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The Economic Psychology of Stock Market Bubbles in China

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  • Shujie Yao
  • Dan Luo

Abstract

The Chinese stock markets were extremely volatile during the period 2005–08. The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Composite Index increased more than sixfold from 1,012 in 2005 to 6,124 by the end of 2007. It then declined continuously to reach a low of 1,929 on 17 September 2008, or a drop of 70 per cent from its peak in less than 10 months. Although the market downturn may have been affected by the financial crisis in the United States and the rest of the world, the extreme fluctuations of stock prices signify a big market bubble, and the burst of that bubble must be explained by intrinsic characteristics or the economic psychology of Chinese investors. Based on a detailed market data analysis, this paper attributes the development of the stock market bubble to three key psychological factors: ‘greed’, ‘envy’ and ‘speculation’, and the burst of the bubble to three contrasting factors: ‘fear’, ‘lack of confidence’ and ‘disappointment’. It concludes that only after Chinese companies become really commercialised and profitable and investors become rational can the stock markets become stable without extreme volatility as seen in the past. Government policies can play a role in soothing market volatility detrimental to shareholders and the wider economy, but investors should not depend on government for making their own investment decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Shujie Yao & Dan Luo, 2009. "The Economic Psychology of Stock Market Bubbles in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(5), pages 667-691, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:32:y:2009:i:5:p:667-691
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9701.2009.01176.x
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    2. Gu, Xinhua & Tam, Pui Sun & Li, Guoqiang & Zhao, Qingbin, 2020. "An alternative explanation for high saving in China: Rising inequality," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1082-1094.
    3. Jiang, Chunxia & Yao, Shujie & Zhang, Zongyi, 2009. "The effects of governance changes on bank efficiency in China: A stochastic distance function approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 717-731, December.
    4. Boldanov, Rustam & Degiannakis, Stavros & Filis, George, 2016. "Time-varying correlation between oil and stock market volatilities: Evidence from oil-importing and oil-exporting countries," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 209-220.
    5. Ayesha Liaqat & Mian Sajid Nazir & Iftikhar Ahmad & Hammad Hassan Mirza & Farooq Anwar, 2020. "Do stock price bubbles correlate between China and Pakistan? An inquiry of pre‐ and post‐Chinese investment in Pakistani capital market under China‐Pakistan Economic Corridor regime," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 323-335, July.
    6. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-462 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gu, Xinhua & Tam, Pui Sun, 2013. "The saving–growth–inequality triangle in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 850-857.
    8. Lao, Paulo & Singh, Harminder, 2011. "Herding behaviour in the Chinese and Indian stock markets," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 495-506.
    9. Ayesha Liaqat & Mian Sajid Nazir & Iftikhar Ahmad, 2019. "Identification of multiple stock bubbles in an emerging market: application of GSADF approach," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 301-326, August.
    10. Nha Duc Bui & Loan Thi Bich Nguyen & Nhung Thi Tuyet Nguyen & Gordon Frederick Titman, 2018. "Herding in frontier stock markets: evidence from the Vietnamese stock market," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 58(S1), pages 59-81, November.
    11. Quinn, William & Turner, John D., 2020. "Bubbles in history," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2020-07, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.

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