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The Stabilization of the U.S. Economy Evidence From the Stock Market

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  • Matthew D. Shapiro

Abstract

Until recently, economists widely believed that economic activity had become less variable in the United States following the end of World War II. Challenging this belief, new research suggests that key historical time series are spuriously volatile, a finding that is highly controversial. Data from the stock market may provide a vehicle for resolving the controversy. Economic theory relates stock prices to real activity; empirical tests also show a strong link between stock prices and activity. Financial data are accurately measured over long spans of time and hence are free of most of the measurement problems in other time series. Measures of stock prices show no stabilization in the post-World War II period relative to the pre-World War I or pre-Depression periods. These stock market data thus support the hypothesis that real activity has not been stabilized.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2645.

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Date of creation: Jul 1988
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Publication status: published as Shapiro, Matthew D. "The Stabilization of the U.S. Economy Evidence From the Stock Market," from American Economic Review, Vol. 78, No. 5, December 1988.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2645

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  1. Sanford J. Grossman & Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," NBER Working Papers 0564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Campbell, John & Mankiw, Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," Scholarly Articles 3122545, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Officer, R R, 1973. "The Variability of the Market Factor of the New York Stock Exchange," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(3), pages 434-53, July.
  5. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Persistence of Volatility and Stock Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1142-51, December.
  6. Fischer, Stanley & Merton, Robert C., 1984. "Macroeconomics and finance: The role of the stock market," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-108, January.
  7. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  8. Romer, Christina, 1986. "Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-37, February.
  9. Andrews, Donald W K & Fair, Ray C, 1988. "Inference in Nonlinear Econometric Models with Structural Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 615-39, October.
  10. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  12. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Shapiro, Matthew D, 1985. " An Unbiased Reexamination of Stock Market Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 677-87, July.
  13. Marsh, Terry A. & Merton, Robert C., 1984. "Dividend variability and variance bounds tests for the rationality of stock market prices," Working papers 1584-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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Cited by:
  1. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
  2. Bernstein, Asaf & Hughson, Eric & Weidenmier, Marc D., 2010. "Identifying the effects of a lender of last resort on financial markets: Lessons from the founding of the fed," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 40-53, October.
  3. Bennett McCallum, 2000. "On signal extraction and non-certainty-equivalence in optimal monetary policy rules, comments," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Cochran, Steven J. & DeFina, Robert H., 1996. "Predictability in real exchange rates: Evidence from parametric hazard models," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 125-147.
  5. Peter Blair Henry, 2001. "Is Disinflation Good for the Stock Market?," NBER Working Papers 8289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 6948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Binswanger, Mathias, 2004. "Stock returns and real activity in the G-7 countries: did the relationship change during the 1980s?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 237-252, May.
  8. Schlote, Klaus Wilhelm, 1989. "Zu den Einflußfaktoren am deutschen Aktienmarkt bei festen und flexiblen Wechselkursen," Kiel Working Papers 363, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Asaf Bernstein & Eric Hughson & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2008. "Can a Lender of Last Resort Stabilize Financial Markets? Lessons from the Founding of the Fed," NBER Working Papers 14422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lizardo, Radhamés A. & Mollick, André V., 2009. "Do foreign purchases of U.S. stocks help the U.S. stock market?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 969-986, December.

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