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Asset Prices and Institutional Investors

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  • Basak, Suleyman
  • Pavlova, Anna

Abstract

Empirical evidence indicates that trades by institutional investors have sizable effects on asset prices, generating phenomena such as index effects, asset-class effects and others. It is difficult to explain such phenomena within standard representative-agent asset pricing models. In this paper, we consider an economy populated by institutional investors alongside standard retail investors. Institutions care about their performance relative to a certain index. Our framework is tractable, admitting exact closed-form expressions, and produces the following analytical results. We find that institutions optimally tilt their portfolios towards stocks that comprise their benchmark index. The resulting price pressure boosts index stocks, while leaving nonindex stocks unaffected. By demanding a higher fraction of risky stocks than retail investors, institutions amplify the index stock volatilities and aggregate stock market volatility, and give rise to countercyclical Sharpe ratios. Trades by institutions induce excess correlations among stocks that belong to their benchmark index, generating an asset-class effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Basak, Suleyman & Pavlova, Anna, 2012. "Asset Prices and Institutional Investors," CEPR Discussion Papers 9120, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, November.
    2. Lakonishok, Josef, et al, 1991. "Window Dressing by Pension Fund Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 227-231, May.
    3. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "How Widespread Was Late Trading in Mutual Funds?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 284-289, May.
    4. Cox, John C. & Huang, Chi-fu, 1989. "Optimal consumption and portfolio policies when asset prices follow a diffusion process," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 33-83, October.
    5. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset class; Asset pricing; general equilibrium; indexing; institutions; money management;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G29 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Other

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