Financial Instability Prevention
The paper attempts to assess to what extent the central bank or the government should respond to developments that cause ?financial instability, such as housing or asset bubbles, overextended fi?scal policies, or excessive public or household debt. To analyze this question we set up a simple reduced-form model in which mone- tary and fi?scal policy interact, and consider several scenarios with both benevolent and idiosyncratic policymakers. The analysis shows that the answer depends on certain characteristics of the economy, as well as on the degree of ambition and con- servatism of the two policymakers. Speci?fically, we identify circumstances under which fi?nancial instability prevention is best carried out by: (i) both monetary and ?fiscal policy ("sharing"), (ii) only one of the policies ("specialization"), and (iii) nei- ther policy ("indifference"). In the former two cases there are circumstances under which either policy should be more pro-active than the other, and also circum- stances under which fi?scal policy should be ultra-active: ie care about nothing but the prevention of ?financial instability. These results are important in the context of the current crisis. We also show that neither the government nor the central bank should be allowed to freely select the degree of their activism in regard to fi?nancial instability threats. This is because of a moral hazard problem: both policymakers have an incentive to be insufficiently pro-active, and shift the responsibility to the other policy. Such behaviour has strong implications for the optimal design of the delegation process.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2009|
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