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Beauty Contests and "Irrational Exuberance": A Neoclassical Approach

  • George-Marios Angeletos
  • Guido Lorenzoni
  • Alessandro Pavan

The arrival of new, unfamiliar, investment opportunities is often associated with "exuberant" movements in asset prices and real economic activity. During these episodes of high uncertainty, financial markets look at the real sector for signals about the profitability of the new investment opportunities, and vice versa. In this paper, we study how such information spillovers impact the incentives that agents face when making their real economic decisions. On the positive front, we find that the sensitivity of equilibrium outcomes to noise and to higher-order uncertainty is amplified, exacerbating the disconnect from fundamentals. On the normative front, we find that these effects are symptoms of constrained inefficiency; we then identify policies that can improve welfare without requiring the government to have any informational advantage vis-a-vis the market. At the heart of these results is a distortion that induces a conventional neoclassical economy to behave as a Keynesian "beauty contest" and to exhibit fluctuations that may look like "irrational exuberance" to an outside observer.

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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 1502.

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Date of creation: 05 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1502
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  12. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Efficient Use of Information and Social Value of Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1103-1142, 07.
  13. Hellwig, Christian & Veldkamp, Laura, 2007. "Knowing What Others Know: Coordination Motives in Information Acquisition," CEPR Discussion Papers 6506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. James Dow & Gary Gorton, . "Stock Market Efficiency and Economic Efficiency: Is There a Connection?," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  15. Jennifer La'O, 2010. "Collateral Constraints and Noisy Fluctuations," 2010 Meeting Papers 780, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. George-Marios Angeletos & Jennifer La'O, 2009. "Noisy Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 14982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • George-Marios Angeletos & Jennifer La'O, 2010. "Noisy Business Cycles," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 319-378 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Itay Goldstein & Alexander Guembel, 2008. "Manipulation and the Allocational Role of Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 133-164.
  18. Vives, X., 1993. "Learning from Others," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 206.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  19. Dupor, Bill, 2005. "Stabilizing non-fundamental asset price movements under discretion and limited information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 727-747, May.
  20. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2012. "Endogenous Information Acquisition in Coordination Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 340-374.
  21. George-Marios Angeletos & Guido Lorenzoni & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Wall Street and Silicon Valley: A Delicate Interaction," NBER Working Papers 13475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Xavier Vives, 2007. "Information and Learning in Markets," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001520, UCLA Department of Economics.
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