Does Insider Trading Raise Market Volatility?* 


  • * 

    We thank Win-Lin Chou, Guy Meredith, Martin Feldstein, Randall Morck, Andrew Sheng, Andrei Shleifer, Kafu Wong and seminar participants at an NBER meeting in China, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research, University of Hong Kong, and the Institute for International Economic Studies in Tokyo for helpful discussion, and Hayden Smith and Yi Wu for superb research assistance. The views in the paper are the authors’ own and may not be shared by any organisation that the authors are or have been associated with. All errors are the authors’ responsibilities. The data used in the paper will be made available in the year after its publication.


This paper studies the role of insider trading in explaining cross-country differences in stock market volatility. It introduces a new measure of insider trading. The central finding is that countries with more prevalent insider trading have more volatile stock markets, even after one controls for liquidity/maturity of the market, and the volatility of the underlying fundamentals (volatility of real output and of monetary and fiscal policies). Moreover, the effect of insider trading is quantitatively significant when compared with the effect of economic fundamentals.