Dispelling the Myth of the Naive Investor During the British Railway Mania, 1845-46
Business History Review (2012) vol 86, no. 1, pp. 3-41
43 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2012
Anecdotal evidence from the British Railway Mania and other historical financial bubbles suggests that many investors during such episodes are naive, thus contributing to the asset price boom. Using extensive investor records, we find that very few investors during the Railway Mania can be categorized as such. Some interpretations of the Mania suggest that naive investors were expropriated by railway insiders, but our evidence is inconsistent with this view as railway insiders contributed substantial amounts of capital, and their investments performed no better than those made by other experienced investors.
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