New Evidence on the First Financial Bubble
AbstractThe first global financial bubble in stock prices occurred 1720 in Paris, London and the Netherlands. Explanations for these linked bubbles primarily focus on the irrationality of investor speculation and the corresponding stock price behavior of two large firms: the South Sea Company in Great Britain and the Mississippi Company in France. In this paper we examine a broad cross‐section of security price data to evaluate the causes of the bubbles. Using newly collected stock prices for British and Dutch firms in 1720, we find evidence against indiscriminate irrational exuberance and evidence in favor of speculation about two factors: the Atlantic trade and the incorporation of insurance companies. We study the role of innovation in the insurance market by examining market betas and volatilities of new insurance company shares, like (Pastor & Veronesi, Technological Revolutions and Stock Prices, 2009). We find strong evidence for a revolution in the insurance business in 1720. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that financial bubbles require a plausible story to justify investor optimism.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15332.
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
- G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
- N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-09-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBA-2009-09-19 (Central Banking)
- NEP-HIS-2009-09-19 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
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.:
- Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson, 2003. "DotCom Mania: The Rise and Fall of Internet Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1113-1138, 06.
- John M. Griffin & Jeffrey H. Harris & Tao Shu & Selim Topaloglu, 2011. "Who Drove and Burst the Tech Bubble?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(4), pages 1251-1290, 08.
- Pástor, Luboš & Veronesi, Pietro, 2005.
"Technological Revolutions and Stock Prices,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5428, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2004.
"Riding the South See Bubble,"
213, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2003. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," Working Papers 91, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Peter Temin & Joachim Voth, 2004. "Riding the South Sea bubble," Economics Working Papers 861, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Temin, Peter & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2004. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," CEPR Discussion Papers 4221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gary S. Shea, 2005. "Financial Market Analysis Can Go Mad (in the search for irrational behaviour during the South Sea Bubble)," CDMA Working Paper Series 200508, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
- Schwert, G William, 1990.
"Stock Volatility and the Crash of '87,"
Review of Financial Studies,
Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 77-102.
- Lubos Pastor & Pietro Veronesi, 2004.
"Was There a Nasdaq Bubble in the Late 1990s?,"
NBER Working Papers
10581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carlos, Ann M. & Moyen, Nathalie & Hill, Jonathan, 2002. "Royal African Company Share Prices during the South Sea Bubble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 61-87, January.
- Bart Hobijn & Boyan Jovanovic, 2001.
"The Information-Technology Revolution and the Stock Market: Evidence,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1203-1220, December.
- Bart Hobijn & Boyan Jovanovic, 2000. "The Information Technology Revolution and the Stock Market: Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ann Carlos & Karen Maguire & Larry Neal, 2006. "Financial acumen, women speculators, and the Royal African company during the South Sea bubble," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 219-243.
- Kingston, Christopher, 2007. "Marine Insurance in Britain and America, 1720 1844: A Comparative Institutional Analysis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 379-409, June.
- Markus K Brunnermeier, 2002.
"Bubbles and Crashes,"
FMG Discussion Papers
dp401, Financial Markets Group.
- Christine Macleod, 1986. "The 1690s Patents Boom: Invention or Stock-Jobbing?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 39(4), pages 549-571, November.
- Gary S. Shea, 2007. "Financial market analysis can go mad (in the search for irrational behaviour during the South Sea Bubble) -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(4), pages 742-765, November.
- Harris, Ron, 1994. "The Bubble Act: Its Passage and Its Effects on Business Organization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 610-627, September.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2004. "Hedge Funds and the Technology Bubble," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2013-2040, October.
- Thorpe, David P. & Holland, Burt, 2000. "Some multiple comparison procedures for variances from non-normal populations," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 171-199, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.