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Bubbles and Busts: The 1990s in the Mirror of the 1920s

  • Eugene N. White

    (Rutgers University)

This paper surveys the twentieth century booms and crashes in the American stock market, focusing on a comparison of the two most similar events in the 1920s and 1990s. In both booms, claims were made that they were the consequence a %u201Cnew economy%u201D or %u201Cirrational exuberance.%u201D Neither boom can be readily explained by fundamentals, represented by expected dividend growth or changes in the equity premium. The difficulty of identifying the fundamentals implies that central banks would not be successful in preventing pre-emptive policies, although they still would have a critical role to play in preventing crashes from disrupting the payments system or sparking an intermediation crisis.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Finance Research Unit in its series FRU Working Papers with number 2004/09.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiefr:200409
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  1. Rappoport, Peter & White, Eugene N., 1993. "Was There a Bubble in the 1929 Stock Market?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(03), pages 549-574, September.
  2. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-76, July.
  3. Bordo, Michael D & Jeanne, Olivier, 2002. "Boom-Busts in Asset Prices, Economic Instability and Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3398, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Rappoport, Peter & White, Eugene N, 1994. "Was the Crash of 1929 Expected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 271-81, March.
  8. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Stock Prices and Fundamentals," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 213-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kleidon, Allan W, 1986. "Variance Bounds Tests and Stock Price Valuation Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 953-1001, October.
  10. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-38, August.
  11. Owen Lamont, . "Earnings and Expected Returns," CRSP working papers 345, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  12. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 17-51.
  13. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 97-116, Spring.
  14. Kenneth D. West, 1986. "Dividend Innovations and Stock Price Volatility," NBER Working Papers 1833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Romer, Christina D, 1990. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 597-624, August.
  17. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1983. "Excess Volatility in the Financial Markets: A Reassessment of the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(6), pages 929-56, December.
  18. Cochrane, John H., 1991. "Volatility tests and efficient markets : A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 463-485, June.
  19. Stephen G Cecchetti, 2003. "What the FOMC Says and Does When the Stock Market Booms," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Anthony Richards & Tim Robinson (ed.), Asset Prices and Monetary Policy Reserve Bank of Australia.
  20. William D. Nordhaus, 2002. "Productivity Growth and the New Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 211-265.
  21. Frederic S. Mishkin & Eugene N. White, 2002. "U.S. Stock Market Crashes and Their Aftermath: Implications for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  23. Flood, Robert P & Hodrick, Robert J, 1990. "On Testing for Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 85-101, Spring.
  24. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Interpreting the "One Big Wave" in U.S. Long-Term Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 7752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
  26. Donaldson, R Glen & Kamstra, Mark, 1996. "A New Dividend Forecasting Procedure That Rejects Bubbles in Asset Prices: The Case of 1929's Stock Crash," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(2), pages 333-83.
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