IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iie/wpaper/wp06-1.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why Central Banks Should Not Burst Bubbles

Author

Listed:
  • Adam S. Posen

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

Central banks should not be in the business of trying to prick asset price bubbles. Bubbles generally arise out of some combination of irrational exuberance, technological jumps, and financial deregulation (with more of the second in equity price bubbles and more of the third in real estate booms). Accordingly, the connection between monetary conditions and the rise of bubbles is rather tenuous, and anything short of inducing a recession by tightening credit conditions prohibitively is unlikely to stem their rise. Even if a central bank were willing to take that one-in-three or less shot at cutting off a bubble, the cost-benefit analysis hardly justifies such preemptive action. The macroeconomic harm from a bubble bursting is generally a function of the financial system's structure and stability—in modern economies with satisfactory bank supervision, the transmission of a negative shock from an asset price bust is relatively limited, as was seen in the United States in 2002. However, where financial fragility does exist, as in Japan in the 1990s, the costs of inducing a recession go up significantly, so the relative disadvantages of monetary preemption over letting the bubble run its course mount. In the end, there is no monetary substitute for financial stability, and no market substitute for monetary ease during severe credit crunch. These two realities imply that the central bank should not take asset prices directly into account in monetary policymaking but should be anything but laissez-faire in responding to sharp movements in inflation and output, even if asset price swings are their source.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam S. Posen, 2006. "Why Central Banks Should Not Burst Bubbles," Working Paper Series WP06-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp06-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://piie.com/publications/working-papers/why-central-banks-should-not-burst-bubbles
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
    2. Eugene White & Frederic Mishkin, 2002. "U.S.Stock Market Crashes and Their Aftermath: Implications for Monetary Policy," Departmental Working Papers 200208, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    3. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap, 2000. "The Japanese Banking Crisis: Where Did It Come From and How Will It End?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 129-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bordo, Michael D & Jeanne, Olivier, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Asset Prices: Does 'Benign Neglect' Make Sense?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 139-164, Summer.
    5. Marcus Miller & Paul Weller & Lei Zhang, 2002. "Moral Hazard and the US Stock Market: Analysing the "Greenspan Put"," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 171-186, March.
    6. Nouriel Roubini, 2006. "Why Central Banks Should Burst Bubbles," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 87-107, May.
    7. Adam Posen, 2003. "It Takes More Than a Bubble to Become Japan," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Anthony Richards & Tim Robinson (ed.), Asset Prices and Monetary Policy Reserve Bank of Australia.
    8. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1997. "What does the Bundesbank target?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1025-1053, June.
    9. DETKEN Carsten & SMETS Frank, "undated". "Asset Price Booms and Monetary Policy," EcoMod2003 330700042, EcoMod.
    10. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap, 2004. "Corporate Financing and Governance in Japan: The Road to the Future," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582481, January.
    11. Laubach, T. & Posen, A.S., 1997. "Disciplined Discretion: Monetary Targeting in Germany and Switzerland," Princeton Essays in International Economics 206, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
    12. DeLong, J Bradford, 2002. "Macroeconomic Vulnerabilities in the Twenty-First Century Economy: A Preliminary Taxonomy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 285-309, Summer.
    13. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-128.
    14. Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Restoring Japan's Economic Growth," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 35.
    15. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    16. Thomas F. Cargill & Michael M. Hutchison & Takatoshi Ito, 2001. "Financial Policy and Central Banking in Japan," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262032856, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bubbles; asset prices; monetary policy; central banks;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:iie:wpaper:wp06-1. 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: (Peterson Institute webmaster). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/iieeeus.html .

    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.