# Research articles for the 2019-06-05

arXiv

We develop a model of stable assets, including noncustodial stablecoins backed by cryptocurrencies. Such stablecoins are popular methods for bootstrapping price stability within public blockchain settings. We demonstrate fundamental results about dynamics and liquidity in stablecoin markets, demonstrate that these markets face deleveraging spirals that cause illiquidity during crises, and show that these stablecoins have `stable' and `unstable' domains. Starting from documented market behaviors, we explain actual stablecoin movements; further our results are robust to a wide range of potential behaviors. In simulations, we show that these systems are susceptible to high tail volatility and failure. Our model builds foundations for stablecoin design. Based on our results, we suggest design improvements that can improve long-term stability and suggest methods for solving pricing problems that arise in existing stablecoins. In addition to the direct risk of instability, our dynamics results suggest a profitable economic attack during extreme events that can induce volatility in the `stable' asset. This attack additionally suggests ways in which stablecoins can cause perverse incentives for miners, posing risks to blockchain consensus.

SSRN

Reducing agency costs is the principal problem of corporate governance. Although the scope and stringency of the laws and rules on eliminating agency costs are expanding, there is still need for the understanding of the supervision and enforcement of these rules. Enforcement can take the forms of public and/or private. With dispersed and concentrated ownership patterns, the relevance of public and private enforcement mechanism may differ; due to the appearance of agency problems unlikely.The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual analysis on corporate governance strategies involving the exercise of control rights, the appointment of independent directors, auditing, and disclosure. This paper will also include a guideline on the enforcement mechanism in Turkey and the ways in which they are used to control the agency problems; between owners and managers, controlling shareholders and non-controlling shareholders or creditors.

SSRN

This paper investigates the importance of commodity prices for the returns of currency carry trade portfolios. We adopt a recently developed empirical factor model to capture commodity commonalities and heterogeneity. Agricultural material and metal price risk factors are found to have explanatory power on the cross-section of currency returns, while commodity common and oil factors do not. Although stock market risk is strongly linked to currencies in developed countries, the agricultural material factor is more important for emerging currencies compared to the stock market factor. This suggests that emerging currencies are somewhat segmented from a common financial market shock.

arXiv

We study the effectiveness of a community-level information intervention aimed at reducing open defecation (OD) and increasing sanitation investments in Nigeria. The results of a cluster-randomized control trial conducted in 247 communities between 2014 and 2018 suggest that average impacts are exiguous. However, these results hide important community heterogeneity, as the intervention has strong and lasting effects on OD habits in poorer communities. This result is robust across several measures of community socio-economic characteristics, and is not driven by baseline differences in toilet coverage. In poor communities, OD rates decreased by 9pp from a baseline level of 75\%, while we find no effect in richer communities. The reduction in OD is achieved mainly through increased toilet ownership (+8pp from a baseline level of 24\%). Finally, we combine our study with data from five other trials of similar interventions to show that estimated impacts are stronger in poorer contexts, rationalizing the wide range of estimates in the literature and providing plausible external validity, with implications for program scale-up. Our findings point to community wealth as a widely available and sufficient statistic for effective intervention targeting.

arXiv

We study T. Cover's rebalancing option (Ordentlich and Cover 1998) under discrete hindsight optimization in continuous time. The payoff in question is equal to the final wealth that would have accrued to a $\$1$ deposit into the best of some finite set of (perhaps levered) rebalancing rules determined in hindsight. A rebalancing rule (or fixed-fraction betting scheme) amounts to fixing an asset allocation (i.e. $200\%$ stocks and $-100\%$ bonds) and then continuously executing rebalancing trades to counteract allocation drift. Restricting the hindsight optimization to a small number of rebalancing rules (i.e. 2) has some advantages over the pioneering approach taken by Cover $\&$ Company in their brilliant theory of universal portfolios (1986, 1991, 1996, 1998), where one's on-line trading performance is benchmarked relative to the final wealth of the best unlevered rebalancing rule of any kind in hindsight. Our approach lets practitioners express an a priori view that one of the favored asset allocations ("bets") $b\in\{b_1,...,b_n\}$ will turn out to have performed spectacularly well in hindsight. In limiting our robustness to some discrete set of asset allocations (rather than all possible asset allocations) we reduce the price of the rebalancing option and guarantee to achieve a correspondingly higher percentage of the hindsight-optimized wealth at the end of the planning period. A practitioner who lives to delta-hedge this variant of Cover's rebalancing option through several decades is guaranteed to see the day that his realized compound-annual capital growth rate is very close to that of the best $b_i$ in hindsight. Hence the point of the rock-bottom option price.

