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Can Technological Change Explain the Stock Market Collapse of 1974


  • Adrian Peralta-Alva

    (University of Minnesota)


This paper uses dynamic general equilibrium models to quantitatively test the idea that technical change caused the stock market collapse of the mid 1970's, its subsequent stagnation, and recovery. First, I consider the hypothesis that the arrival of information technologies (IT) rendered old capital obsolete, and led to a collapse of equity prices. I find that shocks necessary for the IT-revolution to cause the observed drop in Tobin's q imply a two-fold increase in aggregate investment, and a strong expansion in GDP and consumption. Such predictions are orthogonal to what one observes in the data. Next, I consider the hypothesis that the productivity slowdown of the mid 1970's caused an unexpected decrease in the growth rate of shareholders' income, and equity prices fell. This hypothesis is consistent with the behavior of aggregate quantities and it delivers a large decrease in the value of equities, but is not capable of producing the persistently low values of q that characterize the data. My analysis indicates that the main challenge for a general equilibrium explanation of stock market behavior resides in reconciling the movements of Tobin's q with those of aggregate investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Peralta-Alva, 2002. "Can Technological Change Explain the Stock Market Collapse of 1974," Macroeconomics 0211002, EconWPA, revised 19 Nov 2002.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0211002 Note: Type of Document - ; prepared on IBM PC - PC-TEX/UNIX Sparc TeX; pages: 52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barnett William A. & He Yijun, 1999. "Stability Analysis of Continuous-Time Macroeconometric Systems," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-22, January.
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    4. Herbert E. Scarf, 1959. "Some Examples of Global Instability of the Competitive Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 79, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Barnett, William A. & He, Yijun, 2002. "Stabilization Policy As Bifurcation Selection: Would Stabilization Policy Work If The Economy Really Were Unstable?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(05), pages 713-747, November.
    6. Boldrin, Michele & Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Equilibrium models displaying endogenous fluctuations and chaos : A survey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 189-222, March.
    7. Engelbert Dockner & Gustav Feichtinger, 1991. "On the optimality of limit cycles in dynamic economic systems," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 31-50, February.
    8. William A. Barnett & Yijun He, 2004. "New Phenomena Identified in a Stochastic Dynamic Macroeconometric Model: A Bifurcation Perspective," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 145, Society for Computational Economics.
    9. Benhabib, Jess & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1979. "The hopf bifurcation and the existence and stability of closed orbits in multisector models of optimal economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 421-444, December.
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    12. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:5:p:713-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Venkatesh Bala, 1997. "A pitchfork bifurcation in the tatonnement process," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 10(3), pages 521-530.
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    Stock Market Tobin q 1974 Technological Change;

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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