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Why Does Stock Market Volatility Change Over Time?

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  • G. William Schwert

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relation of stock volatility with real and nominal macroeconomic volatility, financial leverage, stock trading activity, default risk, and firm profitability using monthly data from 1857-1986. An important fact, previously noted by Officer [l973], is that stock return variability was unusually high during the 1929-1940 Great Depression. Moreover, leverage has a relatively small effect on stock volatility. The amplitude of the fluctuations in aggregate stock volatility is difficult to explain using simple models of stock valuation.

Suggested Citation

  • G. William Schwert, 1988. "Why Does Stock Market Volatility Change Over Time?," NBER Working Papers 2798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2798
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Scholes, Myron & Williams, Joseph, 1977. "Estimating betas from nonsynchronous data," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 309-327, December.
    2. Campbell, John & Shiller, Robert, 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Scholarly Articles 3224293, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Abel, Andrew B., 1988. "Stock prices under time-varying dividend risk : An exact solution in an infinite-horizon general equilibrium model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 375-393.
    4. French, Kenneth R. & Schwert, G. William & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1987. "Expected stock returns and volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-29, September.
    5. Schwert, G. William, 1987. "Effects of model specification on tests for unit roots in macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 73-103, July.
    6. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
    7. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
    8. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-676, July.
    9. French, Kenneth R. & Roll, Richard, 1986. "Stock return variances : The arrival of information and the reaction of traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 5-26, September.
    10. Fama, Eugene F, 1976. "Inflation Uncertainty and Expected Returns on Treasury Bills," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 427-448, June.
    11. Wilson, Jack W & Jones, Charles P, 1987. "A Comparison of Annual Common Stock Returns: 1871-1925 with 1926-85," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 239-258, April.
    12. Raymond W. Goldsmith & Robert E. Lipsey & Morris Mendelson, 1963. "Studies in the National Balance Sheet of the United States, Volume 2," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold63-2.
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    Cited by:

    1. West, Kenneth D. & Cho, Dongchul, 1995. "The predictive ability of several models of exchange rate volatility," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 367-391, October.
    2. Hou, Yang & Li, Steven, 2014. "The impact of the CSI 300 stock index futures: Positive feedback trading and autocorrelation of stock returns," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 319-337.
    3. Matthew C. Li, 2014. "The US zero-coupon yield spread as a predictor of excess daily stock market volatility," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(13), pages 889-906, July.
    4. G. William Schwert, 1989. "Indexes of United States Stock Prices From 1802 to 1987," NBER Working Papers 2985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lennart Hoogerheide & Anne Opschoor & Herman K. van Dijk, 2011. "A Class of Adaptive EM-based Importance Sampling Algorithms for Efficient and Robust Posterior and Predictive Simulation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-004/4, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Rita De Siano, 2000. "Financial Variables As Leading Indicators: An Application To The G7 Countries," Working Papers 6_2000, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    7. King, Daniel & Botha, Ferdi, 2015. "Modelling stock return volatility dynamics in selected African markets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 50-73.
    8. Francois Gourio, 2012. "Disaster Risk and Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2734-2766, October.
    9. Filiz Eryilmaz, 2015. "Modelling Stock Market Volatility: The Case Of Bist-100," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 5, pages 37-47, October.
    10. Wang, Yuanfang & Roberts, Matthew C., 2005. "Realized Volatility in the Agricultural Futures Market," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19211, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    11. Patrick Artus, 1990. "Spéculateurs hétérogènes et chocs monétaires," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 41(5), pages 895-922.

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