William Brown

Department of Economics
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, CA 91711

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Institutional Affiliation: Claremont McKenna College

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2006Competing With the NYSE
with J. Harold Mulherin, Marc D. Weidenmier: w12343
We study the stock exchange rivalry between the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Consolidated Stock Exchange (Consolidated) from 1885 to 1926 using a new database of bid-ask spreads and stock data collected from The New York Times and other primary sources. The magnitude of this important, but largely forgotten rivalry was substantial. From 1885 to 1895, the ratio of Consolidated to NYSE volume averaged 40 percent and reached as high as 60 percent. The market share of the Consolidated averaged 23 percent for approximately 40 years. The Consolidated focused on the relatively liquid securities on the NYSE as measured by bid-ask spreads and trading volume. Our results suggest that NYSE bid-ask spreads fell by more than 10 percent when the Consolidated began to trade NYSE stocks while bi...
May 2005Volatility in an Era of Reduced Uncertainty: Lessons from Pax Britannica
with Richard C. K. Burdekin, Marc D. Weidenmier: w11319
Although it has been well established that financial volatility is related to news and macroeconomic shocks, there has been less emphasis on the importance of underlying economic and political stability. In this paper we study the behavior of consol returns since 1729 and identify a greater-than-50% decline in volatility from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 until the First World War. News events and macroeconomic variables cannot account for this extended period of reduced volatility. Underlying political stability under Pax Britannica seems to be a more likely explanation, however.

Published: Brown, William O., Jr., Richard C. K. Burdekin and Marc D. Weidenmier. "Volatility In An Era Of Reduced Uncertainty: Lessons From Pax Britannica," Journal of Financial Economics, 2006, v79(3,Mar), 693-707. citation courtesy of

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