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Cognition, market sentiment and financial instability

Dow S (2011) Cognition, market sentiment and financial instability, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 35 (2), pp. 233-249.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role for psychology within a structural theory of financial instability, and to consider the implications for policy. While behavioural finance has drawn on ideas from psychology in order to explain evidence of behaviour which deviates from the rationality axioms, it is argued that the way in which psychology is framed by this approach is unduly limiting. Minsky’s structural theory of financial instability, with its Keynesian roots, allows for a different way of incorporating psychology into the theoretical foundations, allowing it more scope. In particular, cognition and sentiment are shown to be interconnected rather than separable. It is concluded that the policy implications for addressing the current crisis, while apparently similar between these different approaches, are in fact very different. The underlying theory involves different methodology, and indeed different framing, from behavioural finance. The way in which the crisis is understood is therefore important for policy.

financial instability; Minsky; psychology

Subject headings
Financial crises; Investments Psychological aspects

AuthorsDow Sheila
Publication date03/2011
Date accepted by journal01/01/1990
PublisherOxford University Press / Cambridge Political Economy Society
ISSN 0309-166X

Cambridge Journal of Economics: Volume 35, Issue 2 (2011-03)

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