Monetary Policy and Herd Behavior: Leaning Against Bubbles
AbstractWe study the role of monetary policy when asset-price bubbles may form due to herd behavior in investment in an asset whose return is uncertain. To that aim, we build a simple general-equilibrium model whose agents are households, entrepreneurs, and a central bank. Entrepreneurs receive private signals about the productivity of the new technology and borrow from households to publicly invest in the old or the new technology. The three main results of the paper are that bubbles (informational cascades) can occur in this general equilibrium setting; that the central bank can detect them even though it has directly access to less information than the investors; and that the central bank can eliminate bubbles by manipulating the interest rate. Indeed, monetary policy, by affecting the investors' cost of resources, can make them invest in the new technology if and only if they receive an encouraging private signal about its productivity. In doing so, it makes their investment decision reveal their private signal, and therefore prevents herd behavior and the asset-price bubble. We also show that such a “leaning against the wind" monetary policy, contingent on the central bank's information set, may be preferable to laisser-faire, in terms of ex ante welfare.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 412.
Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Monetary Policy – Asset Prices – Informational Cascades – Bubbles.;
Other versions of this item:
- Olivier Loisel & Aude Pommeret & Franck Portier, 2012. "Monetary Policy and Herd Behavior : Leaning Against Bubbles," Working Papers 2012-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
- E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-01-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-CTA-2013-01-07 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-MAC-2013-01-07 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-MON-2013-01-07 (Monetary Economics)
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