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On Rational Bubbles and Fat Tails

  • Lux, Thomas
  • Sornette, Didier

This paper addresses the statistical properties of time series driven by rational bubbles a la Blanchard and Watson (1982). Using insights on the behavior of multiplicative stochastic processes, we demonstrate that the tails of the unconditional distribution emerging from such bubble processes follow power-laws (exhibit hyperbolic decline). More precisely, we find that rational bubbles predict a "fat" power tail for both the bubble component and price differences with an exponent mu smaller than 1. The distribution of returns is dominated by the same power-law over an extended range of large returns. Although power-law tails are a pervasive feature of empirical data, these numerical predictions are in disagreement with the usual empirical estimates. It therefore appears that exogenous rational bubbles are hardly reconcilable with some of the stylized facts of financial data at a very elementary level.

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 34 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 589-610

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:34:y:2002:i:3:p:589-610
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879

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