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Monetary Policy and Herd Behavior: Leaning Against Bubbles

  • Loisel, O.
  • Pommeret, A.
  • Portier, T.

We 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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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 412.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:412
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
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  1. Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521530927, October.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence & Ilut, Cosmin & Motto, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo, 2008. "Monetary policy and stock market boom-bust cycles," Working Paper Series 0955, European Central Bank.
  4. Lawrence R. Glosten & Paul R. Milgrom, 1983. "Bid, Ask and Transaction Prices in a Specialist Market with Heterogeneously Informed Traders," Discussion Papers 570, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  7. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521824019, October.
  8. Chamley, Christophe & Gale, Douglas, 1994. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1065-85, September.
  9. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Should Central Banks Respond to Movements in Asset Prices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 253-257, May.
  10. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2003. "Financial crises as herds: overturning the critiques," Staff Report 316, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  12. Avery, Christopher & Zemsky, Peter, 1998. "Multidimensional Uncertainty and Herd Behavior in Financial Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 724-48, September.
  13. Stefano Lovo & J. P. Décamps, 2006. "Informational cascades with endogenous prices: The role of risk aversion," Post-Print halshs-00009853, HAL.
  14. Gilchrist, Simon & Leahy, John V., 2002. "Monetary policy and asset prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 75-97, January.
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