Modelling price pressure in financial markets
We present experimental evidence that, unlike traditional assumptions in economic theory, security prices do not respond to pressure from their own excess demand. Instead, prices respond to excess demand of all securities, despite the absence of a direct link between markets. We propose a model of price pressure that explains these findings. In our model, agents set order prices that reflect the marginal valuation of desired future holdings, called "aspiration levels." In the short run, as agents encounter difficulties executing their orders, they scale back their aspiration levels. Marginal valuations, order prices, and hence, transaction prices change correspondingly. The resulting price adjustment process coincides with the Global Newton Method. The assumptions of the model as well as its empirical implications are fully borne out by the data. Our model thus provides an economic foundation for why markets appear to search for equilibrium according to Newton's procedure.
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Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series
07-05, Swiss Finance Institute, revised Mar 2007.
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