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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 crisis has made it painfully obvious that markets may quickly turn illiquid. Moreover, recent experience has shown 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 ambiguity-averse investors who trade in the market for a risky asset. We show that, provided there is a sufficient amount of ambiguity, market breakdowns 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 analyse 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. 'The trading of legacy loans and securities continues to reveal systematic underpricing at issuance of once seemingly benign risks-credit, liquidity, counterparty, and even sovereign risks […] Until these assessments are more clearly refined and more broadly understood, we are likely to observe elevated levels of volatility and unwillingness by many investors to participate in certain asset markets at virtually any price.' (Warsh, 2009, emphasis added)

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Guidolin & Francesca Rinaldi, 2010. "A simple model of trading and pricing risky assets under ambiguity: any lessons for policy-makers?," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1-2), pages 105-135.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apfiec:v:20:y:2010:i:1-2:p:105-135 DOI: 10.1080/09603100903262939
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Qi Nan Zhai, 2015. "Asset Pricing Under Ambiguity and Heterogeneity," PhD Thesis, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, number 16.
    2. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2010. "Ambiguity and Asset Markets," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 315-346, December.
    3. Agarwal, Vikas & Arisoy, Y. Eser & Naik, Narayan Y., 2015. "Volatility of aggregate volatility and hedge funds returns," CFR Working Papers 15-03 [rev.], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    4. Nuno Azevedo & Diogo Pinheiro & Stylianos Xanthopoulos & Athanasios Yannacopoulos, 2016. "Who would invest only in the risk-free asset?," Papers 1608.02446, arXiv.org.
    5. Massimo Guidolin & Francesca Rinaldi, 2013. "Ambiguity in asset pricing and portfolio choice: a review of the literature," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(2), pages 183-217, February.
    6. Qiu, Jianying & Weitzel, Utz, 2013. "Experimental Evidence on Valuation and Learning with Multiple Priors," MPRA Paper 43974, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Agarwal, Vikas & Arisoy, Y. Eser & Naik, Narayan Y., 2015. "Volatility of aggregate volatility and hedge funds returns," CFR Working Papers 15-03, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    8. Hassett, Kevin & Zhong, Weifeng, 2017. "On the Observational Implications of Knightian Uncertainty," MPRA Paper 82998, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Rau, Holger A. & Weitzel, Utz, 2014. "Does ambiguity aversion survive in experimental asset markets?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 810-826.
    10. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Rau, Holger & Weitzel, Utz, 2013. "Do ambiguity effects survive in experimental asset markets?," MPRA Paper 44700, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Agarwal, Vikas & Arisoy, Y. Eser & Naik, Narayan Y., 2017. "Volatility of aggregate volatility and hedge fund returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 491-510.
    12. Anderson, Alyssa G., 2015. "Ambiguity in Securitization Markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. 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.

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