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Was there a bubble in the 1929 Stock Market?

  • Peter Rappoport
  • Eugene N. White

Standard tests find that no bubbles are present in the stock price data for the last one hundred years. In contrast., historical accounts, focusing on briefer periods, point to the stock market of 1928-1929 as a classic example of a bubble. While previous studies have restricted their attention to the joint behavior of stock prices and dividends over the course of a century, this paper uses the behavior of the premia demanded on loans collateralized by the purchase of stocks to evaluate the claim that the boom and crash of 1929 represented a bubble. We develop a model that permits us to extract an estimate of the path of the bubble and its probability of bursting in any period and demonstrate that the premium behaves as would be expected in the presence of a bubble in stock prices. We also find that our estimate of the bubble's path has explanatory power when added to the standard cointegrating regressions of stock prices and dividends, in spite of the fact that our stock price and dividend series are cointegrated.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3612.

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Date of creation: Feb 1991
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic History, vol. 53, no. 3 (September 1993), pp. 549-574
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3612
Note: ME
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  1. Joe Mattey and Richard Meese., 1986. "Empirical Assessment of Present Value Relations," Research Program in Finance Working Papers 162, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 785, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hamilton, James D, 1986. "On Testing for Self-fulfilling Speculative Price Bubbles," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(3), pages 545-52, October.
  5. Dominguez, Kathryn M & Fair, Ray C & Shapiro, Matthew D, 1988. "Forecasting the Depression: Harvard versus Yale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 595-612, September.
  6. Diba, Behzad T & Grossman, Herschel I, 1987. "On the Inception of Rational Bubbles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 697-700, August.
  7. Durlauf, Steven N & Phillips, Peter C B, 1988. "Trends versus Random Walks in Time Series Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1333-54, November.
  8. Robert B. Barsky & J. Bradford De Long, 1989. "Bull and Bear Markets in the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 3171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  10. Peter C.B. Phillips & Pierre Perron, 1986. "Testing for a Unit Root in Time Series Regression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 795R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Sep 1987.
  11. Jaffee, Dwight M., 1975. "Cyclical variations in the risk structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 309-325, July.
  12. Robert P. Flood & Robert J. Hodrick, 1989. "Testable Implications of Indeterminacies in Models with Rational Expectations," NBER Working Papers 2903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Miron, Jeffrey A. & Romer, Christina D., 1990. "A New Monthly Index of Industrial Production, 1884–1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 321-337, June.
  14. White, Halbert & Domowitz, Ian, 1984. "Nonlinear Regression with Dependent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 143-61, January.
  15. Engle, Robert F. & Yoo, Byung Sam, 1987. "Forecasting and testing in co-integrated systems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 143-159, May.
  16. West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Specification Test for Speculative Bubbles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 553-80, August.
  17. White, Eugene Nelson, 1986. "Before the Glass-Steagall Act: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 33-55, January.
  18. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1989. "Business conditions and expected returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-49, November.
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