IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why Bubble-Bursting Is Unpredictable: Welfare Effects Of Anti-Bubble Policy When Central Banks Make Mistakes


  • Kai, Guo
  • Conlon, John R.


This paper examines the effect of bubble-bursting policy in the case where the central bank sometimes tries to deflate an asset which is not, in fact, overpriced. We consider the case of a “semi-bubble,” where some traders know that an asset is overpriced, but others do not. Unlike most previous papers on bubble policy, our framework assumes rational traders. We also assume a finite time horizon, to rule out infinite horizon type bubbles. The market’s “fulfilled expectations” equilibria are derived, and standard tools of welfare economics are applied to evaluate the effect of anti-bubble policy. Under the assumption that the announcements of the financial authority can help less informed traders to learn more about a risky asset, market equilibria are presented and compared. We show that, if sellers care relatively more about the states where the central bank makes a negative bubble-bursting announcement, an announcement policy interferes with the asset’s ability to share risks. Conversely, if sellers care relatively less about the announcement states, an announcement policy improves risk sharing. “Information leakage” plays an important role in our analysis. Because of this leakage, central bank announcements can initiate further information revelation between traders. That is, the leakage effect can reveal information that the central bank, itself, does not have. However, this information leakage may not be welfare improving. Also, this leakage effect makes it difficult to predict the effects of bubble-bursting policy. This may complicate both private investment strategies and public policy analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Kai, Guo & Conlon, John R., 2007. "Why Bubble-Bursting Is Unpredictable: Welfare Effects Of Anti-Bubble Policy When Central Banks Make Mistakes," MPRA Paper 5927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5927

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Should Central Banks Respond to Movements in Asset Prices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 253-257, May.
    2. Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2004. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1654-1668, December.
    3. Dilip Abreu & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2003. "Bubbles and Crashes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 173-204, January.
    4. Owen Lamont, 2004. "Go Down Fighting: Short Sellers vs. Firms," NBER Working Papers 10659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. John R. Conlon, 2004. "Simple Finite Horizon Bubbles Robust to Higher Order Knowledge," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 927-936, May.
    6. Larry Samuelson, 2004. "Modeling Knowledge in Economic Analysis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 367-403, June.
    7. D'Avolio, Gene, 2002. "The market for borrowing stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 271-306.
    8. Milgrom, Paul & Stokey, Nancy, 1982. "Information, trade and common knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-27, February.
    9. Michael D. Bordo & Olivier Jeanne, 2002. "Boom-Busts in Asset Prices, Economic Instability, and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Symposium on Bubbles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 13-18, Spring.
    11. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-128.
    12. Allen F. & Morris S. & Postlewaite A., 1993. "Finite Bubbles with Short Sale Constraints and Asymmetric Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 206-229, December.
    13. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Hans Genberg & Sushil Wadhwani, 2002. "Asset Prices in a Flexible Inflation Targeting Framework," NBER Working Papers 8970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1971. "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(4), pages 561-574, September.
    15. Cecchetti, Stephen G. & Kashyap, Anil K, 1996. "International cycles," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 331-360, February.
    16. Alexander, Gordon J. & Peterson, Mark A., 1999. "Short Selling on the New York Stock Exchange and the Effects of the Uptick Rule," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 8(1-2), pages 90-116, January.
    17. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
    18. Alexander, Gordon J. & Peterson, Mark A., 2008. "The effect of price tests on trader behavior and market quality: An analysis of Reg SHO," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 84-111, February.
    19. Jonathan McCarthy & Richard Peach, 2004. "Are home prices the next "bubble"?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-17.
    20. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
    21. John Conlon, 2005. "Should Central Banks Burst Bubbles?," Game Theory and Information 0508007, EconWPA.
    22. Christopher Kent & Philip Lowe, 1997. "Asset-price Bubbles and Monetary Policy," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9709, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    23. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
    24. Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson, 2003. "DotCom Mania: The Rise and Fall of Internet Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1113-1138, June.
    25. J. Michael Harrison & David M. Kreps, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-336.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. John R. Conlon, 2015. "Should Central Banks Burst Bubbles? Some Microeconomic Issues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 141-161, February.

    More about this item


    greater-fool; asset bubble; asymmetric information; information leakage; Hirshleifer effect;

    JEL classification:

    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5927. 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) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.