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Optimal margins and equilibrium prices

Author

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  • Biais, Bruno
  • Heider, Florian
  • Hoerova, Marie

Abstract

We study the interaction between contracting and equilibrium pricing when risk- averse hedgers purchase insurance from risk-neutral investors subject to moral hazard. Moral hazard limits risk-sharing. In the individually optimal contract, margins are called (after bad news) to improve risk-sharing. But margin calls depress the price of investors' assets, affecting other investors negatively. Because of this fire-sale externality, there is too much use of margins in the market equilibrium compared to the utilitarian optimum. Moreover, equilibrium multiplicity can arise: In a pessimistic equilibrium, hedgers who fear low prices request high margins to obtain more insurance. Large margin calls trigger large price drops, confirming initial pessimistic expectations. Finally, moral hazard generates endogenous market incompleteness, raises risk premia, and induces contagion between asset classes.

Suggested Citation

  • Biais, Bruno & Heider, Florian & Hoerova, Marie, 2017. "Optimal margins and equilibrium prices," IDEI Working Papers 875, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:31764
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gromb, Denis & Vayanos, Dimitri, 2002. "Equilibrium and welfare in markets with financially constrained arbitrageurs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 361-407.
    2. Fleming, Michael J. & Sarkar, Asani, 2013. "The failure resolution of Lehman Brothers," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 175-206.
    3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-1445, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Insurance; Derivatives; Moral hazard; Risk-management; Margin requirements; Contagion; Fire-sales;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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