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DP6244 | The Dog that Did Not Bark: Insider Trading and Crashes

Publication Date

23/04/2007

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Abstract

This paper documents that at the individual stock level insiders sales peak many months before a large drop in the stock price, while insiders purchases peak only the month before a large jump. We provide a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon based on trading constraints and asymmetric information. A key feature of our theory is that rational uninformed investors may react more strongly to the absence of insider sales than to their presence (the 'dog that did not bark' effect). We test our hypothesis against competing stories such as patterns of insider trading driven by earnings announcement dates, or insiders timing their trades to evade prosecution.