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Classic Bubbles Fin254f: Spring 2010 Lecture notes 2.1.

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Presentation on theme: "Classic Bubbles Fin254f: Spring 2010 Lecture notes 2.1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Classic Bubbles Fin254f: Spring 2010 Lecture notes 2.1

2 Three Classic Bubbles  Tulips (Holland, )  Mississippi Bubble (France, )  South Sea (UK, 1720)

3 Tulip Bubble in Economic Lore  Key story of irrational speculation  Indicative of completely crazy pricing  “Tulipmania”  “X” just like tulips  Garber is not so sure on this

4 Tulip History  Holland  Tulips infected with virus Causes spectacular colors in infected tulips Cannot be propagated through seeds Only from buds of mother bulb (limited supply: 1-2 per bulb) Weakens bulbs too  Relatively rare

5 Bulb Markets:  Before 1634: Professional growers only  Flowers cultivated in June  Markets from September - June are futures markets  Delivery in June  Most formal markets  Often meet in taverns

6 Futures Nature of Trading  Purchase contract for later delivery (June) Some uncertainty as to the exact structure  Small initial amount down (about 1/40 contract price)  Make or lose depending on eventual spot  Differences from futures No margins: positions can be very large No marking to market

7 Two Markets  Very rare bulbs Serious/informed traders Markets go for entire period Often just spot (not futures)  More common bulbs Start in late (November) 1636 Traded by a wide range of people

8 Rare Bulb Example: Admiral van der Eyck  Guilders/aas(1/20 gram)  1634: 1.5  July 1636: 2  Feb 1637: 4.25

9 Common Bulb Oudenaerden  Nov 1636:  Dec 1636:  Jan 19, 1637: 0.30  Jan 31, 1637: 0.50  Feb, 1637, max = 0.8, avg = 0.5

10 The Crash  First week of Feb, 1637  Bulb trading ends  Markets formally shut down in April  Prices hard to find

11 Some Price Falls  Witte Croonen (Guilders/1/2 lb.) Jan 1637: 64 Feb 5, 1637: or 1643: 37.5 Depreciation 76%  General Rotgans (Guilders / bulb) Feb 1637: or 43: 138 Depreciation 35%

12 Later Data  Rare bulb cycles  Garber finds that percent depreciations are common for very rare bulbs

13 Economic Impact  Rare bulb price increases had little impact on general agriculture  Common bulb increases occurred after planting (Sept 1636)  Did Holland go into recession?

14 Key Points  Futures and credits  Final (last month) frenzy  Technological foundations  Heterogeneous markets Informed/rare: less bubble like Uninformed/common: more bubble like  Was there a bubble?

15 2. South Sea Bubble  Stock market event of 1720  Sister bubble in Mississippi company  Both show big run ups in stock price and eventual crashes

16 Technology Changes  South Sea and Mississippi both issue shares in exchange for government debt (UK and France)  Set to exploit trade with Americas Spanish withdrawing  First publicly traded insurance companies appear

17 South Sea Share Prices  UK pounds 1720 Jan 1: 150 April 10: 300 July 20: 1000 Nov 1: 150

18 Margin Buying  Investors able to buy on 10 percent margin in most of this period

19 IPO Bubble Starts  Lots of great stories Crazy companies: Sunlight from cucumbers “A company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is”

20 Bubble Act  June 1720: Parliament passes “bubble act”  New firms need to be approved by parliament  Tries to stop new fraudulent companies  Enforced at end of August 1720  Downward pressure on new companies  Unwinding margin buyers drives liquidity scramble  South Sea company falls too

21 Frehen et al. New Evidence on the First Financial Bubble  Break down stock price movements  Different firms, and different information  Were speculators indiscriminant or,  Were they following some economic logic?

22 Cross Section in London Stock Exchange  South Sea increases about 10x  Two others increase more London assurance 50x Royal exchange assurance 11x  East India Company Involved in South Asia trade Increases 3.5x

23 Dutch Shares  Dutch East Indies company Moderate increase (10 percent)  Dutch West Indies company Increases by 10x  Investors again value Atlantic trade  Similar patterns to London market  Economic causes, financial integration(timing)  If bubble then not local

24 Timing  Some evidence for spillover from Britain to Holland  Bubbles seem to move ahead in Britain

25 Cause of the Crash  Bubble act  Insurance problems Loss of fleet of 12 ships off Jamaica Burglary of a director’s house

26 More on Dutch Firms  Dutch firms did not purchase government debt  That could not be the cause for their price rise  Suggest it might not have that much to do with either the South Sea or Mississippi bubbles either

27 Final Returns over 1720  Three Atlantic trading firms do well South Sea (up 45%) Royal Africa (up 91%) West Indies Company (up 51%)

28 Economic Impact  Big negative hit on insurance underwriting

29 Fun Quote: Sir Isaac Newton  Newton was one of the losers in the South Sea Bubble  “I have learned to predict the movement of celestial bodies but not the movement of man in markets.”

30 Early Bubbles: Summary  Large increases and crashes in prices  Expansion of credit  Some “logic” to beliefs Sensible beginnings Total craziness at the end (uninformed speculation)  Economic impact??


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