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Stock Prices, Lockdowns, and Economic Activity in the Time of Coronavirus

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  • Steven J. Davis
  • Dingqian Liu
  • Xuguang Simon Sheng

Abstract

Stock prices and workplace mobility trace out striking clockwise paths in daily data from mid-February to late May 2020. Global stock prices fell 30 percent from 17 February to 12 March, before mobility declined. Over the next 11 days, stocks fell another 10 percentage points as mobility dropped 40 percent. From 23 March to 9 April, stocks recovered half their losses and mobility fell further. From 9 April to late May, both stocks and mobility rose modestly. This dynamic plays out across the 35 countries in our sample, with a few notable exceptions. We also find that stricter lockdown policies, both in-country and globally, drove larger declines in national stock prices conditional on pandemic severity, workplace mobility, and income support and debt relief policies. Looking more closely at the two largest economies, the pandemic had greater effects on stock market levels and volatilities in the U.S. than in China. Narrative evidence confirms the dominant – and historically unprecedented – role of pandemic-related developments for stock prices in both countries. The size of the global stock market crash in reaction to the pandemic is many times larger than a standard asset-pricing model implies.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven J. Davis & Dingqian Liu & Xuguang Simon Sheng, 2021. "Stock Prices, Lockdowns, and Economic Activity in the Time of Coronavirus," NBER Working Papers 28320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28320
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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