Becker Friedman Institute

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Stock Price Booms and Expected Capital Gains?

The booms and busts in U.S. stock prices over the post-war period can to a large extent be explained by áuctuations in investorsísubjective capital gains expectations. Survey measures of these expectations display excessive optimism at market peaks and excessive pessimism at market troughs. Formally incorporating subjective price beliefs into an otherwise standard asset pricing model with utility maximizing investors, we show how subjective belief dynamics can temporarily delink stock prices from their fundamental value and give rise to asset price booms that ultimately result in a price bust. The model quantitatively replicates (1) the volatility of stock prices and (2) the positive correlation between the price dividend ratio and expected returns observed in survey data. We show that models imposing objective or ërationalíprice expectations cannot simultaneously account for both facts. Our endings imply that large parts of U.S. stock price áuctuations are not due to standard fundamental forces, instead result from self- reinforcing belief dynamics triggered by these fundamentals.

Klaus Adam, University of Mannheim
Albert Marcet, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics
Johannes Beutel, University of Mannheim
Publication Date: 
March, 2015
Publication Type: