Purpose – In the recent financial crisis, many observers have assigned monetary policy a central role in the crisis. Specifically, they claim that excessively easy monetary policy by the Federal Reserve in the first half of the decade helped to cause a bubble in housing prices in the USA. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of monetary policy within the regulatory frameworks of financial markets. Design/methodology/approach – The authors show within a macroeconomic framework a possible trade‐off between price stability and financial stability by differentiating between a technology‐driven bubble and an animal spirit bubble. In their conclusion: if there is a trade‐off between price stability and financial stability, the central bank will have to make a choice between the two objectives. In that case, the question arises of which of the two objectives should take precedence: price stability or financial stability? Findings – From this analysis, the authors conclude that a central bank which uses a lexicographic ordering favoring price stability over other objectives is likely to fuel the boom inadvertently (in the case of a technology‐driven bubble) or will decide to do nothing (in the case of an animal spirit bubble) allowing a process of excessive credit creation. The latter seems to be what happened between 2003 and 2008. Practical implications – If one wants to reduce the likelihood of future major financial busts, it must be accepted that the central banks (especially the Fed and the ECB) cannot only be responsible for price stability. Maintaining financial stability by preventing excesses in financial markets should be an equally important objective. Originality/value – The paper gives a new perspective on the role of monetary policy within the regulatory framework. With this macroeconomic framework, the authors are able to show possible trade‐offs between price stability and financial stability. The micro‐ and macro‐prudential approach of this paper is a useful contribution to the discussion about regulatory reforms of financial markets.
Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 26, 2011
Keywords: Regulation; Central banks; Monetary policy; Macro‐prudential regulation; Financial stability