On the power and weakness of rational expectations: Logical fallacies, periodic bubbles and business cycles
AbstractA popular interpretation of the Rational Expectations/Efficient Markets hypothesis states that, if the hypothesis holds, then market valuations must follow a random walk. This postulate has frequently been criticized on the basis of empirical evidence. Yet the assertion itself incurs what we could call 'fallacy of probability diffusion symmetry': although market efficiency does indeed imply that the mean (i.e. expected) path must be a random walk, if the probability diffusion process is asymmetric then the observed path will most closely resemble not the mean but the median, which does not necessarily follow a random walk. To illustrate the implications, this paper develops an efficient markets model where the median path of Tobin's q ratio displays regular cycles of bubbles and crashes reflecting an agency problem between investors and producers. The model is tested against US market data, with results suggesting that such a regular cycle does indeed exist and is statistically significant. The aggregate production function in Gracia (Uncertainty and Capacity Constraints: Reconsidering the Aggregate Production Function, 2011) is then put forward to show how financial fluctuations can drive the business cycle by periodically impacting aggregate productivity and, as a consequence, GDP growth. --
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2012-27.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Rational Expectations; efficient markets; financial bubbles; stock markets; booms and crashes; Tobin's q; business cycles; economic rents;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
- G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
- G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-07-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-FDG-2012-07-01 (Financial Development & Growth)
- NEP-MAC-2012-07-01 (Macroeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Young, Alwyn, 1994. "Lessons from the East Asian NICS: A contrarian view," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 964-973, April.
- Bezemer, Dirk, 2009. "No one saw this coming. Understanding financial crisis through accounting models," Research Report 09002, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.