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The Stock Market and Investment

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  • Robert J. Barro

Abstract

Changes in real stock-market prices have a lot of explanatory value of the growth rate of U.S. aggregate business investment, especially for long samples that begin in 1891 or 1921. Moreover, for the period since 1921 where data on a q-type variable are available, the stock market dramatically outperforms q. The change in real stock prices also retains its predictive value in the presence of a cash-flow variable, such as after-tax corporate profits. Basically similar results apply to Canadian investment, except that the U.S. stock market turns out to have move predictive power than the Canadian market. I discuss some possible explanations for this puzzling finding, but none of the explanations seem all that convincing.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Barro, 1989. "The Stock Market and Investment," NBER Working Papers 2925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2925
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    2. Fama, Eugene F, 1981. "Stock Returns, Real Activity, Inflation, and Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 545-565, September.
    3. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-273, March.
    4. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    5. George M. Von Furstenberg, 1977. "Corporate Investment: Does Market Valuation Matter in the Aggregate?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(2), pages 347-408.
    6. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
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