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The Anatomy of Sentiment-Driven Fluctuations

Sushant Acharya, Jess Benhabib, Zhen Huo

NBER Working Paper No. 23136
Issued in February 2017
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

We characterize the entire set of linear equilibria of beauty contest games under general information structures. In particular, we focus on equilibria in which sentiments, that is self-fulfilling changes in beliefs that are orthogonal to fundamentals and exogenous noise, can drive aggregate fluctuations. We show that, under rational expectations, there exists a continuum of sentiment-driven equilibria that generate aggregate fluctuations. Without having to take a stance on the private information agents might possess, we provide a general characterization of necessary and sufficient conditions under which a change in sentiments can have prolonged effects on aggregate outcomes and when it can only have short-lived effects. In addition, we also provide a practical way to characterize these equilibria.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23136

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