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Knightian uncertainty and stock-price movements: Why the REH present-value model failed empirically


  • Frydman, Roman
  • Goldberg, Michael D.
  • Mangee, Nicholas


Macroeconomic models that are based on either the rational expectations hypothesis (REH) or behavioral considerations share a core premise: All future market outcomes can be characterized ex ante with a single overarching probability distribution. This paper assesses the empirical relevance of this premise using a novel data set. The authors find that Knightian uncertainty, which cannot be reduced to a probability distribution, underpins outcomes in the stock market. This finding reveals the full implications of Robert Shiller's ground-breaking rejection of the class of REH present-value models that rely on the consumption-based specification of the risk premium. The relevance of Knightian uncertainty is inconsistent with all REH models, regardless of how they specify the market's risk premium. The authors' evidence is also inconsistent with bubble accounts of REH models' empirical difficulties. They consider a present-value model based on a New Rational Expectations Hypothesis, which recognizes the relevance of Knightian uncertainty in driving outcomes in real-world markets. Their novel data is supportive of the model's implications that rational forecasting relies on both fundamental and psychological factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Frydman, Roman & Goldberg, Michael D. & Mangee, Nicholas, 2015. "Knightian uncertainty and stock-price movements: Why the REH present-value model failed empirically," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 9, pages 1-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201524

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roman Frydman & Michael Goldberg & Nicholas Mangee, 2015. "New Evidence for the Present-Value Model of Stock Prices: Why the REH Version Failed Empirically," Working Papers Series 2, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    2. Nicholas Mangee, 2014. "Stock Prices, the Business Cycle and Contingent Change: Evidence from Bloomberg News Market Wraps," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(4), pages 2165-2178.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Kelm, 2017. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle and Imperfect Knowledge: The Case of the Polish Zloty," Central European Journal of Economic Modelling and Econometrics, CEJEME, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, March.
    2. Roman Frydman & Joshua R. Stillwagon, 2016. "Stock-Market Expectations: Econometric Evidence that both REH and Behavioral Insights Matter," Working Papers Series 44, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    3. Marsay, David, 2016. "Decision-making under radical uncertainty: An interpretation of Keynes' treatise," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-31.

    More about this item


    Knightian uncertainty; structural change; fundamentals; psychology; presentvalue model; stock prices;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General


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