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Moral Hazard Misconceptions: the Case of the Greenspan Put

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  • Gideon Bornstein
  • Guido Lorenzoni

Abstract

Policy discussions on financial market regulation tend to assume that whenever a corrective policy is used ex post to ameliorate the effects of a crisis, there are negative side effects in terms of moral hazard ex ante. This paper shows that this is not a general theoretical prediction, focusing on the case of monetary policy interventions ex post. In particular, we show that if the central bank does not intervene by monetary easing following a crisis, this creates an aggregate demand externality that makes borrowing ex ante inefficient. If instead the central bank follows the optimal discretionary policy and intervenes to stabilize asset prices and real activity, we show examples in which the aggregate demand externality disappears, reducing the need for ex ante intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Gideon Bornstein & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Moral Hazard Misconceptions: the Case of the Greenspan Put," NBER Working Papers 24050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R., 2016. "Optimal capital controls and real exchange rate policies: A pecuniary externality perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 147-165.
    2. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2016. "A Theory of Macroprudential Policies in the Presence of Nominal Rigidities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1645-1704, September.
    3. Emmanuel Farhi & Jean Tirole, 2012. "Collective Moral Hazard, Maturity Mismatch, and Systemic Bailouts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 60-93, February.
    4. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R., 2013. "Financial crises and macro-prudential policies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 453-470.
    5. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2016. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity, Currency Pegs, and Involuntary Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(5), pages 1466-1514.
    6. Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek, 2016. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 699-738, March.
    7. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2012. "Illiquid Banks, Financial Stability, and Interest Rate Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(3), pages 552-591.
    8. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2016. "Bailouts, Time Inconsistency, and Optimal Regulation: A Macroeconomic View," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2458-2493, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bank for International Settlements, 2019. "Unconventional monetary policy tools: a cross-country analysis," CGFS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 63, September.
    2. Xiaoshan Chen & Eric M. Leeper & Campbell B. Leith, 2020. "Strategic Interactions in U.S. Monetary and Fiscal Policies," NBER Working Papers 27540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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