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Why Does the Stock Market Fluctuate?

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  • Robert B. Barsky
  • J. Bradford De Long

Abstract

Large long-run swings in the United States stock market over the past century correspond to swings in estimates of fundamental values calculated by using a long moving average of past dividend growth to forecast future growth rates. Such a procedure would have been reasonable if investors were uncertain of the structure of the economy. and had to make forecasts of unknown and possibly-changing long-run dividend growth rates. The parameters of the stochastic process followed by dividends over the twentieth century cannot be precisely estimated even today at the century's end. Investors in the past had even less information about the dividend process. In such a context, it is difficult to see how investors can be faulted for implicitly forecasting future dividends by extrapolating past dividend growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3995.

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Date of creation: Feb 1992
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Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 108, no. 2 (1993): 291-311.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3995

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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw & David H. Romer & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1989. "Stock Market Forecastability and Volatility: A Statistical Appraisal," NBER Working Papers 3154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Lam, Pok-sang & Mark, Nelson C, 1990. "Mean Reversion in Equilibrium Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 398-418, June.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1985. "An Unbiased Reexamination of Stock Market Volatility," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 758, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-27, May.
  5. Barsky, Robert B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Gibson's Paradox and the Gold Standard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 528-50, June.
  6. Myung Jig Kim & Charles R. Nelson & Richard Startz, 1988. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices? A Reappraisal of the Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert B. Barsky & J. Bradford De Long, 1989. "Bull and Bear Markets in the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 3171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Campbell, J.Y. & Shiller, R.J., 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings And Expected Dividends," Papers 334, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  9. West, Kenneth D, 1988. " Bubbles, Fads and Stock Price Volatility Tests: A Partial Evaluation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 639-56, July.
  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. J. Bradford De Long & Barry Eichengreen, 1993. "The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Programme," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _109, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  12. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 2343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Terry A. Marsh and Robert C. Merton., 1986. "Dividend Behavior for the Aggregate Stock Market," Research Program in Finance Working Papers 163, University of California at Berkeley.
  14. Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. " Does the Stock Market Rationally Reflect Fundamental Values?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 591-601, July.
  15. Shiller, Robert J & Siegel, Jeremy J, 1977. "The Gibson Paradox and Historical Movements in Real Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 891-907, October.
  16. Barsky, Robert B & De Long, J Bradford, 1991. "Forecasting Pre-World War I Inflation: The Fisher Effect and the Gold Standard," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 815-36, August.
  17. Robert J. Shiller, 1984. "Stock Prices and Social Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 457-510.
  18. Kleidon, Allan W, 1986. "Anomalies in Financial Economics: Blueprint for Change?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S469-99, October.
  19. LeRoy, Stephen F, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets and Martingales," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1583-1621, December.
  20. J. Bradford De Long & Marco Becht, 1992. ""Excess Volatility" and the German Stock Market, 1876-1990," NBER Working Papers 4054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Kleidon, Allan W, 1988. "The Probability of Gross Violations of a Present Value Variance Inequality: Reply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1093-96, October.
  22. repec:fth:calaec:13-89 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Kleidon, Allan W, 1986. "Variance Bounds Tests and Stock Price Valuation Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 953-1001, October.
  24. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
  25. Shiller, Robert J, 1988. "The Probability of Gross Violations of a Present Value Variance Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1089-92, October.
  26. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-73, April.
  27. Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Speculative Prices and Popular Models," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 55-65, Spring.
  28. Robert J. Shiller, 1984. "Stock Prices and Social Dynamics," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 719R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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