Market sentiment, asset prices, and the macroeconomy

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Economics
Author Hamalainen, Dustin
Title Market sentiment, asset prices, and the macroeconomy
Date 2019
Description This dissertation consists of three papers that contribute to a growing literature on behavioral theories of financial market instability. The traditional approach to financial theory assumes that any profitable speculation in financial markets will have stabilizing effects on prices. Speculation could only be destabilizing if investors, on average, bought high and sold low. Since this strategy would be unprofitable, speculation should dampen fluctuations as "arbitrageurs" bet against speculative bubbles. Despite the large body of theoretical and empirical work in favor of the idea that speculation has destabilizing effects on asset prices, the "traditional view" has still been used to argue that bank lending for the speculative purchase of assets will reduce price volatility. In the first paper, I compare the contemporary behavioral finance literature with Keynes' early writing on financial markets. I show that many of Keynes' arguments can be supported by the use of heterogeneous agent models of investor behavior. In the second paper, I argue that financial intermediaries play a role in perpetuating periods of overvaluation through the extension of credit used for speculation. Using a Markov-switching vector autoregressive model with time-varying transition probabilities, I show that the expected duration of a "bull market" is dependent on the portfolio decisions of financial and nonfinancial sectors. As such, when the banking system lends against collateral, which is itself the object of speculation, asset price bubbles can persist, even when a growing share of investors believe that assets are overvalued. In the third paper, I explore the nature of expectation formation from the perspective of Kaldor (1939) with a focus on the portfolio decisions of institutional investors. I find that institutional investor equity positions become more responsive to price changes during periods that we commonly associate with financial bubbles.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Dustin Hamalainen
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6gz0cc0
Setname ir_etd
ID 1711626
Reference URL
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