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Differences of Opinion, Rational Arbitrage and Market Crashes

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  • Harrison Hong
  • Jeremy C. Stein

Abstract

We develop a theory of stock-market crashes based on differences of opinion among investors. Because of short-sales constraints, bearish investors do not initially participate in the market and their information is not revealed in prices. However, if other, previously-bullish investors have a change of heart and bail out of market, the originally-more-bearish group may become the marginal "support buyers", and hence more will be learned about their signals. Thus accumulated hidden information tends to come out during market declines. The model helps explain a variety of stylized facts, including: 1) large movements in prices unaccompanied by significant news about fundamentals; 2) negative skewness in the distribution of market returns; and 3) increased correlation among stocks in a falling market. In addition, the model makes a distinctive out-of-sample prediction: that negative skewness will be most pronounced conditional on high trading volume.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison Hong & Jeremy C. Stein, 1999. "Differences of Opinion, Rational Arbitrage and Market Crashes," NBER Working Papers 7376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7376
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aamir R. Hashmi & Anthony S. Tay, 2001. "Global and Regional Sources of Risk in Equity Markets: Evidence from Factor Models with Time-Varying Conditional Skewness," Departmental Working Papers wp0116, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
    2. Narayan, Paresh Kumar & Ahmed, Huson Ali, 2014. "Importance of skewness in decision making: Evidence from the Indian stock exchange," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 260-269.
    3. Emerson Fernandes Marcal & Pedro Valls Pereira & Diogenes Manoel Leiva Martin & Wilson Toshiro Nakamura, 2011. "Evaluation of contagion or interdependence in the financial crises of Asia and Latin America, considering the macroeconomic fundamentals," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(19), pages 2365-2379.
    4. Chen, Joseph & Hong, Harrison & Stein, Jeremy C., 2002. "Breadth of ownership and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 171-205.
    5. Chen, Joseph & Hong, Harrison & Stein, Jeremy C., 2001. "Forecasting crashes: trading volume, past returns, and conditional skewness in stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 345-381, September.
    6. Benjamas Jirasakuldech & Robert Campbell & John Knight, 2006. "Are There Rational Speculative Bubbles in REITs?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 105-127, March.
    7. Andrew Ang & Joseph Chen & Yuhang Xing, 2001. "Downside Risk and the Momentum Effect," NBER Working Papers 8643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cheolbeom Park, 2001. "Stock Returns and the Dispersion in Earnings Forecasts," Departmental Working Papers wp0117, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
    9. Abdulnasser Hatemi-J & Eduardo Roca, 2010. "The Impact of the US Real Estate Market on Other Major Markets During Normal and Crisis Periods," Discussion Papers in Finance finance:201003, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
    10. Kenneth A. Froot & Tarun Ramadorai, 2001. "The Information Content of International Portfolio Flows," NBER Working Papers 8472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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