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Options, sunspots, and the creation of uncertainty

  • David Bowman
  • Jon Faust

We present a model in which the addition of an option market leads to sunspot equilibria in an economy which has no sunspot equilibrium before the market is introduced. This phenomenon occurs because the payoff of an option contract is contingent upon market prices, and while prices are taken as exogenous by individuals within the economy they are endogenous to the economy as a whole. Our results provide robust counterexamples to the two most prevalent views of options markets in finance. Following Ross [1976], it is often assumed that the addition of option contracts to an incomplete markets economy can help complete markets. We demonstrate that the addition of option markets can instead increase the number of events which agents need to insure against. Following Black-Scholes [1973], it is often assumed that the economy is such that options are redundant. We demonstrate equilibria in which an added option market is not redundant even when markets were complete before its introduction.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 510.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:510
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  1. Gerard Gennotte and Hayne Leland., 1989. "Market Liquidity, Hedging and Crashes," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-192, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
  3. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
  4. John Geanakoplos & Andreu Mas-Colell, 1985. "Real Indeterminacy with Financial Assets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 770R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Oct 1985.
  5. Brown, Donald J & Ross, Stephen A, 1991. "Spanning, Valuation and Options," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 3-12, January.
  6. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
  7. Polemarchakis, H. M. & Ku, Bon-Il, 1990. "Options and equilibrium," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 107-112.
  8. Radner, Roy, 1972. "Existence of Equilibrium of Plans, Prices, and Price Expectations in a Sequence of Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(2), pages 289-303, March.
  9. Steinar Ekern & Robert Wilson, 1974. "On the Theory of the Firm in an Economy with Incomplete Markets," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(1), pages 171-180, Spring.
  10. Cass, David, 1992. "Sunspots and Incomplete Financial Markets: The General Case," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 341-58, July.
  11. Krasa, Stefan, 1989. "Existence of competitive equilibria for option markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 413-421, April.
  12. Green, Richard C. & Jarrow, Robert A., 1987. "Spanning and completeness in markets with contingent claims," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 202-210, February.
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