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Leverage and asset prices: an experiment

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  • Marco Cipriani
  • Ana Fostel
  • Daniel Houser

Abstract

This is the first paper to test the asset pricing implication of leverage in a laboratory. We show that as theory predicts, leverage increases asset prices: When an asset can be used as collateral (that is, when the asset can be bought on margin), its price goes up. This increase is significant, and quantitatively close to what theory predicts. However, important deviations from the theory arise in the laboratory. First, the demand for the asset shifts when it can be used as a collateral, even though agents do not exhaust their purchasing power when collateralized borrowing is not allowed. Second, the spread between collateralizable and noncollateralizable assets does not increase during crises, in contrast to what theory predicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Cipriani & Ana Fostel & Daniel Houser, 2012. "Leverage and asset prices: an experiment," Staff Reports 548, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:548
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1982. "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational-Expectations Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 663-698, August.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2201-2238, June.
    3. Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Margin-based Asset Pricing and Deviations from the Law of One Price," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1980-2022.
    4. Fostel, Ana & Geanakoplos, John, 2012. "Why does bad news increase volatility and decrease leverage?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 501-525.
    5. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111-111.
    6. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2011. "Endogenous Leverage: VaR and Beyond," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1800, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    7. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-1244, September.
    8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sean Crockett, 2013. "Price Dynamics In General Equilibrium Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 421-438, July.
    2. Bengui, Julien & Phan, Toan, 2018. "Asset Pledgeability and Endogenously Leveraged Bubbles," Working Paper 18-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset pricing ; Financial leverage;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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