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Moral Hazard and the US Stockmarket: Analyzing the "Greenspan Put"

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  • Marcus H. Miller

    ()
    (Institute for International Economics)

  • Paul Weller

    ()
    (Institute for International Economics)

  • Lei Zhang

    ()
    (Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

When the risk premium in the US stock market fell far below its historic level, Shiller (2000) attributed this 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 stabilizing power of Mr. Greenspan.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP02-1.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp02-1

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  1. 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.
  2. John Y. Campbell, 1998. "Asset Prices, Consumption, and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 6485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 2481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lintner, John, 1975. "Inflation and Security Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(2), pages 259-80, May.
  5. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  6. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Anil K Kashyap, 1996. "International Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Hali J. Edison & Pongsak Luangaram & Marcus Miller, 1998. "Asset bubbles, domino effects and 'lifeboats': elements of the East Asian crisis," International Finance Discussion Papers 606, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Brown, Stephen J & Goetzmann, William N & Ross, Stephen A, 1995. " Survival," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 853-73, July.
  10. 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.
  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.
  13. 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.
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