Anticipating the Stock Market Crash of 1929: The View from the Floor of the Stock Exchange
In the months prior to the stock market crash of 1929, the price of a seat on the New York Stock Exchange was abnormally low. Rising stock prices and volume should have driven up seat prices during the boom of 1929; instead there were negative cumulative abnormal returns to seats of approximately 20 percent in the months just before the crash. At the same time, trading nearly ceased in the thin markets for seats on the regional exchanges. Brokers appear thus to have anticipated the October 1929 crash, although investors in the market apparently did not recognize this information.
A preliminary version of this paper was presented at a Conference in Honor of Larry D. Neal on the Occasion of his Retirement, "The Origins and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions" at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Urbana on April 28-29, 2006. Comments from the conference participants are gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.