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Rational Bubbles in Stock Prices?

  • Behzad T. Diba
  • Herschel I. Grossman

This paper reports empirical tests for the existence of rational bubbles in stock prices. The analysis focuses on a familiar model that defines market fundamentals to be the expected present value of dividends, discounted at a constantrate, and defines a rational bubble to be a self-confirming divergence of stock prices from market fundamentals in response to extraneous variables. The tests are based on the theoretical result that, if rational bubbles exist, time series obtained by differencing real stock prices do not have stationary means. Analysis of the data in both the time domain and the frequency domain suggests that the time series of aggregate real stock prices is nonstationary in levels but stationary in first differences. Applications of the time domain tests to simulated nonstationary time series that would be implied by rational bubbles indicates that the tests have power to detect relevant nonstationarity when it is present. Furthermore, application of the time-domain and frequency-domain tests to the time series of aggregate real dividends also indicates nonstationarity in levels but stationarity in first differences -- suggesting that market fundamentals can account for the stationarity properties of real stock prices. These findings imply that rational bubbles do not exist in stock prices. Accordingly,any evidence that stock price fluctuations do not accord with market fundamentals (asspecified above) is attributable to misspecification of market fundamentals.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1779.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1779.

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Date of creation: Oct 1985
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Publication status: published as Diba and Grossman, "Explosive Rational Bubbles in Stock Prices?" from American Economic Review, Vol. 78, No. 3, June 1988, pp. 520-530.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1779
Note: ME EFG
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  1. Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Specification Test for Speculative Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 2067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Campbell, John, 1987. "Stock Returns and the Term Structure," Scholarly Articles 3207699, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
  4. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 675-87, August.
  5. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-27, May.
  6. Burmeister, Edwin & Wall, Kent D., 1982. "Kalman filtering estimation of unobserved rational expectations with an application to the German hyperinflation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 255-284, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
  9. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
  10. 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.
  11. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Confidence and the Real Value of Money in an Overlapping Generations Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 1-22, February.
  12. Marsh, Terry A & Merton, Robert C, 1986. "Dividend Variability and Variance Bounds Tests for the Rationality ofStock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 483-98, June.
  13. Hamilton, James D. & Whiteman, Charles H., 1985. "The observable implications of self-fulfilling expectations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 353-373, November.
  14. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  15. Robert P. Flood & Peter M. Garber & Louis O. Scott, 1982. "Two Notes on Indeterminacy Problems," NBER Working Papers 0841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  17. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1980. "Market Fundamentals versus Price-Level Bubbles: The First Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 745-70, August.
  18. Behzad T. Diba & Herschel I. Grossman, 1985. "The Impossibility of Rational Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 1615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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