Leverage Causes Fat Tails and Clustered Volatility
AbstractWe build a simple model of leveraged asset purchases with margin calls. Investment funds use what is perhaps the most basic financial strategy, called "value investing," i.e., systematically attempting to buy underpriced assets. When funds do not borrow, the price fluctuations of the asset are approximately normally distributed and uncorrelated across time. This changes when the funds are allowed to leverage, i.e., borrow from a bank, which allows them to purchase more assets than their wealth would otherwise permit. During good times funds that use more leverage have higher profits, increasing their wealth and making them dominant in the market. However, if a downward price fluctuation occurs while one or more funds are fully leveraged, the resulting margin call causes them to sell into an already falling market, amplifying the downward price movement. If the funds hold large positions in the asset this can cause substantial losses. This in turns leads to clustered volatility: Before a crash, when the value funds are dominant, they damp volatility, and after the crash, when they suffer severe losses, volatility is high. This leads to power law tails which are both due to the leverage-induced crashes and due to the clustered volatility induced by the wealth dynamics. This is in contrast to previous explanations of fat tails and clustered volatility, which depended on "irrational behavior," such as trend following. A standard (supposedly more sophisticated) risk control policy in which individual banks base leverage limits on volatility causes leverage to rise during periods of low volatility, and to contract more quickly when volatility gets high, making these extreme fluctuations even worse.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1745R.
Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision: Nov 2011
Publication status: Published in Quantitative Finance (May 2012), 12(5): 695-707
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Other versions of this item:
- Stefan Thurner & J. Doyne Farmer & John Geanakoplos, 2012. "Leverage causes fat tails and clustered volatility," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(5), pages 695-707, February.
- Stefan Thurner & J. Doyne Farmer & John Geanakoplos, 2009. "Leverage Causes Fat Tails and Clustered Volatility," Papers 0908.1555, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2010.
- Stefan Thurner & J. Doyne Farmer & John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Leverage Causes Fat Tails and Clustered Volatility," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1745, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
- E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
- G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
- G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
- G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Xavier Gabaix & Parameswaran Gopikrishnan & Vasiliki Plerou & H. Eugene Stanley, 2006.
"Institutional Investors and Stock Market Volatility,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 461-504, May.
- Xavier Gabaix & Parameswaran Gopikrishnan & Vasiliki Plerou & H. Eugene Stanley, 2005. "Institutional Investors and Stock Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 11722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:att:wimass:9625 is not listed on IDEAS
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009.
"Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity,"
Review of Financial Studies,
Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2201-2238, June.
- Brunnermeier, Markus K & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 12939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lasse Heje Pederson & Markus K Brunnermeier, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," FMG Discussion Papers dp580, Financial Markets Group.
- Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008.
"Liquidity and leverage,"
328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Guercio, Diane Del & Tkac, Paula A., 2002. "The Determinants of the Flow of Funds of Managed Portfolios: Mutual Funds vs. Pension Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(04), pages 523-557, December.
- Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995.
"Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives,"
NBER Working Papers
5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
- Chevalier, J. & Ellison, G., 1996. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Working papers 96-3, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Lux, T. & M. Marchesi, . "Scaling and Criticality in a Stochastic Multi-Agent Model of a Financial Market," Discussion Paper Serie B 438, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Jul 1998.
- G. Caldarelli & M. Marsili & Y. -C. Zhang, 1997. "A Prototype Model of Stock Exchange," Papers cond-mat/9709118, arXiv.org.
- repec:att:wimass:9621 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:att:wimass:9706 is not listed on IDEAS
- Ole Peters, 2009. "Optimal leverage from non-ergodicity," Papers 0902.2965, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2010.
- Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
- John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-44, September.
- V. Plerou & P. Gopikrishnan & L. A. N. Amaral & M. Meyer & H. E. Stanley, 1999. "Scaling of the distribution of price fluctuations of individual companies," Papers cond-mat/9907161, arXiv.org.
- Brock, William A. & Hommes, Cars H., 1998.
"Heterogeneous beliefs and routes to chaos in a simple asset pricing model,"
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control,
Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1235-1274, August.
- John Geanakoplos, 2009. "The Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1715, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- W. Brian Arthur & John H. Holland & Blake LeBaron & Richard Palmer & Paul Taylor, 1996.
"Asset Pricing Under Endogenous Expectation in an Artificial Stock Market,"
96-12-093, Santa Fe Institute.
- Busse, Jeffrey A., 2001. "Another Look at Mutual Fund Tournaments," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(01), pages 53-73, March.
- Lux, Thomas, 1998. "The socio-economic dynamics of speculative markets: interacting agents, chaos, and the fat tails of return distributions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 143-165, January.
- Eli M. Remolona & Paul Kleiman & Debbie Gruenstein, 1997. "Market returns and mutual fund flows," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 33-52.
- Benoit Mandelbrot, 1963. "The Variation of Certain Speculative Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36, pages 394.
- Anirban Chakraborti & Ioane Muni Toke & Marco Patriarca & Frédéric Abergel, 2011. "Econophysics: agent-based models," Post-Print hal-00621059, HAL.
- Blake LeBaron, 2010.
"Heterogeneous Gain Learning and the Dynamics of Asset Prices,"
29, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School, revised Dec 2010.
- LeBaron, Blake, 2012. "Heterogeneous gain learning and the dynamics of asset prices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 424-445.
- Mark Setterfield & Bill Gibson, 2013. "Real and financial crises," Working Papers 1309, Trinity College, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2013.
- Silvio M. Duarte Queiros & Evaldo M. F. Curado & Fernando D. Nobre, 2011. "Minding impacting events in a model of stochastic variance," Papers 1102.4819, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2011.
- Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, 2011. "Panel Statement: The endogenous dynamics of markets: price impact and feedback loops," Chapters, European Central Bank.
- Dospinescu, Andrei Silviu, 2012. "Local Environment Analysis and Rules Inferring Procedure in an Agent-Based Model – Applications in Economics," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(1), pages 128-143, March.
- Fischer, Thomas & Riedler, Jesper, 2012.
"Prices, debt and market structure in an agent-based model of the financial market,"
ZEW Discussion Papers
12-045, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Fischer, Thomas & Riedler, Jesper, 2013. "Prices, debt and market structure in an agent-based model of the financial market," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-045 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Neuberger, Doris & Rissi, Roger, 2012. "Macroprudential banking regulation: Does one size fit all?," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 124, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
- Zhang, Ting & Li, Honggang, 2013. "Buying on margin, selling short in an agent-based market model," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(18), pages 4075-4082.
- David Morton de Lachapelle & Damien Challet, 2009. "Turnover, account value and diversification of real traders: evidence of collective portfolio optimizing behavior," Papers 0912.4723, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2010.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Glena Ames).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.