Essays on oil price shocks and financial markets
This thesis is composed of three chapters, which can be read independently. The first chapter investigates how oil price volatility affects the investment decisions for a panel of Japanese firms. The model is estimated using a system generalized method of moments technique for panel data. The results are presented to show that there is a U-shaped relationship between oil price volatility and Japanese firm investment. The results from subsamples of these data indicate that this U-shaped relationship is more significant for oil-intensive firms and small firms. The second chapter aims to examine the underlying causes of changes in real oil price and their transmission mechanisms in the Japanese stock market. I decompose real oil price changes into three components; namely, oil supply shock, aggregate demand shock and oil-specific demand shock, and then estimate the dynamic effects of each component on stock returns using a structural vector autoregressive (SVAR) model. I find that the responses of aggregate Japanese real stock returns differ substantially with different underlying causes of oil price changes. In the long run, oil shocks account for 43% of the variation in the Japanese real stock returns. The response of Japanese real stock returns to oil price shocks can be attributed in its entirety to the cash flow variations. The third chapter tests the robustness of SVAR and investigates the impact of oil price shocks on the different U.S. stock indices. I find that the responses of real stock returns of alternate stock indices differ substantially depending on the underlying causes of the oil price increase. However, the magnitude and length of the effect depends on the firm size. The response of U.S. stock returns to oil price shocks can be attributed to the variations of expected discount rates and expected cash flows.