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.
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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:
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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.:
- Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2004.
"Riding the South See Bubble,"
213, 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.
- Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2003. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," Working Papers 91, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Temin, Peter & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2004. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," CEPR Discussion Papers 4221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ann Carlos & Karen Maguire & Larry Neal, 2006. "Financial acumen, women speculators, and the Royal African company during the South Sea bubble," Accounting, Business and Financial History, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 219-243.
- 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.
- 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 0508, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
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