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Waves in Ship Prices and Investment

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  • Robin Greenwood
  • Samuel G. Hanson

Abstract

We study the link between investment boom and bust cycles and returns on capital in the dry bulk shipping industry. We show that high current ship earnings are associated with high used ship prices and heightened industry investment in new ships, but forecast low future returns. We propose and estimate a behavioral model of industry cycles that can account for the evidence. In our model, firms overextrapolate exogenous demand shocks and partially neglect the endogenous investment response of their competitors. As a result, firms overpay for ships and overinvest in booms and are disappointed by the subsequent low returns. Formal estimation of the model suggests that modest expectational errors can result in dramatic excess volatility in prices and investment. JEL Codes: E32, L16, G02.

Suggested Citation

  • Robin Greenwood & Samuel G. Hanson, 2015. "Waves in Ship Prices and Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 55-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:130:y:2015:i:1:p:55-109
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qju035
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • L9 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities

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