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Birth or Burst of Financial Bubbles: Which One is Easier to Diagnose?

Guilherme Demos, Qunzhi Zhang and Didier Sornette
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Qunzhi Zhang: ETH Zurich
Didier Sornette: ETH Zurich and Swiss Finance Institute

No 15-57, Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series from Swiss Finance Institute

Abstract: Abreu and Brunnermeier (2003) have argued that bubbles are not suppressed by arbitrageurs because they fail to synchronise on the uncertain beginning of the bubble. We propose an indirect quantitative test of this hypothesis and confront it with the alternative according to which bubbles persist due to the difficulty of agreeing on the end of bubbles. We present systematic tests of the precision and reliability with which the beginning t_1 and end t_c of a bubble can be determined. For this, we use a specific bubble model, the log-periodic power law singularity (LPPLS) model, which represents a bubble as a transient noisy super-exponential price trajectory decorated by accelerated volatility oscillations. Generalising the estimation procedure to endogenise the beginning of the fitting time interval, we quantify the uncertainty on the calibrated t_1 and t_c (as well as the other model parameters) via the eigenvalues of the Hessian matrix, which characterise the shape of the calibration cost function in the different directions in parameter space, on many synthetic data and four historical bubble cases. We find overwhelming evidence that the beginning of bubbles is much better constrained that their end. Our results are robust over all four empirical bubbles and many synthetic tests, as well as when changing the time of analysis (the "present") during the development of the bubbles. As a bonus, we find that the two structural parameters of the LPPLS model, the exponent m controlling the super-exponential growth of price and the angular log-periodic frequency omega describing the log-periodic acceleration of volatility, are very "rigid" according the Hessian matrix analysis, which supports the LPPLS model as a reasonable candidate for describing the generating process of prices during bubbles.

Keywords: Financial bubbles; sloppiness; Hessian matrix; Time Series Analysis; Numerical Simulation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C32 C53 G01 G17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42 pages
Date: 2015-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cmp and nep-fmk
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Journal Article: Birth or burst of financial bubbles: which one is easier to diagnose? (2017) Downloads
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