Bubbles and crashes revisited

Document Type


Publication Date



Based on the pioneering work of Smith, Suchanek, & Williams (1988) experimental researchers have concluded that assets markets are prone to bubbles and crashes in experimental settings. Numerous authors employing the SSW framework have incorporated features designed to reduce or eliminate the observed bubbles (e.g., circuit breakers, short selling, long-lived assets) with little success. This paper alters the underlying process determining the asset's fundamental value by incorporating a new experimental design feature. Its results indicate that asset prices and fundamental value can indeed deviate per SSW?s original results, but the popular interpretation that markets will persistently bubble and crash is misconstrued. Indeed, it appears that rapidly decreasing fundamental values contribute to the bubble. In markets with slowly decreasing, constant or increasing fundamental values, bubbles and crashes are much less common, appearing when the asset price significantly deviates from fundamental value at the onset of the experiment. These interpretations hold in presence or absence of circuit breakers in the market.

Publisher's Statement

Published by the Academic Research Centre of Canada. Publisher's version of record: http://www.bapress.ca/ref/ref-2012-3/Bubbles%20and%20Crashes%20Revisited.pdf

Publication Title

Review of Economics and Finance