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The Stabilization of the U.S. Economy: Evidence from the Stock Marke t

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  • Shapiro, Matthew D

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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  • Shapiro, Matthew D, 1988. "The Stabilization of the U.S. Economy: Evidence from the Stock Marke t," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1067-1079, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:5:p:1067-79
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    4. Peter Blair Henry, 2002. "Is Disinflation Good for the Stock Market?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1617-1648, August.
    5. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    6. Bennett T. McCallum, 2000. "On signal extraction and non-certainty-equivalence in optimal monetary policy rules, comments," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. G. William Schwert, 1989. "Indexes of United States Stock Prices From 1802 to 1987," NBER Working Papers 2985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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 (IfW).
    11. 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.

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