The Jackson Hole Consensus: Central Bankers & Assets

by Hugh

In my post about the the stock market bubble(s) of the past 15 years, I asked what kind of policy shift happened in the 1990s to allow such a significant change in stock asset valuation. The answer comes from Niall Ferguson, in this fabulous (and scary) interview in the Globe:

“Monetary policy evolved in a peculiar way in the 1990s towards de facto or de jure targeting of inflation, an increasingly narrow concept of inflation – core CPI. I thought it was a mistake at the time because it seemed to me crazy to ignore asset prices. Why differentiate? What’s the difference between pricing a loaf and pricing a house? Why do we care about one and not the other? In fact, we should probably care more about the price of a house than the price of a loaf, certainly in developed societies. I think there was a flaw in the theory there, that essentially you could call the Jackson Hole consensus. When the central bankers got together at Jackson Hole, the view that emerged from the debate in the late 90s was, we shouldn’t really pay attention to asset prices in the setting of monetary policy.” [more…]