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Quiet bubbles

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  • Hong, Harrison
  • Sraer, David

Abstract

Motivated by the recent subprime mortgage crisis, we explore whether speculative bubble models of equity based on investor disagreement and short-sales constraints can also provide an explanation for the overvaluation of debt contracts. We find that this is unlikely. Equity bubbles are loud: price and volume go together as investors speculate on capital gains from reselling to more optimistic investors. But this resale option is limited for debt since its upside payoff is bounded. Debt bubbles then require an optimism bias among investors. But greater optimism leads to less speculative trading as investors view the debt as safe and having limited upside. Debt bubbles are hence quiet—high price comes with low volume. We find the predicted price–volume relationship of credits over the 2003–2007 credit boom.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong, Harrison & Sraer, David, 2013. "Quiet bubbles," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 596-606.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:110:y:2013:i:3:p:596-606 DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2013.07.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 2007. "Disagreement and the Stock Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 109-128.
    2. Miller, Edward M, 1977. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Divergence of Opinion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1151-1168, September.
    3. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
    4. Hong, Harrison & Sraer, David, 2013. "Quiet bubbles," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 596-606.
    5. Wei Xiong & Hongjun Yan, 2010. "Heterogeneous Expectations and Bond Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1433-1466, April.
    6. Jennifer Lynch Koski & Jeffrey Pontiff, 1999. "How Are Derivatives Used? Evidence from the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 791-816, April.
    7. Joshua D. Coval & Jakub W. Jurek & Erik Stafford, 2009. "Economic Catastrophe Bonds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 628-666, June.
    8. Chen, Joseph & Hong, Harrison & Stein, Jeremy C., 2002. "Breadth of ownership and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 171-205.
    9. Robin Greenwood & Samuel G. Hanson, 2011. "Issuer Quality and the Credit Cycle," NBER Working Papers 17197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Asquith, Paul & Au, Andrea S. & Covert, Thomas & Pathak, Parag A., 2013. "The market for borrowing corporate bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 155-182.
    11. Harrison Hong & José Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2006. "Asset Float and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1073-1117, June.
    12. Baker, Malcolm & Greenwood, Robin & Wurgler, Jeffrey, 2003. "The maturity of debt issues and predictable variation in bond returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 261-291, November.
    13. Almazan, Andres & Brown, Keith C. & Carlson, Murray & Chapman, David A., 2004. "Why constrain your mutual fund manager?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 289-321, August.
    14. J. Michael Harrison & David M. Kreps, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-336.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barlevy, Gadi, 2014. "A leverage-based model of speculative bubbles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 459-505.
    2. Elias Albagli & Christian Hellwig & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "A Theory of Asset Prices Based on Heterogeneous Information," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1827, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Hong, Harrison & Sraer, David, 2013. "Quiet bubbles," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 596-606.
    4. Elias Albagli & Christian Hellwig & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "A Theory of Asset Pricing Based on Heterogeneous Information," NBER Working Papers 17548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kim, Jun Sik & Ryu, Doojin, 2015. "Are the KOSPI 200 implied volatilities useful in value-at-risk models?," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 43-64.
    6. Roseline Bilina Falafala & Robert A. Jarrow & Philip Protter, 2016. "Relative asset price bubbles," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 135-160, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bubbles; Credit; Asset prices; Turnover;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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