Economics and Macroeconomic Models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Bernd Hayo & Matthias Uhl, 2014. "Taxation and Consumption: Evidence from a Representative Survey of the German Population," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201420, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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