IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Listen to the Market, Hear the Best Policy Decision, but Don't Always Choose it


  • Reinstein, David
  • Song, Joon


Real-world policymakers want to extract investors private information about a policy's likely effects by listening to "asset markets". However, this brings the risk that investors will profitably "manipulate" prices to steer policy. We model the interaction between a policymaker and an informed (profit-seeking) investor who can buy/short-sell an asset from uniformed traders. We characterize when the investor's incentives do not align with the policymaker's, implying that to induce truth-telling behaviour the policymaker must commit to sometimes ignoring the signal (as revealed by the investor's behaviour driving the asset's price). This implies a commitment to executing the policy with a probability depending on the asset's price. We develop a taxonomy for the full set relationships between private signals, asset values, and policymaker welfare, characterizing the optimal indirect mechanism for each case. We find that where the policymaker is ex-ante indifferent, she commits to sometimes/never executing after a bad signal, but always executes after a good signal. Generically, this "listeneing" mechanism leads to higher (policymaker) welfare then ignoring the signals. We discuss real-world evidence, implications for legislative processes, and phenomena such as "trial balloons" and "committing political capital".

Suggested Citation

  • Reinstein, David & Song, Joon, 2014. "Listen to the Market, Hear the Best Policy Decision, but Don't Always Choose it," Economics Discussion Papers 10008, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:10008

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Breinlich, Holger, 2014. "Heterogeneous firm-level responses to trade liberalization: A test using stock price reactions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 270-285.
    2. Fiorina, Morris & Abrams, Samuel & Pope, Jeremy, 2003. "The 2000 US Presidential Election: Can Retrospective Voting Be Saved?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 163-187, April.
    3. Robin Hanson & Ryan Oprea, 2009. "A Manipulator Can Aid Prediction Market Accuracy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 304-314, April.
    4. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 97-116, Spring.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:74:y:1980:i:01:p:78-91_16 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:reg:rpubli:460 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-1134, December.
    8. Kau, James B. & Linck, James S. & Rubin, Paul H., 2008. "Do managers listen to the market?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 347-362, September.
    9. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:10008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Essex Economics Web Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.