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Macroeconomics of Speculation

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  • Korkut Erturk

    (University of Utah)

Abstract

Despite his emphasis on the speculative character of investment decisions, Minsky paid little attention to asset price speculation per se, ignoring asset price bubbles and their macroeconomic effects. That is perhaps because his views were formed during the era of financial regulation, when speculation “could do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise.” Clearly, times have since changed. Keynes’s old warning that the situation “… is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation” has begun to ring true again. To deepen our understanding of financial fragility under present-day conditions, the paper builds on Keynes’s insights in his General Theory on the stock exchange by going back to his Treatise, where asset price expectations and speculation play an integral part in his analysis of the business cycle. More specifically, it develops the macroeconomic implications of some of his arguments that have mainly been eclipsed by his GT. These can be summarized in three related propositions: (1) asset price expectations systematically exhibit self-sustained biases in one direction or another over the business cycle; (2) once an asset price bubble emerges no automatic mechanism exists to check the deviation of prices from their true values; and, (3) mean reversion in asset prices over time plays itself out through a rise in inactive money balances in the banking system, which Keynes called the bear position, as more and more people begin to think that asset prices have reached levels that are unreasonable. This early picture of how financial variables interact with output determination over the business cycle is contrasted with Keynes’s better known analysis in the GT, which, it is argued, does not lend itself as readily to analyzing asset price misalignments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0506010.

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Date of creation: 16 Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0506010

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Keywords: asset prices; speculation; business cycle; keynesian theory;

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  1. Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2003. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," Working Papers 91, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Korkut A. Erturk, 2006. "Asset Price Bubbles, Liquidity Preference And The Business Cycle," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 239-256, 05.
  5. Korkut Erturk, 2003. "Asset Price Bubbles, Liquidity Preference and the Business Cycle," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2003_09, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  6. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1990. "The Noise Trader Approach to Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 19-33, Spring.
  7. Hicks, J. R., 1975. "Value and Capital: An Inquiry into some Fundamental Principles of Economic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780198282693.
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