Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Financial innovations, idiosyncratic risk, and the joint evolution of real and financial volatilities

Contents:

Author Info

  • J. Christina Wang
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    This paper presents a model in which financial innovations explain three widely discussed stylized facts regarding trends in economic volatility over the past two decades. Aggregate volatility of real variables such as output has fallen. In particular, the covariance between firm and industry activities has declined, and so has employment volatility for the majority of firms. In contrast, the volatility of quantities of financial variables has increased at both the firm and aggregate level. The model links these outcomes to a single hypothesized cause: advances in financial technology brought about by a declining cost of information processing. As a result, the marginal cost of external funds has likely declined, reducing the need for firms to smooth cash flows. Firms, trading off cash-flow vs. production smoothing, therefore have more incentive to smooth production. This explains why financial volatility may go up as real volatility goes down. Moreover, financial innovations have likely also altered the composition of volatility toward a greater share of idiosyncratic risk, by facilitating diversification and thus lowering the premium demanded on idiosyncratic risk. At the margin, the cost advantage to projects with idiosyncratic returns reduces the covariance of financial as well as real activities across firms. Since variance and covariance of real quantities trend in the same direction, real aggregate volatility declines. But the net effect on financial variables is ambiguous and so can yield greater aggregate volatility. The paper then presents evidence that the share of idiosyncratic risk has risen in bank portfolios, indicating that the same has occurred for individual borrowers as well.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/economics/conferences/0611/7_Wang.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

    Volume (Year): (2006)
    Issue (Month): Nov ()
    Pages:

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2006:i:nov:x:9

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: P.O. Box 7702, San Francisco, CA 94120-7702
    Phone: (415) 974-2000
    Fax: (415) 974-3333
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.frbsf.org/
    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information:
    Email:

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy M. Piger & Howard J. Wall, 2007. "A state-level analysis of the Great Moderation," Working Papers 2007-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Mark Bils & James A. Kahn, 1999. "What Inventory Behavior Tells Us About Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 7310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jonathan McCarthy & Egon Zakrajsek, 2003. "Inventory dynamics and business cycles: what has changed?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Chordia, Tarun & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar & Anshuman, V. Ravi, 2001. "Trading activity and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 3-32, January.
    5. Morgan, Donald & Rime, Bertrand & Strahan, Philip E., 2004. "Bank Integration and State Business Cycles," SIFR Research Report Series 30, Institute for Financial Research.
    6. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
    7. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
    8. Hui Guo & Robert Savickas, 2005. "Idiosyncratic volatility, stock market volatility, and expected stock returns," Working Papers 2003-028, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-32, Nov.-Dec..
    10. Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2000. "Optimal Contracts when Enforcement Is a Decision Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 119-134, January.
    11. Gaspar, José-Miguel & Massa, Massimo, 2004. "Idiosyncratic Volatility and Product Market Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 4812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Jermann, Urban & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2006. "Financial Innovations and Macroeconomic Volatility," CEPR Discussion Papers 5727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Judith A. Chevalier & David S. Scharfstein, 1994. "Capital Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2007. "A theory of growth and volatility at the aggregate and firm level," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    15. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
    16. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1996. " Multifactor Explanations of Asset Pricing Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 55-84, March.
    17. Demsetz, Rebecca S & Strahan, Philip E, 1997. "Diversification, Size, and Risk at Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 300-313, August.
    18. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
    19. Thesmar, David & Thoenig, Mathias, 2004. "Financial Market Development and the Rise in Firm Level Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 4761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2005. "Tracking the source of the decline in GDP volatility: an analysis of the automobile industry," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Hubbard, R Glenn & Kashyap, Anil K & Whited, Toni M, 1995. "International Finance and Firm Investment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 683-701, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2006:i:nov:x:9. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Diane Rosenberger).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.