SSRN

We examine the impact of cultural diversity in corporate boards on a firmâ€™s corporate social performance. Using a novel approach to identify a directorâ€™s cultural roots based on ancestry, we estimate the degree of cultural diversity at the board level. We find that board cultural diversity is positively associated with corporate social performance, consistent with the view that board cultural diversity enhances a firmâ€™s ability to satisfy the needs of broader groups of stakeholders. The results are robust to addressing endogeneity concerns and the use of different culture frameworks. The positive relation between board cultural diversity and corporate social performance is particularly strong for firms that have higher needs for stakeholder management (i.e. firms that operate in industries with high visibility to consumers and in highly competitive industries) and for firms that have boards with strong positive diversity beliefs (captured using the boardâ€™s gender diversity, age diversity and independence).

arXiv

We study an agent-based model of evolution of wealth distribution in a macro-economic system. The evolution is driven by multiplicative stochastic fluctuations governed by the law of proportionate growth and interactions between agents. We are mainly interested in interactions increasing wealth inequality that is in a local implementation of the accumulated advantage principle. Such interactions destabilise the system. They are confronted in the model with a global regulatory mechanism which reduces wealth inequality. There are different scenarios emerging as a net effect of these two competing mechanisms. When the effect of the global regulation (economic interventionism) is too weak the system is unstable and it never reaches equilibrium. When the effect is sufficiently strong the system evolves towards a limiting stationary distribution with a Pareto tail. In between there is a critical phase. In this phase the system may evolve towards a steady state with a multimodal wealth distribution. The corresponding cumulative density function has a characteristic stairway pattern which reflects the effect of economic stratification. The stairs represent wealth levels of economic classes separated by wealth gaps. As we show, the pattern is typical for macro-economic systems with a limited economic freedom. One can find such a multimodal pattern in empirical data, for instance, in the highest percentile of wealth distribution for the population in urban areas of China.

SSRN

Electronic currencies and cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are technological innovations but not novelties from a legal-conceptual perspective. This article seeks to provide definitions for "electronic currencies" and "cryptocurrencies" alongside the traditional forms of money. It becomes apparent that Bitcoin is not real "money" but relies on existing currency. At present, its actual role is rather to enable speculation and to circumvent fiscal regulations.

SSRN

Volatility has been used as an indirect means for predicting risk accompanied with an asset. Volatility explains the variations in returns. Forecasting volatility has been a stimulating problem in the financial systems. This study examined the different volatility estimators and determined the most efficient volatility estimator. The study described the accuracy of the forecasting technique with respect to various volatility estimators. The methodology of volatility estimation included Close, Garman-Klass, Parkinson, Roger-Satchell, and Yang-Zhang methods and forecasting was done through the ARIMA technique. The study evaluated the efficiency and bias of various volatility estimators. The comparative analyses based on various error measuring parameters like ME, RMSE, MAE, MPE, MAPE, MASE, and ACF1 gave the accuracy of forecasting with the best volatility estimator. Out of five volatility estimators analyzed over a period of 10 years and after critically examining them for forecasting volatility, the research obtained Parkinson estimator as the most efficient volatility estimator. Based on various error measuring parameters, Parkinson estimator was found to be the most accurate estimator based on RMSE, MPE, and MASE in forecasting through the ARIMA technique. The study suggested that the forecasted values were accurate based on the values of MAE and RMSE. This research was conducted in order to meet the demand of knowing the most efficient volatility estimator for forecasting volatility with high accuracy by traders, option practitioners, and various players of the stock market.

