DP14532 Credit Provision and Stock Trading: Evidence from the South Sea Bubble

Author(s): Fabio Braggion, Rik Frehen, Emiel Jerphanion
Publication Date: March 2020
Date Revised: June 2021
Keyword(s): Bubble, Credit Provision, Investor Behavior, Margin Loans
JEL(s): G01, G12, G21, N23
Programme Areas: Financial Economics, Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14532

This paper studies the mechanism that relates credit provision to asset prices. On one extreme, cheap credit may reduce the cost of capital and increase prices without trading. On the other extreme, naive borrowers may unsuccessfully ride a bubble. We collect every stock transaction for three major British companies during the 1720 South Sea Bubble. We find that loan holders are more likely to buy (sell) following high (low) returns. Loan holders also subscribe to overvalued shares and incur large trading losses. Our results are driven by traders self-selecting into credit facilities and by credit changing the trading behavior.