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Why was Stock Market Volatility so High During the Great Depression? Evidence from 10 Countries During the Interwar Period

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  • Voth, Hans-Joachim

Abstract

The extreme levels of stock price volatility found during the Great Depression have often been attributed to political uncertainty. This Paper performs an explicit test of the Merton/Schwert hypothesis that doubts about the survival of the capitalist system were partly responsible. It does so by using a panel data set on political unrest, demonstrations and other indicators of instability in a set of 10 developed countries during the interwar period. Fear of worker militancy and a possible revolution can explain a substantial part of the increase in stock market volatility during the Great Depression.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3254.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3254

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Keywords: great depression; political uncertainty; stock price volatility; worker militancy;

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Cited by:
  1. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sam Hak Kan Tang & Nicolaas Groenewold & Charles Ka Yui Leung, 2003. "Institutions, Technical Change and Macroeconomic Volatility, Crises and Growth: A Robust Causation," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 03-21, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  3. Brown, William Jr. & Burdekin, Richard C.K. & Weidenmier, Marc D., 2006. "Volatility in an era of reduced uncertainty: Lessons from Pax Britannica," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 693-707, March.

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