arXiv

This paper prices and replicates the financial derivative whose payoff at $T$ is the wealth that would have accrued to a $\$1$ deposit into the best continuously-rebalanced portfolio (or fixed-fraction betting scheme) determined in hindsight. For the single-stock Black-Scholes market, Ordentlich and Cover (1998) only priced this derivative at time-0, giving $C_0=1+\sigma\sqrt{T/(2\pi)}$. Of course, the general time-$t$ price is not equal to $1+\sigma\sqrt{(T-t)/(2\pi)}$. I complete the Ordentlich-Cover (1998) analysis by deriving the price at any time $t$. By contrast, I also study the more natural case of the best levered rebalancing rule in hindsight. This yields $C(S,t)=\sqrt{T/t}\cdot\,\exp\{rt+\sigma^2b(S,t)^2\cdot t/2\}$, where $b(S,t)$ is the best rebalancing rule in hindsight over the observed history $[0,t]$. I show that the replicating strategy amounts to betting the fraction $b(S,t)$ of wealth on the stock over the interval $[t,t+dt].$ This fact holds for the general market with $n$ correlated stocks in geometric Brownian motion: we get $C(S,t)=(T/t)^{n/2}\exp(rt+b'\Sigma b\cdot t/2)$, where $\Sigma$ is the covariance of instantaneous returns per unit time. This result matches the $\mathcal{O}(T^{n/2})$ "cost of universality" derived by Cover in his "universal portfolio theory" (1986, 1991, 1996, 1998), which super-replicates the same derivative in discrete-time. The replicating strategy compounds its money at the same asymptotic rate as the best levered rebalancing rule in hindsight, thereby beating the market asymptotically. Naturally enough, we find that the American-style version of Cover's Derivative is never exercised early in equilibrium.

arXiv

This paper studies a two-person trading game in continuous time that generalizes Garivaltis (2018) to allow for stock prices that both jump and diffuse. Analogous to Bell and Cover (1988) in discrete time, the players start by choosing fair randomizations of the initial dollar, by exchanging it for a random wealth whose mean is at most 1. Each player then deposits the resulting capital into some continuously-rebalanced portfolio that must be adhered to over $[0,t]$. We solve the corresponding `investment $\phi$-game,' namely the zero-sum game with payoff kernel $\mathbb{E}[\phi\{\textbf{W}_1V_t(b)/(\textbf{W}_2V_t(c))\}]$, where $\textbf{W}_i$ is player $i$'s fair randomization, $V_t(b)$ is the final wealth that accrues to a one dollar deposit into the rebalancing rule $b$, and $\phi(\bullet)$ is any increasing function meant to measure relative performance. We show that the unique saddle point is for both players to use the (leveraged) Kelly rule for jump diffusions, which is ordinarily defined by maximizing the asymptotic almost-sure continuously-compounded capital growth rate. Thus, the Kelly rule for jump diffusions is the correct behavior for practically anybody who wants to outperform other traders (on any time frame) with respect to practically any measure of relative performance.

arXiv

We study Nash equilibria for inventory-averse high-frequency traders (HFTs), who trade to exploit information about future price changes. For discrete trading rounds, the HFTs' optimal trading strategies and their equilibrium price impact are described by a system of nonlinear equations; explicit solutions obtain around the continuous-time limit. Unlike in the risk-neutral case, the optimal inventories become mean-reverting and vanish as the number of trading rounds becomes large. In contrast, the HFTs' risk-adjusted profits and the equilibrium price impact converge to their risk-neutral counterparts. Compared to a social-planner solution for cooperative HFTs, Nash competition leads to excess trading, so that marginal transaction taxes in fact decrease market liquidity.

SSRN

This study principally entails an examination of the relationship between ownership structure and CSR practices. First, our results demonstrate that family firms tend to be passive in their CSR activities, which is the first to address this topic. Second, our findings imply that a national pension as a blockholder exerts pressure on management to exercise CSR in an effort to enhance the value of firm. Third, the results indicate that in case involving foreign ownership as a blockholder, greater pressure is exerted on management to exercise CSR. The results of our additional test demonstrate that firms with a higher proportion of a controlling shareholder in family firms tend to have less robust CSR practices. This results also indicate that firms with a higher proportion of a national pension blockholder tend to engage in CSR practices. Our findings also suggest that firms with a higher proportion of a foreign blockholder tend to exhibit more robust CSR practices. In Korea, these findings regarding the effect of ownership on CSR practices may prove useful to firmsâ€™ CSR policymakers and to regulators. In future studies, it will be necessary to extend this studyâ€™s protocol to the dimensions of comparative analysis among countries.

