IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Financial Claustrophobia: Asset Pricing in Illiquid Markets


  • Francis A. Longstaff


There are many examples of markets where an agent who wants to get out of an investment position quickly may find himself trapped and forced to remain in that position because of a lack of liquidity. What are the asset-pricing implications when agents cannot always buy and sell assets immediately? We study this issue in a multi-asset exchange economy with heterogeneous agents. In this model, agents can trade initially, but then cannot trade again until after a trading blackout' period. The more liquid the market, the sooner agents can trade again. Faced with illiquidity, agents abandon diversification and choose highly polarized portfolios. Risky assets are held primarily by the less-patient short-horizon agents in the economy. Polarization causes the usual risk-return tradeo. to break down and an asset's price may have more to do with the demographics of who owns it than with the riskiness of its cash flows. Risky assets are generally more valuable in an illiquid market than in a liquid market. Market illiquidity can also have large effects on the equity premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis A. Longstaff, 2004. "Financial Claustrophobia: Asset Pricing in Illiquid Markets," NBER Working Papers 10411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10411
    Note: AP

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Acharya, Viral V. & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2005. "Asset pricing with liquidity risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 375-410, August.
    2. Menachem Brenner, 2001. "The Price of Options Illiquidity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 789-805, April.
    3. Tarun Chordia, 2001. "Market Liquidity and Trading Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 501-530, April.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Laroque, Guy, 1990. "Asset Pricing and Optimal Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Illiquid Durable Consumption Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 25-51, January.
    5. Darrell Duffie, 2012. "Over-The-Counter Markets," Introductory Chapters,in: Dark Markets: Asset Pricing and Information Transmission in Over-the-Counter Markets Princeton University Press.
    6. Andrea L. Eisfeldt, 2004. "Endogenous Liquidity in Asset Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 1-30, February.
    7. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
    8. Mayers, David, 1973. "Nonmarketable Assets and the Determination of Capital Asset Prices in the Absence of a Riskless Asset," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 258-267, April.
    9. Vayanos, Dimitri, 1998. "Transaction Costs and Asset Prices: A Dynamic Equilibrium Model," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 1-58.
    10. Kahl, Matthias & Liu, Jun & Longstaff, Francis A., 2003. "Paper millionaires: how valuable is stock to a stockholder who is restricted from selling it?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 385-410, March.
    11. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1986. "An Operational Measure of Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 43-55, March.
    12. Boudoukh, Jacob & Whitelaw, Robert F, 1993. "Liquidity as a Choice Variable: A Lesson from the Japanese Government Bond Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(2), pages 265-292.
    13. Pastor, Lubos & Stambaugh, Robert F., 2003. "Liquidity Risk and Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 642-685, June.
    14. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    15. Amihud, Yakov & Mendelson, Haim, 1986. "Asset pricing and the bid-ask spread," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 223-249, December.
    16. Vayanos, Dimitri & Wang, Tan, 2007. "Search and endogenous concentration of liquidity in asset markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 66-104, September.
    17. John H. Cochrane & Francis A. Longstaff & Pedro Santa-Clara, 2003. "Two Trees: Asset Price Dynamics Induced by Market Clearing," NBER Working Papers 10116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Huang, Ming, 2003. "Liquidity shocks and equilibrium liquidity premia," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 104-129, March.
    19. Vayanos, Dimitri, 2004. "Flight to quality, flight to liquidity, and the pricing of risk," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 456, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    20. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-257, August.
    21. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1998. "LAPM: A Liquidity-based Asset Pricing Model," NBER Working Papers 6673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Maureen O'Hara, 2003. "Presidential Address: Liquidity and Price Discovery," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1335-1354, August.
    23. Geanakoplos, J. & Magill, M. & Quinzii, M. & Dreze, J., 1990. "Generic inefficiency of stock market equilibrium when markets are incomplete," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-151.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Maurizio Polato & Josanco Floreani, 2010. "Distribution of Illiquid Financial Products: The Case of Italy," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 16(4), pages 848-859, February.
    2. Alessio Caldarera & Celso Brunetti, 2005. "Asset Prices and Asset Correlations in Illiquid Markets," 2005 Meeting Papers 288, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Waldenström, Daniel, 2005. "Does Sovereign Risk Differ for Domestic and Foreign Investors? Historical Evidence from Scandinavian Bond Markets," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 585, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 18 Feb 2005.
    4. repec:wsi:ijtafx:v:16:y:2013:i:07:n:s021902491350043x is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Chan, Justin S.P. & Jain, Ravi & Xia, Yihong, 2008. "Market segmentation, liquidity spillover, and closed-end country fund discounts," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 377-399, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10411. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.