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Leverage and Asset Prices: An Experiment

  • Ana Fostel

    ()

    (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

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 (i.e., 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 non-collateralizable assets does not increase during crises in contrast to what theory predicts.

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File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/CFH2012_2_07_WP.pdf
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Paper provided by The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2012-1.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2012-1
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/
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  1. 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.
  2. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111.
  3. 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.
  4. Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Margin-Based Asset Pricing and Deviations from the Law of One Price," NBER Working Papers 16777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. Plott, Charles R. & Sunder, Shyam., . "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational Expectations Models," Working Papers 331, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. 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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