SSRN

We study momentum and its predictability within equities listed at the London Stock Exchange (1820-1930). At the time, this was the largest and most liquid stock market and it was thinly regulated, making for a good laboratory to perform out-of-sample tests. Cross-sectionally, we find that the size and market factors are highly profitable, while long-term reversals are not. Momentum is the most profitable and volatile factor. Its returns resemble an echo: they are high in long-term formation portfolios, and vanish in short-term ones. We uncover momentum in dividends as well. When controlling for dividend momentum, price momentum loses significance and profitability. In the time-series, despite the presence of a few momentum crashes, dynamically hedged portfolios do not improve the performance of static momentum. We conclude that momentum returns are not predictable in our sample, which casts some doubt on the success of dynamic hedging strategies.

arXiv

In a pathbreaking paper, Cover and Ordentlich (1998) solved a max-min portfolio game between a trader (who picks an entire trading algorithm, $\theta(\cdot)$) and "nature," who picks the matrix $X$ of gross-returns of all stocks in all periods. Their (zero-sum) game has the payoff kernel $W_\theta(X)/D(X)$, where $W_\theta(X)$ is the trader's final wealth and $D(X)$ is the final wealth that would have accrued to a $\$1$ deposit into the best constant-rebalanced portfolio (or fixed-fraction betting scheme) determined in hindsight. The resulting "universal portfolio" compounds its money at the same asymptotic rate as the best rebalancing rule in hindsight, thereby beating the market asymptotically under extremely general conditions. Smitten with this (1998) result, the present paper solves the most general tractable version of Cover and Ordentlich's (1998) max-min game. This obtains for performance benchmarks (read: derivatives) that are separately convex and homogeneous in each period's gross-return vector. For completely arbitrary (even non-measurable) performance benchmarks, we show how the axiom of choice can be used to "find" an exact maximin strategy for the trader.

arXiv

I derive practical formulas for optimal arrangements between sophisticated stock market investors (namely, continuous-time Kelly gamblers) and the brokers who lend them cash for leveraged bets on a high Sharpe asset (i.e. the market portfolio). Rather than, say, the broker posting a monopoly price for margin loans, the gambler agrees to use a greater quantity of margin debt than he otherwise would in exchange for an interest rate that is lower than the broker would otherwise post. The gambler thereby attains a higher asymptotic capital growth rate and the broker enjoys a greater rate of intermediation profit than would obtain under non-cooperation. If the threat point represents a vicious breakdown of negotiations (resulting in zero margin loans), then we get an elegant rule of thumb: $r_L^*=(3/4)r+(1/4)(\nu-\sigma^2/2)$, where $r$ is the broker's cost of funds, $\nu$ is the compound-annual growth rate of the market index, and $\sigma$ is the annual volatility. We show that, regardless of the particular threat point, the gambler will negotiate to size his bets as if he himself could borrow at the broker's call rate.

arXiv

This paper takes a deep learning approach to understand consumer credit risk when e-commerce platforms issue unsecured credit to finance customers' purchase. The "NeuCredit" model can capture both serial dependences in multi-dimensional time series data when event frequencies in each dimension differ. It also captures nonlinear cross-sectional interactions among different time-evolving features. Also, the predicted default probability is designed to be interpretable such that risks can be decomposed into three components: the subjective risk indicating the consumers' willingness to repay, the objective risk indicating their ability to repay, and the behavioral risk indicating consumers' behavioral differences. Using a unique dataset from one of the largest global e-commerce platforms, we show that the inclusion of shopping behavioral data, besides conventional payment records, requires a deep learning approach to extract the information content of these data, which turns out significantly enhancing forecasting performance than the traditional machine learning methods.

arXiv

We consider an auction market in which market makers fill the order book during a given time period while some other investors send market orders. We define the clearing price of the auction as the price maximizing the exchanged volume at the clearing time according to the supply and demand of each market participants. Then we derive in a semi-explicit form the error made between this clearing price and the fundamental price as a function of the auction duration. We study the impact of the behavior of market takers on this error. To do so we consider the case of naive market takers and that of rational market takers playing a Nash equilibrium to minimize their transaction costs. We compute the optimal duration of the auctions for 77 stocks traded on Euronext and compare the quality of price formation process under this optimal value to the case of a continuous limit order book. Continuous limit order books are found to be usually sub-optimal. However, in term of our metric, they only moderately impair the quality of price formation process. Order of magnitude of optimal auction durations is from 2 to 10 minutes.

