Speculative Fever: Investor Contagion in the Housing Bubble

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Date

2016-02-01

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Abstract

Historical anecdotes of new investors being drawn into a booming asset market, only to suffer when the market turns, abound. While the role of investor contagion in asset bubbles has been explored extensively in the theoretical literature, causal empirical evidence on the topic is virtually non-existent. This paper studies the recent boom and bust in the U.S. housing market, and establishes that many novice investors entered the market as a direct result of observing investing activity of multiple forms in their own neighborhoods, and that “infected” investors performed poorly relative to other investors along several dimensions.

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Scholars@Duke

Bayer

Patrick Bayer

Gilhuly Family Distinguished Professor in Economics

Bayer's research focuses on wide range of subjects including racial inequality and segregation, social interactions, housing markets, education, and criminal justice. His most recent work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review, Econometrica, and the Review of Financial Studies. He is currently working on projects that examine jury representation and its consequences, the intergenerational consequences of residential and school segregation, neighborhood tipping, gentrification, the effect of police and criminal justice interactions on families, and the impact of bail reform.

Roberts

James W. Roberts

Professor of Economics

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