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Herd Behaviour, Bubbles and Crashes

  • Lux, Thomas

This paper attempts to formalize herd behavior or mutual mimetic contagion in speculative markets. The emergence of bubbles is explained as a self-organizing process of infection among traders leading to equilibrium prices which deviate from fundamental values. It is postulated furthermore that the speculators' readiness to follow the crowd depends on one basic economic variable, namely actual returns. Above average returns are reflected in a generally more optimistic attitude that fosters the disposition to overtake others' bullish beliefs and vice versa. This economic influence makes bubbles transient phenomena and leads to repeated fluctuations around fundamental values. Copyright 1995 by Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 105 (1995)
Issue (Month): 431 (July)
Pages: 881-96

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:105:y:1995:i:431:p:881-96
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  1. Kirman, Alan, 1993. "Ants, Rationality, and Recruitment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 137-56, February.
  2. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Gerard Gennotte and Hayne Leland., 1989. "Market Liquidity, Hedging and Crashes," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-192, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Carl Chiarella, 1992. "The Dynamics of Speculative Behaviour," Working Paper Series 13, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
  5. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1991. "The Survival of Noise Traders in Financial Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-19, January.
  6. Weidlich, Wolfgang & Braun, Martin, 1992. "The Master Equation Approach to Nonlinear Economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 233-65, October.
  7. Topol, Richard, 1991. "Bubbles and Volatility of Stock Prices: Effect of Mimetic Contagion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 786-800, July.
  8. Kenneth D. West, 1988. "Bubbles, Fads, and Stock Price Volatility Tests: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 2574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990. "Herd Behavior and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-79, June.
  10. Beja, Avraham & Goldman, M Barry, 1980. " On the Dynamic Behavior of Prices in Disequilibrium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(2), pages 235-48, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert Shiller, 1988. "Portfolio Insurance and Other Investor Fashions as Factors in the 1987 Stock Market Crash," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 287-297 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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