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Signaling in a Global Game: Coordination and Policy Traps

  • George-Marios Angeletos
  • Christian Hellwig
  • Alessandro Pavan

This paper examines the ability of a policy maker to control equilibrium outcomes in a global coordination game; applications include currency attacks, bank runs, and debt crises. A unique equilibrium is known to survive when the policy is exogenously fixed. We show that, by conveying information, endogenous policy re-introduces multiple equilibria. Multiplicity obtains even in environments where the policy is observed with idiosyncratic noise. It is sustained by the agents coordinating on different interpretations of, and different reactions to, the same policy choices. The policy maker is thus trapped into a position where both the optimal policy and the coordination outcome are dictated by self-fulfilling market expectations.

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1400.pdf
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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1400.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1400
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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Fax: 847/491-2530
Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/Email:


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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  2. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
  3. Jean-Charles Rochet & Xavier Vives, 2002. "Coordination Failures and the Lender of Last Resort: Was Bagehot Right After All?," FMG Discussion Papers dp408, Financial Markets Group.
  4. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "Expectation Traps and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 715-741.
  5. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  6. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1998. "Expectation Traps and Discretion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 462-492, August.
  7. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  8. Carlsson, Hans & van Damme, Eric, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 989-1018, September.
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  13. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-61, September.
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  16. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
  17. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Global Games: Theory and Applications," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1275, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. Hellwig, Christian, 2002. "Public Information, Private Information, and the Multiplicity of Equilibria in Coordination Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 191-222, December.
  19. George-Marios Angeletos & Christian Hellwig & Alessandro Pavan, 2003. "Coordination and Policy Traps," NBER Working Papers 9767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1997. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-fulfilling Currency Attacks," CEPR Discussion Papers 1687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Giancarlo Corsetti & Bernardo Guimaraes & Nouriel Roubini, 2003. "International Lending of Last Resort and Moral Hazard: A Model of IMF's Catalytic Finance," NBER Working Papers 10125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Christophe Chamley, 1999. "Coordinating Regime Switches," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 869-905, August.
  23. Marco Battaglini & Roland Bénabou, 2003. "Trust, Coordination, and the Industrial Organization of Political Activism," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 851-889, 06.
  24. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Guimarães, Bernardo & Roubini, Nouriel, 2004. "International Lending of Last Resort and Moral Hazard: A Model of the IMF's Catalytic Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 4383, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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