The 1929 Stock Market: Irving Fisher Was Right

19 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2004

See all articles by Ellen R. McGrattan

Ellen R. McGrattan

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Edward C. Prescott

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

Many stock market analysts think that in 1929, at the time of the crash, stocks were overvalued. Irving Fisher argued just before the crash that fundamentals were strong and the stock market was undervalued. In this article, we use growth theory to estimate the fundamental value of corporate equity and compare it to actual stock valuations. Our estimate is based on values of productive corporate capital, both tangible and intangible, and tax rates on corporate income and distributions. The evidence strongly suggests that Fisher was right. Even at the 1929 peak, stocks were undervalued relative to the prediction of theory.

JEL Classification: G12, G14, G29, M41

Suggested Citation

McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C., The 1929 Stock Market: Irving Fisher Was Right. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=608477

Ellen R. McGrattan

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States
612-340-2587 (Phone)
612-340-2356 (Fax)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Edward C. Prescott (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3806
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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