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Have Financial Markets Become More Informative?

  • Jennie Bai

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

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    The finance industry has grown. Financial markets have become more liquid. But have prices become more informative? We use stock and bond prices to forecast earnings and find that the information content of market prices has not increased since 1960. The magnitude of earnings surprises has increased. A baseline model predicts that as the efficiency of information production increases, prices become more disperse and covary more strongly with future earnings. The predictable component of earnings improves capital allocation and serves as a direct measure of welfare. We nd that this measure has remained stable. A model with endogenous information acquisition predicts that an increase in fundamental uncertainty also increases informativeness as the incentive to produce information grows. We find that uncertainty has indeed increased outside of the S&P 500, but price informativeness has not. Prices have become stronger predictors of R&D investment.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_1193.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 1193.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:1193
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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    1. Merton, Robert C, 1987. " A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 483-510, July.
    2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
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    7. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Financial Dependence and Growth," CRSP working papers 344, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    8. Thomas Philippon, 2007. "Why Has the U.S. Financial Sector Grown so Much? The Role of Corporate Finance," NBER Working Papers 13405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kyle, Albert S, 1985. "Continuous Auctions and Insider Trading," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1315-35, November.
    10. John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 1-43, 02.
    11. Glosten, Lawrence R. & Milgrom, Paul R., 1985. "Bid, ask and transaction prices in a specialist market with heterogeneously informed traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 71-100, March.
    12. 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.
    13. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2010. "Financial Innovation and Financial Fragility," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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