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Cross-Section of a ‘Bubble’: Stock Prices and Dividends during the British Railway Mania

  • Campbell, Gareth
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    Historical ‘bubbles’ are often attributed to mispricing, but the empirical analysis of such episodes has been limited. This paper examines a notable but academically neglected period, known as the British Railway Mania, using a new dataset and a cross-sectional methodology which is unique to the study of historical asset price reversals. The main finding is that the cross-sectional variation in stock prices, in every week of the sample, is explained by the cross-sectional variation in dividends, growth and risk, with no significant differences between the railways and non-railways. This implies that an economic bubble was not responsible for the rise and fall in the prices of railway assets at this time.

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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21821.

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    Date of creation: 31 Mar 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21821
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    1. Froot, Kenneth A & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Intrinsic Bubbles: The Case of Stock Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1189-214, December.
    2. Diba, Behzad T & Grossman, Herschel I, 1988. "Explosive Rational Bubbles in Stock Prices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 520-30, June.
    3. Refet Gurkaynak, 2005. "Econometric Tests of Asset Price Bubbles: Taking Stock," Finance 0504008, EconWPA.
    4. Brunnermeier, Markus K & Julliard, Christian, 2007. "Money Illusion and Housing Frenzies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Bordo, Michael D & Jeanne, Olivier, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Asset Prices: Does 'Benign Neglect' Make Sense?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 139-64, Summer.
    6. Luboš Pástor & Pietro Veronesi, 2009. "Technological Revolutions and Stock Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1451-83, September.
    7. West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Specification Test for Speculative Bubbles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 553-80, August.
    8. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2010:x:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-36, June.
    10. Peter M. DeMarzo & Ron Kaniel & Ilan Kremer, 2008. "Relative Wealth Concerns and Financial Bubbles," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 19-50, January.
    11. Joakim Westerlund, 2007. "Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(6), pages 709-748, December.
    12. Flood, Robert P & Hodrick, Robert J, 1990. "On Testing for Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 85-101, Spring.
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