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Technological Revolutions and Stock Prices

48 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2006  

Lubos Pastor

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Pietro Veronesi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2005

Abstract

During technological revolutions, stock prices of innovative firms tend to exhibit high volatility and bubble-like patterns, which are often attributed to investor irrationality. We develop a general equilibrium model that rationalizes the observed price patterns. The high volatility results from high uncertainty about the average productivity of a new technology. Investors learn about this productivity before deciding whether to adopt the technology on a large scale. For technologies that are ultimately adopted, the nature of uncertainty changes from idiosyncratic to systematic as the adoption becomes more likely; as a result, stock prices fall after an initial run-up. This 'bubble' in stock prices is observable ex post but unpredictable ex ante, and it is most pronounced for technologies characterized by high uncertainty and fast adoption. We examine stock prices in the early days of American railroads, and find evidence consistent with a large-scale adoption of the railroad technology by the late 1850s.

Keywords: Bubble, railroads, technology, innovation

JEL Classification: G1

Suggested Citation

Pastor, Lubos and Veronesi, Pietro, Technological Revolutions and Stock Prices (December 2005). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5428. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=896232

Lubos Pastor (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-4080 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ChicagoGSB.edu/fac/lubos.pastor/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Pietro Veronesi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-6348 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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