A Tale of Five Bubbles- Asset Price Inflation and Central Bank Policy in Historical Perspective
This paper examines five bubbles that eventually popped, and discuses the feasibility of central bank policy. In all cases, we find that monetary policy was too loose during the period when the bubble was developing, and that a determined switch from an accommodating to a tight stance caused "the music to stop". We argue that despite the severe real effects of asset bubbles in all five examples, the case for targeting them explicitly is weak. Policy was flawed because it failed to pay sufficient attention to the output gap. We also present a more formal test, showing that policy errors influence the conditional volatility of equity returns as estimated in GARCH-M models. The conclusion examines US policy today in the light of our historical findings.
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