A healthy financial system encourages the efficient allocation of capital and risk. The collapse of the house price bubble led to the financial crisis that started in 2007. There is a large empirical literature concerning the relation between asset price bubbles and financial crises. I evaluate the key studies with the respect to the following questions. To what extent do the empirical relations in the existing literature help to identify asset price bubbles ex-ante or ex-post? Do the empirical studies have theoretical foundations? On the basis of that critique, I explain why the application of stochastic optimal control (SOC)/dynamic risk management is a much more effective approach to determine the optimal degree of leverage, the optimum and excessive risk and the probability of a debt crisis. The theoretically founded early warning signals of a crisis are shown to be superior, in general, to those empirical relations in the literature. Moreover the SOC analysis provides a theoretical explanation of the extent that the empirical measures in the literature can be useful.
stochastic optimal control mortgage and financial crises Ito equation optimal dynamic risk management warning signals of crisis optimal leverage and debt ratios Congressional Oversight Panel Case-Shiller index