Collective Effervescence in Retail Investors: An Exploratory Inquiry to Understand the Meme Stock Bubble
16 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2023
Date Written: January 9, 2023
The recent episodes of the gains and losses in their share price of meme stocks (e.g., GameStop) at an unexpectedly fast pace and at a large magnitude would be viewed as “speculative bubbles” associated with Irrational Exuberance (IE) of the investors. In this paper, we shed light on a unique aspect of the phenomenon contrasting from IE. Namely, we suggest understanding the driving force of the meme stock “bubbles” as Collective Effervescence (CE) which is a novel concept in Finance literature although widely shared in other Social Science disciplines such as Sociology and Anthropology. In short, CE is a state where people are in co-excitements or in non-everyday life feeling, which is needed for the existence and unity of the community. We assert that the trading meme stocks and sharing the experience by posting and commenting on online discussion board e.g., WallStreetBets (WSB), served as a “ritual” needed to develop the state of CE which fosters the togetherness of the online retail investors community. We apply the SPEAKING model, a framework for Speech events analysis while developing our view and demonstrate examples of CE in WSB community featuring Matsuri, a form of online communication expressing the togetherness of the community.
Keywords: Collective Effervescence, Irrational Exuberance, Retail Investors, Meme stocks, Bubble, Speech Event, SPEAKING model, Matsuri
JEL Classification: B50, G02, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation