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Speculative Growth: Hints from the US Economy

  • Ricardo Caballero
  • Emmanuel Farhi
  • Mohamad L. Hammour

We propose a framework for understanding recurrent historical episodes of vigorous economic expansion accompanied by extreme asset valuations, as exhibited by the U.S. in the 1990s. We interpret this phenomenon as a high-valuation equilibrium with a low effective cost of capital based on optimism about the future availability of funds for investment. The key to the sustainability of such an equilibrium is feedback from increased growth to an increase in the supply of effective funding. We show that such feedback arises naturally when an expansion comes with technological progress in the capital producing sector, when fiscal rules generate sustained fiscal surpluses, when the rest of the world has lower expansion potential, and when financial constraints are relaxed by the expansion itself. Arguably, these ingredients were all simultaneously present in the U.S. during the 1990s. We also show that such expansions can be welfare improving but they can crash. The latter is more likely if bubbles develop along the expansionary path. These (rational) bubbles can emerge even when the interest rate exceeds the rate of growth of the economy.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10518.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Publication status: published as Caballero, Ricardo J., Emmanuel Farhi and Mohamad L. Hammour. "Speculative Growth: Hints From The U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, 2006, v96(4,Sep), 1159-1192.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10518
Note: EFG IFM
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  1. Alberto Martin & Jaume Ventura, 2010. "Economic Growth with Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 15870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nir Jaimovich, 2004. "Firm Dynamics, Markup Variations, and the Business Cycle," Discussion Papers 07-013, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, revised Mar 2007.
  3. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1999. "Indeterminacy and sunspots in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 387-448 Elsevier.
  4. Manuel S. Santos & Michael Woodford, 1993. "Rational Asset Pricing Bubbles," Working Papers 9304, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  5. Andrew Abel & Gregory N. Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard Zeckhauser, . "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 14-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  7. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
  8. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Ernesto Talvi, 1997. "Saving Behavior in Latin America: Overview and Policy Issues," Research Department Publications 4070, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  9. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2004. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Chapters, in: Enhancing Productivity (NBER-CEPR-TCER-Keio conference) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bart Hobijn & Boyan Jovanovic, 2001. "The Information-Technology Revolution and the Stock Market: Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1203-1220, December.
  11. Olivier, Jacques, 2000. "Growth-Enhancing Bubbles," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 133-51, February.
  12. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1989. "Building Blocks of Market Clearing Business Cycle Models," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 247-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jaume Ventura, 2003. "Economic Growth with Bubbles," Working Papers 204, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  14. Saint-Paul, G., 1991. "Fiscal Policy In An Endogenous Growth Model," DELTA Working Papers 91-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2003. "Stock Market and Investment Goods Prices: Implications for Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 10031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 1993. "Saving and Growth: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 4470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Boyan Jovanovic & Jeremy Greenwood, 1999. "The Information-Technology Revolution and the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 116-122, May.
  18. King, Ian & Ferguson, Don, 1993. "Dynamic inefficiency, endogenous growth, and Ponzi games," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 79-104, August.
  19. repec:hal:journl:hal-00460097 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
  21. Grossman, Gene M. & Yanagawa, Noriyuki, 1993. "Asset bubbles and endogenous growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 3-19, February.
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