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On Rational Bubbles and Fat Tails

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  • Thomas Lux
  • Didier Sornette

Abstract

This paper addresses the statistical properties of time series driven by rational bubbles a la Blanchard and Watson (1982). Using insights on the behavior of multiplicative stochastic processes, we demonstrate that the tails of the unconditional distribution emerging from such bubble processes follow power-laws (exhibit hyperbolic decline). More precisely, we find that rational bubbles predict a fat power tail for both the bubble component and price differences with an exponent m smaller than 1. The distribution of returns is dominated by the same power-law over an extended range of large returns. Although power-law tails are a pervasive feature of empirical data, these numerical predictions are in disagreement with the usual empirical estimates. It, therefore, appears that exogenous rational bubbles are hardly reconcilable with some of the stylized facts of financial data at a very elementary level.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Discussion Paper Serie B with number 458.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:bon:bonsfb:458

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Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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Keywords: rational bubbles; random difference equations; multiplicative processes; rational bubbles; random difference equations; multiplicative processes; fat tails.;

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  1. Marie Christine Adam & Ariane Szafarz, 1993. "Speculative Bubbles and Financial Markets," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/665, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Hamilton, James D. & Whiteman, Charles H., 1985. "The observable implications of self-fulfilling expectations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 353-373, November.
  3. Ikeda, Shinsuke & Shibata, Akihisa, 1992. "Fundamentals-dependent bubbles in stock prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 143-168, October.
  4. Richard B. Olsen & Ulrich A. Müller & Michel M. Dacorogna & Olivier V. Pictet & Rakhal R. Davé & Dominique M. Guillaume, 1997. "From the bird's eye to the microscope: A survey of new stylized facts of the intra-daily foreign exchange markets (*)," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 95-129.
  5. de Haan, Laurens & Resnick, Sidney I. & Rootzén, Holger & de Vries, Casper G., 1989. "Extremal behaviour of solutions to a stochastic difference equation with applications to arch processes," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 213-224, August.
  6. Fukuta, Yuichi, 1998. "A simple discrete-time approximation of continuous-time bubbles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 937-954, June.
  7. Lux, T. & M. Marchesi, . "Scaling and Criticality in a Stochastic Multi-Agent Model of a Financial Market," Discussion Paper Serie B 438, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Jul 1998.
  8. De Vries, C.G. & Leuven, K.U., 1994. "Stylized Facts of Nominal Exchange Rate Returns," Papers 94-002, Purdue University, Krannert School of Management - Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).
  9. Pagan, Adrian, 1996. "The econometrics of financial markets," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 15-102, May.
  10. Kenneth A. Froot & Maurice Obstfeld, 1989. "Intrinsic Bubbles: The Case of Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 3091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Evans, George W, 1991. "Pitfalls in Testing for Explosive Bubbles in Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 922-30, September.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1979. "Speculative bubbles, crashes and rational expectations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 387-389.
  13. P. Gopikrishnan & M. Meyer & L.A.N. Amaral & H.E. Stanley, 1998. "Inverse cubic law for the distribution of stock price variations," The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 139-140, July.
  14. Ikeda, Shinsuke & Shibata, Akihisa, 1995. "Fundamentals uncertainty, bubbles, and exchange rate dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 199-222, May.
  15. Sornette, Didier, 1998. "Linear stochastic dynamics with nonlinear fractal properties," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 250(1), pages 295-314.
  16. Diba, Behzad T & Grossman, Herschel I, 1987. "On the Inception of Rational Bubbles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 697-700, August.
  17. Camerer, Colin, 1989. " Bubbles and Fads in Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 3-41.
  18. Meese, Richard A, 1986. "Testing for Bubbles in Exchange Markets: A Case of Sparkling Rates?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 345-73, April.
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