The Problem of Money Illusion in Economics
Money illusion in economic theory has been an assumption rejected for academic economists for quite some time. However, with the gradual diffusion of behavioural economics based on experimental research this has changed. Now, it has become a respected fact to accept money illusion as a stylized fact of human behaviour. However, it still needs a better understanding why monetary phenomena especially related to financial markets play an important role in understanding the real economy, the production, consumption and exchange of commodities and services. The author of this paper suggests that financial markets are particular engaged in intertemporal valuation problems which are common to any kind of economic activity. Since money is the unit of account, accounting problems related to the uncertain nature of future economic development makes a continuous readjustment of valuations in money units necessary. However, financial markets are imperfect as Minsky has pointed out. Because of these imperfections the possibility of significant long-lasting valuation problems emerges. One reason for this is that in standard economic reasoning the problem of intentional cheating is neglected. Furthermore major innovations like e.g. the ICT revolution with the Internet or the introduction of securitization as a means to redistribute risk as general purpose innovations make valuations of the long term to medium term impacts on the economy extremely difficult. The recent financial market bubbles are significantly related to such general purpose innovations. If monetary policy fails to control for irrational exuberance of investors about the future benefits and profits of such innovations, this inherently embodies the risk of a financial market shock, if expectations of the general public have to adjust after overoptimistic prediction about the future economic development. The author, however, considers that there are some early warning indicators which would give the possibility of timely action of policy makers to control financial market bubbles. The complacency of monetary authorities of the past decades to do so, has not primarily a diagnostic problem to deal with money illusion, but even more so with vested interests of insiders of private investors on the institution to control unlawful behaviour. By weakening the regulatory framework, failing to establish transparency and accountability of agents eager to get rich as fast as possible without taking into regard the rules of good governance the current global financial crisis of institutional failure to contain the instability of financial markets to an acceptable social level. Money illusion is so as well an expression that unfounded optimism about the self-regulatory discipline of market participates is sufficient to stop financial markets get out of control to an historical unprecedented level.
|Date of creation:||15 Jul 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Miguel Almunia & Agustín S. Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2009.
"From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Lessons,"
NBER Working Papers
15524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Miguel Almunia & Agustín Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2010. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: similarities, differences and lessons," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 219-265, 04.
- Almunia, Miguel & Bénétrix, Agustín & Eichengreen, Barry & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Rua, Gisela, 2009. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Lessons," CEPR Discussion Papers 7564, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Miguel Almunia & Agustín S. Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2009. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Lessons," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp303, IIIS.
- Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
- George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
- Joseph Farrell & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 103-118, Summer.
- Buiter, Willem H., 2008. "Can Central Banks Go Broke?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2000.
"Does Money Illusion Matter?,"
IEW - Working Papers
045, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
- Burton G. Malkiel, 2003. "The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 59-82, Winter.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
- Reuven Glick & Ramon Moreno & Mark M. Spiegel, 2001. "Financial crises in emerging markets," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue mar.23.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
- Edgar Feige & James Dean, 2002. "Dollarization and Euroization in Transition Countries: Currency Substitution, Asset Substitution, Network Externalities and Irreversibility," International Finance 0205003, EconWPA.
- George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
- Diamond, Peter, 1987. "Multiple Equilibria in Models of Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 82-86, May.
- Eide, Erling & Rubin, Paul H. & Shepherd, Joanna M., 2006. "Economics of Crime," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 205-279, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24246. 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: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.