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The Real Effects of Financial Markets

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  • Philip Bond
  • Alex Edmans
  • Itay Goldstein

Abstract

A large amount of activity in the financial sector occurs in secondary financial markets, where securities are traded among investors without capital flowing to firms. The stock market is the archetypal example, which in most developed economies captures a lot of attention and resources. Is the stock market just a side show or does it affect real economic activity? In this article, we discuss the potential real effects of financial markets that stem from the informational role of market prices. We review the theoretical literature and show that accounting for the feedback effect from market prices to the real economy significantly changes our understanding of the price formation process, the informativeness of the price, and speculators' trading behavior. We make two main points. First, we argue that a new definition of price efficiency is needed to account for the extent to which prices reflect information useful for the efficiency of real decisions (rather than the extent to which they forecast future cash flows). Second, incorporating the feedback effect into models of financial markets can explain various market phenomena that otherwise seem puzzling. Finally, we review empirical evidence on the real effects of secondary financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Bond & Alex Edmans & Itay Goldstein, 2011. "The Real Effects of Financial Markets," NBER Working Papers 17719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17719
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Malcolm Baker & Jeremy C. Stein & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2003. "When Does the Market Matter? Stock Prices and the Investment of Equity-Dependent Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 969-1005.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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