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On the Role of Arbitrageurs in Rational Markets

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  • Basak, Suleyman
  • Croitoru, Benjamin

Abstract

Price discrepancies, although at odds with mainstream finance, are persistent phenomena in financial markets. These apparent mispricings lead to the presence of ‘arbitrageurs’, who aim to exploit the resulting profit opportunities, but whose role remains controversial. This article investigates the impact of the presence of arbitrageurs in rational financial markets. Arbitrage opportunities between redundant risky assets arise endogenously in an economy populated by rational, heterogeneous investors facing restrictions on leverage and short sales. An arbitrageur, indulging in costless, riskless arbitrage is shown to alleviate the effects of these restrictions and improve the transfer of risk amongst investors. When the arbitrageur lacks market power, they always take on the largest arbitrage position possible. When the arbitrageur behaves noncompetitively, in that they take into account the price impact of their trades, they optimally limit the size of their positions due to decreasing marginal profits. In the case when the arbitrageur is subject to margin requirements and is endowed with capital from outside investors, the size of the arbitrageur’s trades and the capital needed to implement these trades are endogenously solved for in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Basak, Suleyman & Croitoru, Benjamin, 2004. "On the Role of Arbitrageurs in Rational Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 4768, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4768
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hugonnier, Julien, 2012. "Rational asset pricing bubbles and portfolio constraints," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(6), pages 2260-2302.
    2. AltInkIlIç, Oya & Hansen, Robert S., 2009. "On the information role of stock recommendation revisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 17-36, October.
    3. Choi, Darwin & Getmansky, Mila & Tookes, Heather, 2009. "Convertible bond arbitrage, liquidity externalities, and stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 227-251, February.
    4. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Davide Ciferri & Alessandro Girardi, 2014. "Time-Varying Spot and Futures Oil Price Dynamics," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 61(1), pages 78-97, February.
    5. Büyükşahin, Bahattin & Robe, Michel A., 2014. "Speculators, commodities and cross-market linkages," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-70.
    6. Cochran, Steven J. & Mansur, Iqbal & Odusami, Babatunde, 2015. "Equity market implied volatility and energy prices: A double threshold GARCH approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 264-272.
    7. Ming Pu & Gang-Zhi Fan & Yongheng Deng, 2014. "Breakeven Determination of Loan Limits for Reverse Mortgages under Information Asymmetry," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 492-521, April.
    8. Bakshi, Gurdip & Madan, Dilip & Panayotov, George, 2010. "Returns of claims on the upside and the viability of U-shaped pricing kernels," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 130-154, July.
    9. Chabakauri, Georgy, 2010. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous investors and portfolio constraints," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43142, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Hugonnier, Julien & Prieto, Rodolfo, 2015. "Asset pricing with arbitrage activity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 411-428.
    11. Ming Pu & Gang-Zhi Fan & Seow Ong, 2012. "Heterogeneous Agents and the Indifference Pricing of Property Index Linked Swaps," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 543-569, May.
    12. Chabakauri, Georgy, 2015. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous preferences, beliefs, and portfolio constraints," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 21-34.
    13. Kapadia, Nikunj & Pu, Xiaoling, 2012. "Limited arbitrage between equity and credit markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 542-564.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    arbitrage; asset pricing; margin requirements; non-competitive markets; risk-sharing;

    JEL classification:

    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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