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Predicting US recessions with stock market illiquidity

  • Shiu-Sheng Chen , Yu-Hsi Chou EMAIL logo and Chia-Yi Yen


In this paper, we investigate the dynamic link between recessions and stock market liquidity by examining the predictive content of illiquidity for US recessions. After controlling for other commonly featured recession predictors such as term spreads and credit spreads, we find that the illiquidity measure proposed by (Amihud, Y. 2002. “Illiquidity and Stock Returns: Cross-Section and Time-Series Effects.” Journal of Financial Markets 5: 375–340) has strong power in predicting recessions. Moreover, the predictability of the illiquidity measure of small firms is found to be stronger than that of large firms, which supports the hypothesis of “flight to liquidity.”

JEL: E32; E44; G01

Corresponding author: Yu-Hsi Chou, Department of Economics, Fu-Jen Catholic University, No.510, Zhongzheng Rd., Xinzhuang Dist., New Taipei City, Taiwan, Tel.: (+886)-2-2905-2709, Fax: (+886)-02-2905-2188, e-mail:


We would like to thank two anonymous referees, and Chih-Yen Lin for helpful comments and suggestions.


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Supplemental Material:

The online version of this article (DOI: 10.1515/bejm-2015-0009) offers supplementary material, available to authorized users.

Published Online: 2015-7-14
Published in Print: 2016-1-1

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