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The pitfalls in inferring risk from financial market data

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  • Robert R. Bliss
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    Abstract

    This paper examines two qualitative rules of thumb, frequently invoked in discussions of bank regulatory policy. The first, that equity holders prefer more risk to less, derives from a result in option pricing theory, that an option's value increases monotonically with the riskiness of the underlying asset. This result is shown to depend on very restrictive assumptions regarding the underlying assets return distribution and the type of option being considered. These restrictive assumptions do not generally obtain in practice. The second rule of thumb is that bondholders' and deposit insurers' interests are aligned. The paper shows that, in fact, their interests can diverge in the sense that bondholders and deposit insurers will not necessarily agree on the relative riskiness of different banks or bank portfolios. The conclusion of this paper is that rules of thumb can be misleading. Furthermore, the concept of risk is shown to be model and agent specific.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-00-24.

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    Date of creation: 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-00-24

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    Keywords: Bonds ; Options (Finance) ; Stocks;

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    1. Ritchken, Peter & Thomson, James B. & DeGennaro, Ramon P. & Li, Anlong, 1993. "On flexibility, capital structure and investment decisions for the insured bank," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 1133-1146, December.
    2. Robert R. Bliss, 2001. "Market discipline and subordinated debt: a review of some salient issues," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 24-45.
    3. Douglas D. Evanoff & Larry D. Wall, 2000. "Subordinated debt and bank capital reform," Working Paper 2000-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    5. Jagannathan, Ravi, 1984. "Call options and the risk of underlying securities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 425-434, September.
    6. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The valuation of options for alternative stochastic processes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 145-166.
    7. Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
    8. Merton, Robert C, 1978. "On the Cost of Deposit Insurance When There Are Surveillance Costs," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 439-52, July.
    9. Bergman, Yaacov Z & Grundy, Bruce D & Wiener, Zvi, 1996. " General Properties of Option Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1573-1610, December.
    10. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1972. "The Valuation of Option Contracts and a Test of Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 27(2), pages 399-417, May.
    11. Yaacov Z. Bergman & Bruce D. Grundy & Zvi Wiener, . "General Properties of Option Prices (Revision of 11-95) (Reprint 058)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 1-96, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    12. Robert C. Merton, 1973. "Theory of Rational Option Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 141-183, Spring.
    13. Breeden, Douglas T & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1978. "Prices of State-contingent Claims Implicit in Option Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 621-51, October.
    14. Merton, Robert C., 1977. "An analytic derivation of the cost of deposit insurance and loan guarantees An application of modern option pricing theory," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 3-11, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Maria Garcia-Vega & Alessandra Guariglia, . "Volatility, Financial Constraints and Trade," Discussion Papers 08/04, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    2. John Krainer & Jose A. Lopez, 2008. "Using Securities Market Information for Bank Supervisory Monitoring," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(1), pages 125-164, March.
    3. Reint Gropp & Vesala Jukka & Giuseppe Vulpes, 2004. "Market Indicators, Bank Fragility, and Indirect Market Discipline," Finance 0411015, EconWPA.
    4. Rong Fan & Joseph G. Haubrich & Peter Ritchken & James B. Thomson, 2002. "Getting the most out of a mandatory subordinated debt requirement," Working Paper 0214, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. Eric Rasmusen, 2004. "When Does Extra Risk Strictly Increase the Value of Options?," Finance 0409004, EconWPA.
    6. Gropp, Reint & Vesala, Jukka & Vulpes, Giuseppe, 2002. "Equity and bond market signals as leading indicators of bank fragility," Working Paper Series 0150, European Central Bank.
    7. Mark Flannery, 2001. "The Faces of “Market Discipline”," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 107-119, October.
    8. John Krainer & Jose A. Lopez, 2003. "How might financial market information be used for supervisory purposes?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 29-45.

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