On the Macroeconomic Consequences of Over-Optimism

A new IMF working paper finds that “recessions, fiscal problems, as well as Balance of Payment-difficulties are more likely to arise in countries where past growth expectations have been overly optimistic.”

“The mechanism which transforms over-optimism into future crises seems to run through higher debt accumulation: both the public and private sector seem to “celebrate” positive news about the future by borrowing more. If the expected rise in income subsequently fails to materialize, the amount of debt accumulated turns out to be excessive and negative dynamics set in.”

“Our results illustrate the potency of (non-materializing) optimism shocks and underline the importance of basing policy upon realistic (or even cautious) medium-term macroeconomic forecasts. Speci cally, our nding regarding the impact of over-optimism on the incidence of future recessions provides support for existing models in the news/noisetradition, but we are not aware of contributions which model the particular transmission channel that our results point at. Developing such a theoretical model could be an important avenue for future research.”

Posted by at 7:05 PM

Labels: Forecasting Follies

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