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Anchoring bias in the TARP warrant negotiations


  • Wilson, Linus


This paper finds that banks that offered lower opening bids were rewarded with significantly lower warrant repurchase prices in transactions that raised $2.856 billion in 2009. These results were scaled by third-party consultants’ and the Congressional Oversight Panel's estimates of the warrants’ value. In contrast to the experimental psychology studies on anchoring bias in negotiations, these are real transactions involving large sums of money. This paper finds that larger banks paid significantly higher prices after controlling for other factors, and the U.S. Treasury obtained better prices over time. The results on anchoring bias are strong even after controlling for bank managers’ potential informational advantages over U.S. Treasury negotiators.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilson, Linus, 2012. "Anchoring bias in the TARP warrant negotiations," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 63-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jebusi:v:64:y:2012:i:1:p:63-76 DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconbus.2011.03.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Savin, N Eugene & White, Kenneth J, 1977. "The Durbin-Watson Test for Serial Correlation with Extreme Sample Sizes or Many Regressors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1989-1996, November.
    2. Robert C. Merton, 2005. "Theory of rational option pricing," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 8, pages 229-288 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Northcraft, Gregory B. & Neale, Margaret A., 1987. "Experts, amateurs, and real estate: An anchoring-and-adjustment perspective on property pricing decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 84-97, February.
    4. Phillip Swagel, 2009. "The Financial Crisis: An Inside View," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 1-78.
    5. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    6. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cornett, Marcia Millon & Li, Lei & Tehranian, Hassan, 2013. "The performance of banks around the receipt and repayment of TARP funds: Over-achievers versus under-achievers," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 730-746.
    2. Linus Wilson, 2013. "TARP’s deadbeat banks," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 651-674, November.

    More about this item


    Anchoring bias; Behavioral economics; Behavioral finance; Alternating offers; Bailout; Banks; Banking; Bargaining; Bids; Capital Purchase Program (CPP); Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA); Heuristics; Negotiations; Offers; Options; Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); Valuation; Warrants;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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