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Booms and Busts in Asset Prices

  • Klaus Adam
  • Albert Marcet

We show how low-frequency boom and bust cycles in asset prices can emerge from Bayesian learning by investors. Investors rationally maximize infinite horizon utility but hold subjective priors about the asset return process that we allow to differ infinitesimally from the rational expectations prior. Bayesian updating of return beliefs then gives rise to selfreinforcing return optimism that results in an asset price boom. The boom endogenously comes to an end because return optimism causes investors to make optimistic plans about future consumption. The latter reduces the demand for assets that allow to intertemporally transfer resources. Once returns fall short of expectations, investors revise return expectations downward and set in motion a self-reinforcing price bust. In line with available survey data, the learning model predicts return optimism to comove positively with market valuation. In addition, the learning model replicates the low frequency behavior of the U.S. price dividend ratio over the period 1926-2006.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1059.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1059
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
  4. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2006. "Learning and Stock Market Volatility," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 15, Society for Computational Economics.
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  9. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J., 2008. "The market price of risk and the equity premium: A legacy of the Great Depression?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 454-476, April.
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  12. Timmermann, Allan, 1996. "Excess Volatility and Predictability of Stock Prices in Autoregressive Dividend Models with Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 523-57, October.
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  14. Bacchetta, Philippe & Mertens, Elmar & van Wincoop, Eric, 2009. "Predictability in financial markets: What do survey expectations tell us?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 406-426, April.
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  17. Timmermann, Allan G, 1993. "How Learning in Financial Markets Generates Excess Volatility and Predictability in Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1135-45, November.
  18. Adam, Klaus & Marcet, Albert, 2009. "Internal Rationality and Asset Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 7498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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