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The 1929 Stock Market: Irving Fisher Was Right

  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Edward C. Prescott

Many stock market analysts think that in 1929, at the time of the crash, stocks were overvalued. Irving Fisher argued just before the crash that fundamentals were strong and the stock market was undervalued. In this article, we use growth theory to estimate the fundamental value of corporate equity and compare it to actual stock valuations. Our estimate is based on values of productive corporate capital, both tangible and intangible, and tax rates on corporate income and distributions. The evidence strongly suggests that Fisher was right. Even at the 1929 peak, stocks were undervalued relative to the prediction of theory. Copyright 2004 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 991-1009

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:45:y:2004:i:4:p:991-1009
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  1. Martin Browning & Lars Peter Hansen & James J. Heckman, 1999. "Micro Data and General Equilibrium Models," Discussion Papers 99-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  9. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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