Rumors and Runs in Opaque Markets: Evidence from the Panic of 1907

46 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2015

See all articles by Caroline Fohlin

Caroline Fohlin

Emory University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Thomas Gehrig

University of Vienna - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Statistics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Vienna Graduate School of Finance (VGSF); Systemic Risk Centre - LSE

Marlene Haas

Independent

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2015

Abstract

Using a new daily dataset for all stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange, we study the impact of information asymmetry during the liquidity freeze and market run of October 1907 - one of the most severe financial crises of the 20th century. We estimate that the run on the market increased spreads from 0.5% to 3% during the peak of the crisis and, using a spread decomposition, we also demonstrate that fears of informed trading account for most of that deterioration of liquidity. Information costs rose most in the mining sector - the origin of the panic rumors - and in other sectors with poor track records of corporate reporting. In addition to wider spreads and tight money markets, we find other hallmarks of information-based illiquidity: trading volume dropped and price impact rose. Importantly, despite short-term cash infusions into the market, we find that the market remained relatively illiquid for several months following the panic. We go on to show that rising illiquidity enters positively in the cross section of stock returns. Thus, our findings demonstrate how opaque markets can easily transmit an idiosyncratic rumor into a long-lasting, market-wide crisis. Our results also demonstrate the usefulness of illiquidity measures to alert market participants to impending market runs.

Keywords: information risk, liquidity risk, price discovery, rumour-based panic

JEL Classification: G00, G14, N00, N2

Suggested Citation

Fohlin, Caroline and Gehrig, Thomas and Haas, Marlene, Rumors and Runs in Opaque Markets: Evidence from the Panic of 1907 (March 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10497. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2584015

Caroline Fohlin (Contact Author)

Emory University ( email )

Dept. of Economics
Atlanta, GA Georgia 30322
United States
4047276363 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Ma08bxEAAAAJ&hl=en

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Thomas Gehrig

University of Vienna - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Statistics ( email )

Vienna, A-1210
Austria

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Vienna Graduate School of Finance (VGSF) ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, 1020
Austria

Systemic Risk Centre - LSE ( email )

Houghton St, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom
London

Marlene Haas

Independent

No Address Available

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