ARTICLE: OVERINVESTMENT & THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF MANIAS & CRISES

“A Vicious Cycle of Manias, Crises and Asymmetric Policy Responses:  An Overinvestment View” by Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabi.  Abstract:

Over the past three decades, we find that asymmetric policy responses heavily contributed to manias and bursting bubbles that eventually trapped the major industrial economies into near zero short-term interest rates with rapidly rising public indebtedness. The article uses the endogenous business cycle theories of Wicksell, Mises, Schumpeter, Hayek and Minsky to show how ostensible counter-cyclical monetary policies are asymmetric, as central banks are less willing to raise interest rates in booms than cut them when bubbles collapse. After interest rates have fallen towards zero, fiscal policy is called on which sooner or later becomes bounded by extraordinary debt to GDP ratios. Central banks hesitate to raise interest rates even in the face of a partial economic recovery because the cost of public debt service would become prohibitive. The economies then languish at very low interest rates that encourage low productivity real investments and a continual threat of bubbles in asset and raw material markets. This makes them unable to deal with further macroeconomic shocks.

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