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Why Does Bad News Increase Volatility and Decrease Leverage?

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 procyclical leverage. The result also gives a rationale to the pattern of volatility smiles observed in the 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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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1762R.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision: Jan 2011
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1762r
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  1. 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.
  2. Mark Rubinstein., 1994. "Implied Binomial Trees," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-232, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. 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.
  4. Nicholas Bloom, 2007. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brunnermeier, Markus K & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Rubinstein, Mark, 1994. " Implied Binomial Trees," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(3), pages 771-818, July.
  7. 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.
  8. Bates, David S., 2000. "Post-'87 crash fears in the S&P 500 futures option market," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 181-238.
  9. Gromb, Denis & Vayanos, Dimitri, 2001. "Equilibrium and Welfare in Markets with Financially Constrained Arbitrageurs," CEPR Discussion Papers 3049, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
  11. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
  12. 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.
  13. John Geanakoplos, 2010. "The Leverage Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 1-65 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-48, April.
  15. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2011. "Endogenous Leverage: VaR and Beyond," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1800, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Araújo, Aloísio & Kubler, Felix & Schommer, Susan, 2012. "Regulating collateral-requirements when markets are incomplete," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 450-476.
  17. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and The Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-691.
  18. John Geanakoplos, 2009. "The Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1715R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jan 2010.
  19. 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.
  20. 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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