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Asset Price Volatility, Bubbles, and Process Switching


  • Robert P. Flood
  • Robert J. Hodrick


Evidence of excess volatilities of asset prices compared with those of market fundamentals is often attributed to speculative bubbles. This study examines the sense in which speculative bubbles could in theory lead to excess volatility, hut it demonstrates that some of the variance hounds evidence reported to date precludes bubbles as a reason why asset prices might violate such hounds. The findings must represent some other model misspecffication or market inefficiency. One important misspecification occurs when there searcher incorrectly specifies the time series properties of market fundamentals. A bubble-free example economy characterized by a potential switch in government policies produces paths of asset prices that would appear, to an unwary researcher, to contain bubbles.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert P. Flood & Robert J. Hodrick, 1986. "Asset Price Volatility, Bubbles, and Process Switching," NBER Working Papers 1867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1867
    Note: ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 929-956, December.
    2. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    3. LeRoy, Stephen F, 1984. "Efficiency and the Variability of Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 183-187, May.
    4. 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 222-227, May.
    5. 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 483-498, June.
    6. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1979. "Speculative bubbles, crashes and rational expectations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 387-389.
    7. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-436, June.
    8. Singleton, Kenneth J, 1980. "Expectations Models of the Term Structure and Implied Variance Bounds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1159-1176, December.
    9. Marsh, Terry A. & Merton, Robert C., 1984. "Earnings variablility and variance bounds tests for the rationality of stock market prices," Working papers 1559-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    10. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
    11. 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 745-770, August.
    12. 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.
    13. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-1286, September.
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