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Share liquidity, participation, and growth of the Boston market for industrial equities, 1854-1897

  • Rousseau, Peter L.

Financial economists have long believed that the liquidity of shares affects the level of participation in equity markets and is thus central to their deepening. This study examines the growth in industrial share liquidity that occurred in Boston over the latter half of the 19th century. From primary sources hitherto unused for scholarly investigations, namely the running annual worksheets of securities price fluctuations that underlie broker Joseph Martin's volumes on the history of the Boston stock market, I construct broad-based indices of annual prices and returns for banking and industrial equities, as well as measures of real market capitalization. A series of vector autoregressive models then relate increases in liquidity, as measured by falling par values of industrial shares due to stock splits, write-downs and re-capitalizations, entries, and exits, to advances in prices and capitalizations among traded firms. The findings support the view that increases in participation were important for sustaining Boston as the nation's leading industrial market until finally overtaken by New York sometime around 1900.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 46 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 203-219

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:2:p:203-219
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  1. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, December.
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  3. Hiro Y. Toda & Peter C.B. Phillips, 1991. "Vector Autoregression and Causality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 977, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Greenwood, Jeremy & Smith, Bruce D., 1997. "Financial markets in development, and the development of financial markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 145-181, January.
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  7. Bencivenga Valerie R. & Smith Bruce D. & Starr Ross M., 1995. "Transactions Costs, Technological Choice, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 153-177, October.
  8. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  9. Copeland, Thomas E, 1979. "Liquidity Changes Following Stock Splits," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(1), pages 115-41, March.
  10. Davis, Lance E., 1960. "The New England Textile Mills and the Capital Markets: A Study of Industrial Borrowing 1840–1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 1-30, March.
  11. Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 1994. "Insider Lending: Banks, Personal Connections, and Economic Development in Industrial New England," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lamo94-1, December.
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  13. Sims, Christopher A & Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1990. "Inference in Linear Time Series Models with Some Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 113-44, January.
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