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Stock-Market Crashes and Depressions

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  • Robert J. Barro
  • José F. Ursúa

Abstract

Long-term data for 30 countries up to 2006 reveal 232 stock-market crashes (multi-year real returns of -25% or less) and 100 depressions (multi-year macroeconomic declines of 10% or more), with 71 of the cases matched by timing. The United States has two of the matched events--the Great Depression 1929-33 and the post-WWI years 1917-21, likely driven by the Great Influenza Epidemic. 41% of the matched cases are associated with war, and the two world wars are prominent. Conditional on a stock-market crash (return of -25% or less) in a non-war environment, the probability of a minor depression (macroeconomic decline of at least 10%) is 22% and of a major depression (at least 25%) is 3%. For contexts of currency or banking crises that occur during times of global distress, these probabilities rise to 46% and 8%, respectively. These depression odds applied to the stock-market crashes of 2008 in the United States and many other countries. In reverse and again in a non-war environment, the probability of a stock-market crash (return of -25% or worse) is 67%, conditional on a depression of 10% or more, and 83% for 25% or more. Thus, the largest depressions are particularly likely to be accompanied by stock-market crashes. We allow for flexible timing between stock-market crashes and depressions for the 71 matched cases to compute the covariance between stock returns and an asset-pricing factor, which depends on the proportionate decline of consumption during a depression. If we assume a coefficient of relative risk aversion around 3.5, this covariance is large enough to account in a familiar looking asset-pricing formula for the observed average (levered) equity premium of 7% per year. This finding complements previous analyses that were based on the probability and size distribution of macroeconomic disasters but did not consider explicitly the covariance between macroeconomic declines and stock returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Barro & José F. Ursúa, 2009. "Stock-Market Crashes and Depressions," NBER Working Papers 14760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14760
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    Cited by:

    1. Kenc, Turalay & Dibooglu, Sel, 2010. "The 2007-2009 financial crisis, global imbalances and capital flows: Implications for reform," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 3-21, March.
    2. Bohn, Henning, 2011. "Should public retirement plans be fully funded?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 195-219, April.
    3. repec:eee:dyncon:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:187-215 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. William N. Goetzmann & Dasol Kim, 2017. "Negative Bubbles: What Happens After a Crash," NBER Working Papers 23830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Charles, Amélie & Darné, Olivier, 2014. "Large shocks in the volatility of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index: 1928–2013," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 188-199.
    6. Atkeson, Andrew G. & Eisfeldt, Andrea L. & Weill, Pierre-Olivier, 2017. "Measuring the financial soundness of U.S. firms, 1926–2012," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 613-635.
    7. Bee, Marco & Riccaboni, Massimo & Trapin, Luca, 2017. "An extreme value analysis of the last century crises across industries in the U.S. economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 65-78.
    8. Rıza Demirer & Rangan Gupta & Tahir Suleman & Mark E. Wohar, 2017. "Time-Varying Rare Disaster Risks, Oil Returns and Volatility," Working Papers 201762, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    9. Bordo, Michael D. & Haubrich, Joseph G., 2010. "Credit crises, money and contractions: An historical view," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-18, January.
    10. Danielsson, Jon & Valenzuela, Marcela & Zer, Ilknur, 2016. "Learning from history: volatility and financial crises," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66046, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Rangan Gupta & Tahir Suleman & Mark E. Wohar, 2017. "The Role of Time-Varying Rare Disaster Risks in Predicting Bond Returns and Volatility," Working Papers 201770, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    12. Suzuki, Shiba, 2014. "An exploration of the effect of doubt during disasters on equity premiums," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 270-273.
    13. Christian Pierdzioch & Rangan Gupta, 2017. "Uncertainty and Forecasts of U.S. Recessions," Working Papers 201732, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    14. Peiró, Amado, 2016. "Stock prices and macroeconomic factors: Some European evidence," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 287-294.
    15. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2015. "Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some Lessons Learned and Those Forgotten," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(4), pages 5-17, June.
    16. Bagliano, Fabio C. & Morana, Claudio, 2012. "The Great Recession: US dynamics and spillovers to the world economy," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-13.
    17. repec:sgm:jbfeuw:v:2:y:2015:i:4:p:13 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Robert Barro, 2009. "EconomicDynamics Interviews Robert Barro on Rare Events," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(2), April.
    19. Döpke, Jörg & Fritsche, Ulrich & Pierdzioch, Christian, 2017. "Predicting recessions with boosted regression trees," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 745-759.
    20. Bluedorn, John C. & Decressin, Jörg & Terrones, Marco E., 2016. "Do asset price drops foreshadow recessions?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 518-526.
    21. Varma, Jayanth R., 2011. "Finance Teaching and Research after the Global Financial Crisis," IIMA Working Papers WP2011-03-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    22. Berkman, Henk & Jacobsen, Ben & Lee, John B., 2011. "Time-varying rare disaster risk and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 313-332, August.
    23. Chourdakis, Kyriakos & Dendramis, Yiannis & Tzavalis, Elias, 2014. "Are regime-shift sources of risk priced in the market?," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 151-170.
    24. Blau, Benjamin M., 2017. "Economic freedom and crashes in financial markets," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 33-46.
    25. Lu, Yang & Siemer, Michael, 2013. "Learning, Rare Disasters, and Asset Prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-85, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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