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A simple model of trading and pricing risky assets under ambiguity: any lessons for policy-makers?

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  • Massimo Guidolin
  • Francesca Rinaldi

Abstract

The 2007-2008 financial crises has made it painfully obvious that markets may quickly turn illiquid. Moreover, recent experience has taught us that distress and lack of active trading can jump "around" between seemingly unconnected parts of the financial system contributing to transforming isolated shocks into systemic panic attacks. We develop a simple two-period model populated by both standard expected utility maximizers and by ambiguity-averse investors that trade in the market for a risky asset. We show that, provided there is a sufficient amount of ambiguity, market break-downs where large portions of traders withdraw from trading are endogenous and may be triggered by modest re-assessments of the range of possible scenarios on the performance of individual securities. Risk premia (spreads) increase with the proportion of traders in the market who are averse to ambiguity. When we analyze the effect of policy actions, we find that when a market has fallen into a state of impaired liquidity, bringing the market back to orderly functioning through a reduction in the amount of perceived ambiguity may cause further reductions in equilibrium prices. Finally, our model provides stark indications against the idea that policy makers may be able to "inflate" their way out of a financial crisis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-020.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-020

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Keywords: Risk ; Capital assets pricing model ; Financial crises ; Federal Reserve System;

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  1. Mukerji, Sujoy & Tallon, Jean-Marc, 2001. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Financial Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 883-904, October.
  2. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 12, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2006.
  3. Paul Mizen, 2008. "The credit crunch of 2007-2008: a discussion of the background, market reactions, and policy responses," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 531-568.
  4. Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2001. "Model Uncertainty and Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 8683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Larry Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2005. "Ambiguity, Information Quality and Asset Pricing," RCER Working Papers 519, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. David Easley & Maureen O'Hara, 2010. "Microstructure and Ambiguity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(5), pages 1817-1846, October.
  7. Larry G. Epstein, 2001. "Sharing Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 45-50, May.
  8. Dow, James & Werlang, Sergio Ribeiro da Costa, 1992. "Uncertainty Aversion, Risk Aversion, and the Optimal Choice of Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 197-204, January.
  9. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2003. "An overview of economic applications of David Schmeidler`s models of decision making under uncertainty," Economics Series Working Papers 165, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
  11. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  12. Nicholas Barberis & Richard Thaler, 2002. "A Survey of Behavioral Finance," NBER Working Papers 9222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2010. "Ambiguity and Asset Markets," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 315-346, December.
  2. Massimo Guidolin & Francesca Rinaldi, 2011. "Ambiguity in Asset Pricing and Portfolio Choice: A Review of the Literature," Working Papers 417, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Martin Schneider, 2010. "The Research Agenda: Martin Schneider on Multiple Priors Preferences and Financial Markets," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), April.
  4. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Rau, Holger & Weitzel, Utz, 2013. "Do ambiguity effects survive in experimental asset markets?," MPRA Paper 44700, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Qiu, Jianying & Weitzel, Utz, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on Valuation and Learning with Multiple Priors," MPRA Paper 43974, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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