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Moral Hazard and the US Stock Market: The Idea of a 'Greenspan Put'

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  • Miller, Marcus
  • Weller, Paul
  • Zhang, Lei

Abstract

The risk premium in the US stock market has fallen far below its historic level, which Shiller (2000) attributes to a bubble driven by psychological factors. As an alternative explanation, we point out that the observed risk premium may be reduced by one-sided intervention policy on the part of the Federal Reserve which leads investors into the erroneous belief that they are insured against downside risk. By allowing for partial credibility and state dependent risk aversion, we show that this ‘insurance’ – referred to as the Greenspan put – is consistent with the observation that implied volatility rises as the market falls. Our bubble, like Shiller’s, involves market psychology: but what we describe is not so much ‘irrational exuberance’ as exaggerated faith in the stabilising power of Mr. Greenspan.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3041.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3041

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Related research

Keywords: asset bubble; greenspan put; monetary policy; risk premium;

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References

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  1. Hali Edison & Pongsak Luangaram & Marcus Miller, 1998. "Asset Bubbles, Domino Effects and 'Lifeboats': Elements of the East Asian Crisis," CSGR Working papers series 05/98, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  2. Krugman, Paul R, 1991. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 669-82, August.
  3. Fama, Eugene F, 1981. "Stock Returns, Real Activity, Inflation, and Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 545-65, September.
  4. Lintner, John, 1975. "Inflation and Security Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(2), pages 259-80, May.
  5. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303 Elsevier.
  6. Schwert, G William, 1981. "The Adjustment of Stock Prices to Information about Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 15-29, March.
  7. Firth, Michael, 1979. "The Relationship between Stock Market Returns and Rates of Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(3), pages 743-49, June.
  8. Marcus Miller & Paul Weller & Lei Zhang, 2000. "Moral Hazard and the US Stock Market: Has Mr. Greenspan Created a Bubble?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1902, Econometric Society.
  9. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  10. Bates, David S, 1991. " The Crash of '87: Was It Expected? The Evidence from Options Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(3), pages 1009-44, July.
  11. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The equity risk premium: A solution?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 133-136, July.
  12. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Detken, Carsten & Smets, Frank, 2004. "Asset price booms and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0364, European Central Bank.

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