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The Cherry-Picking Option in the U.S. Treasury Buyback Auctions

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  • Han, Bing

    (Ohio State U)

  • Longstaff, Francis A.

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Merrill, Craig

    (Brigham Young U)

Abstract

We study an important recent series of buyback auctions conducted by the U.S. Treasury in retiring $67.5 billion of its debt. We find that the Treasury was successful in buying back large amounts of illiquid debt while suffering only a small volatility-related market-impact cost. Although the Treasury had the option to cherry pick from among the bonds offered, we find that the Treasury was actually penalized for being spread too thin by including multiple bonds in a buyback auction. We find evidence that the Treasury may have attempted to minimize its interest expense rather than its buyback costs in these auctions. There is no evidence, however, that the Treasury used its timing option to exploit auction participants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2004-23.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2004-23

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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & David Genesove, 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real Estate Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Babbel, David F. & Merrill, Craig B. & Meyer, Mark F. & de Villiers, Meiring, 2004. "The Effect of Transaction Size on Off-the-Run Treasury Prices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 595-611, September.
  3. Alan Beggs & Kathryn Graddy, 1997. "Declining Values and the Afternoon Effect: Evidence from Art Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 544-565, Autumn.
  4. Umlauf, Steven R., 1993. "An empirical study of the Mexican Treasury bill auction," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 313-340, June.
  5. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
  6. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  7. Keloharju, Matti & Nyborg, Kjell G. & Rydqvist, Kristian, 2004. "Strategic Behavior and Underpricing in Uniform Price Auctions: Evidence from Finnish Treasury Auctions," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt6v17p79w, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  8. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  9. Michael B. Gordy, 1999. "Hedging Winner'S Curse With Multiple Bids: Evidence From The Portuguese Treasury Bill Auction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 448-465, August.
  10. Spindt, Paul A. & Stolz, Richard W., 1992. "Are US treasury bills underpriced in the primary market?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 891-908, September.
  11. Nyborg, Kjell G. & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1996. "Discriminatory versus uniform Treasury auctions: Evidence from when-issued transactions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 63-104, September.
  12. Sushil Bikhchandani & Chi-fu Huang, 1993. "The Economics of Treasury Securities Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 117-134, Summer.
  13. Kjell G. Nyborg & Kristian Rydqvist & Suresh M. Sundaresan, 2002. "Bidder Behavior in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from Swedish Treasury Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 394-424, April.
  14. Simon, David P., 1994. "Markups, quantity risk, and bidding strategies at treasury coupon auctions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 43-62, February.
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