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Why does bad news increase volatility and decrease leverage?

  • Fostel, Ana
  • Geanakoplos, John

A recent literature shows how an increase in volatility reduces leverage. However, in order to explain pro-cyclical leverage it assumes that bad news increases volatility, that is, it assumes an inverse relationship between first and second moments of asset returns. This paper suggests a reason why bad news is more often than not associated with higher future volatility. We show that, in a model with endogenous leverage and heterogeneous beliefs, agents have the incentive to invest mostly in technologies that become more volatile in bad times. Agents choose these technologies because they can be leveraged more during normal times. Together with the existing literature this explains pro-cyclical leverage. The result also gives a rationale to the pattern of volatility smiles observed in stock options since 1987. Finally, the paper presents for the first time a dynamic model in which an asset is endogenously traded simultaneously at different margin requirements in equilibrium.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 501-525

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:2:p:501-525
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. John Geanakoplos, 2009. "The Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1715R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jan 2010.
  2. Hentschel, Ludger & Campbell, John, 1992. "No News is Good News: An Asymmetric Model of Changing Volatility in Stock Returns," Scholarly Articles 3220232, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and leverage," Staff Reports 328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2000. "International and Domestic Collateral Constraints in a Model of Emerging Market Crises," NBER Working Papers 7971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Mark Rubinstein., 1994. "Implied Binomial Trees," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-232, University of California at Berkeley.
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  13. John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Solving the present crisis and managing the leverage cycle," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 101-131.
  14. John Moore & Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, . "Credit Cycles," Discussion Papers 1995-5, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  15. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2004. "Collateral Restrictions and Liquidity Under-Supply: A Simple Model," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1468R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Aug 2006.
  16. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2011. "Endogenous Leverage: VaR and Beyond," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1800, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  17. John Geanakoplos, 2010. "The Leverage Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 1-65 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Holmström, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," IDEI Working Papers 40, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  22. John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Solving the Present Crisis and Managing the Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1751, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  23. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-44, September.
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