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Simple Forecasts and Paradigm Shifts

  • Harrison Hong
  • Jeremy C. Stein

We postulate that agents make forecasts using overly simplified models of the world—i. e. , models that only embody a subset of available information. We then go on to study the implications of learning in this environment. Our key premise is that learning is based on a model-selection criterion. Thus if a particular simple model does a poor job of forecasting over a period of time, it is eventually discarded in favor of an alternative, yet equally simple model that would have done better over the same period. This theory makes several distinctive predictions, which, for concreteness, we develop in a stock-market setting. For example, starting with symmetric and homoskedastic fundamentals, the theory yields forecastable variation in the size of the value/glamour differential, in volatility, and in the skewness of returns. Some of these features mirror familiar accounts of stock-price bubbles.

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File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2003/HIER2007.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2007.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2007
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  1. Joseph Chen & Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 2000. "Forecasting Crashes: Trading Volume, Past Returns and Conditional Skewness in Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 7687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Josef Lakonishok & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1993. "Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 84, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model Of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82, February.
  4. Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 2003. "Differences of Opinion, Short-Sales Constraints, and Market Crashes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(2), pages 487-525.
  5. Blume, L. E. & Bray, M. M. & Easley, D., 1982. "Introduction to the stability of rational expectations equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 313-317, April.
  6. Harrison, J Michael & Kreps, David M, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-36, May.
  7. Morris, Stephen, 1996. "Speculative Investor Behavior and Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1111-33, November.
  8. Kandel, Eugene & Pearson, Neil D, 1995. "Differential Interpretation of Public Signals and Trade in Speculative Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 831-72, August.
  9. Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 1997. "A Unified Theory of Underreaction, Momentum Trading and Overreaction in Asset Markets," NBER Working Papers 6324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
  11. Kent Daniel & David Hirshleifer & Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, 1998. "Investor Psychology and Security Market Under- and Overreactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1839-1885, December.
  12. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  13. Nicholas Barberis & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "A Model of Investor Sentiment," NBER Working Papers 5926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  15. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  16. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
  17. Cyert, Richard M & DeGroot, Morris H, 1974. "Rational Expectations and Bayesian Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(3), pages 521-36, May/June.
  18. Hal R. Varian, 1986. "Differences of opinion in financial markets," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, pages 3-40.
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