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

  • Shapiro, Matthew D

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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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 78 (1988)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1067-79

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:5:p:1067-79
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  1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  2. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Persistence of Volatility and Stock Market Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 857-80, November.
  8. Barsky, Robert B., 1987. "The Fisher hypothesis and the forecastability and persistence of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-24, January.
  9. Marsh, Terry A & Merton, Robert C, 1986. "Dividend Variability and Variance Bounds Tests for the Rationality ofStock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 483-98, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-36, June.
  13. Romer, Christina, 1986. "Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-37, February.
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