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Why Does Stock Market Volatility Change Over Time?

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  • G. William Schwert

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relation of stock volatility with real and nominal macroeconomic volatility, financial leverage, stock trading activity, default risk, and firm profitability using monthly data from 1857-1986. An important fact, previously noted by Officer [l973], is that stock return variability was unusually high during the 1929-1940 Great Depression. Moreover, leverage has a relatively small effect on stock volatility. The amplitude of the fluctuations in aggregate stock volatility is difficult to explain using simple models of stock valuation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2798.

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Date of creation: Mar 1990
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Publication status: published as The Journal of Finance, Vol. XLIV, No. 5, pp. 1115-1153, (December 1989).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2798

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  1. Abel, Andrew B., 1988. "Stock prices under time-varying dividend risk : An exact solution in an infinite-horizon general equilibrium model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 375-393.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings and Expected Dividends," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 858, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Fama, Eugene F, 1976. "Inflation Uncertainty and Expected Returns on Treasury Bills," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 427-48, June.
  4. Scholes, Myron & Williams, Joseph, 1977. "Estimating betas from nonsynchronous data," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 309-327, December.
  5. French, Kenneth R. & Roll, Richard, 1986. "Stock return variances : The arrival of information and the reaction of traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 5-26, September.
  6. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
  7. Schwert, G. William, 1987. "Effects of model specification on tests for unit roots in macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 73-103, July.
  8. French, Kenneth R. & Schwert, G. William & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1987. "Expected stock returns and volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-29, September.
  9. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
  10. Wilson, Jack W & Jones, Charles P, 1987. "A Comparison of Annual Common Stock Returns: 1871-1925 with 1926-85," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 239-58, April.
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