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Learning from History: Volatility and Financial Crises

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  • Jon Danielsson
  • Marcela Valenzuela
  • Ilknur Zer

Abstract

We study the effects of stock market volatility on risk-taking and financial crises by constructing a cross-country database spanning up to 211 years and across 60 countries. Prolonged periods of low volatility have strong in-sample and out-of-sample predictive power over the incidence of banking crises and can be used as a reliable crisis indicator, whereas volatility itself does not predict crises. Low volatility leads to excessive credit buildups and balance sheet leverage in the financial system, indicating that agents take more risk in periods of low risk, supporting the dictum that “stability is destabilizing.”Received October 28, 2016; editorial decision February 7, 2017 by Editor Andrew Karolyi. Authors have furnished an Internet Appendix, which is available on the Oxford University Press Web site next to the link to the final published paper online.

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  • Jon Danielsson & Marcela Valenzuela & Ilknur Zer, 2018. "Learning from History: Volatility and Financial Crises," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(7), pages 2774-2805.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:31:y:2018:i:7:p:2774-2805.
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    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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