Why is the Recent Financial Crisis a ''Once-In-A-Century' Event?

9 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2009

See all articles by Guofu Zhou

Guofu Zhou

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR)

Yingzi Zhu

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Date Written: August 27, 2009

Abstract

In the recent financial crisis, the Dow Jones stock market index dropped about 54% from a high of 14164.53 on October 9, 2007 to a low of 6547.05 on March 9, 2009. Alan Greenspan calls this a 'once-in-a century' crisis. While we do not know how he drew his conclusion, we show that the probability of a stock market drop of 50% from its high within a century is about 90% based on the popular random walk model of the stock prices. With a broad market index of the S&P500 and a more sophisticated asset pricing model which captures more risks in the economy, the probability rises to above 99%. The message of this paper is that a market drop of 50% or more is very likely in long-run stock market investments, and the investors should be prepared for it.

Keywords: financial crisis, Once-in-a-Century event, drawndown probability

JEL Classification: G1

Suggested Citation

Zhou, Guofu and Zhu, Yingzi, Why is the Recent Financial Crisis a ''Once-In-A-Century' Event? (August 27, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1462790 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1462790

Guofu Zhou (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

Washington University
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-6384 (Phone)
314-658-6359 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://apps.olin.wustl.edu/faculty/zhou/

China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR)

Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance
Shanghai P.R.China, 200030
China

Yingzi Zhu

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China
+86-10-62786041 (Phone)

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