SSRN

Avanzi et al. (2016) recently studied an optimal dividend problem where dividends are paid both periodically and continuously with different transaction costs. In the Brownian model with Poissonian periodic dividend payment opportunities, they showed that the optimal strategy is either of the pure-continuous, pure-periodic, or hybrid-barrier type. In this paper, we generalize the results of their previous study to the dual (spectrally positive Levy) model. The optimal strategy is again of the hybrid-barrier type and can be concisely expressed using the scale function. These results are confirmed through a sequence of numerical experiments.

arXiv

A new framework for portfolio diversification is introduced which goes beyond the classical mean-variance theory and other known portfolio allocation strategies such as risk parity. It is based on a novel concept called portfolio dimensionality and ultimately relies on the minimization of ratios of convex functions. The latter arises naturally due to our requirements that diversification measures should be leverage invariant and related to the tail properties of the distribution of portfolio returns. This paper introduces this new framework and its relationship to standardized higher order moments of portfolio returns. Moreover, it addresses the main drawbacks of standard diversification methodologies which are based primarily on estimates of covariance matrices. Maximizing portfolio dimensionality leads to highly non-trivial optimization problems with objective functions which are typically non-convex with potentially multiple local optima. Two complementary global optimization algorithms are thus presented. For problems of moderate size, a deterministic Branch and Bound algorithm is developed, whereas for problems of larger size a stochastic global optimization algorithm based on Gradient Langevin Dynamics is given. We demonstrate through numerical experiments that the introduced diversification measures possess desired properties as introduced in the portfolio diversification literature.

SSRN

NYSE Rule 48 suspends the responsibility of designated market makers for disseminating pre-opening price indications in the event of an extreme market-wide volatility. We show that Rule 48 speeds up the opening of stocks at the expense of lower liquidity. Specifically, the absence of pre-opening price indications results in decreases in various measures of liquidity during the first 30-minutes of the trading day that are statistically and economically significant. We interpret this finding as evidence that liquidity suppliers are less willing to provide liquidity in the absence of a reference point or benchmark regarding the value of a stock.

SSRN

This paper uses Monte Carlo simulation to determine the maximum consumption given retirement at age 62, initial wealth, risk tolerance, and Social Security take decision. Coile et al. (2002) argue for a delay, because the payment increases 7% for each year. Focusing on maximizing the expected present value of benefits may be misguided. This paper shows that, conditional on retirement at age 62, initial consumption is always maximized by taking Social Security no later than age 63; it also results in the highest simulated ending wealth at death, and the lowest amount of simulated time living on just Social Security.

SSRN

Merging Stock and Derivative Exchanges seems to be unavoidable â€" even across national borders â€" since the extraordinary development of telecommunication and computer technologies has made both of them the efficient and inexpensive constituents of any proposal for a centralized market. However, Exchanges are not exactly equal to any other commercial enterprise and, in particular, they are not yet separable from the sovereign vectors that were traditionally connected to them. In the future things may be different, but we cannot forget that the world is still made up of independent countries. This makes a multinational company of Exchanges a new type of conglomerate that has no historical reference to guide us. The model of a multinational corporation expanding from the mother country to overseas markets seems not to be quite the right approach. Additionally, different countries are in different stages of their development and evolution, and financial maturity is an area of vast differences among nations. Therefore, the central management team of this particular multinational firm cannot organize and run the company in exactly the same way as any other global company. If the whole group does not exist to meet all the details of each individual national market, the small and undeveloped markets will not be able to participate in this consolidation movement. Those countries that have entered the NYSE Euronext group are a vivid proof of the inconveniences of such participation. The experience of NYSE Euronext deserves the attention of scholars, as this is the vanguard case of an undertaking of this nature.

arXiv

This paper derives a robust on-line equity trading algorithm that achieves the greatest possible percentage of the final wealth of the best pairs rebalancing rule in hindsight. A pairs rebalancing rule chooses some pair of stocks in the market and then perpetually executes rebalancing trades so as to maintain a target fraction of wealth in each of the two. After each discrete market fluctuation, a pairs rebalancing rule will sell a precise amount of the outperforming stock and put the proceeds into the underperforming stock. Under typical conditions, in hindsight one can find pairs rebalancing rules that would have spectacularly beaten the market. Our trading strategy, which extends Ordentlich and Cover's (1998) "max-min universal portfolio," guarantees to achieve an acceptable percentage of the hindsight-optimized wealth, a percentage which tends to zero at a slow (polynomial) rate. This means that on a long enough investment horizon, the trader can enforce a compound-annual growth rate that is arbitrarily close to that of the best pairs rebalancing rule in hindsight. The strategy will "beat the market asymptotically" if there turns out to exist a pairs rebalancing rule that grows capital at a higher asymptotic rate than the market index. The advantages of our algorithm over the Ordentlich and Cover (1998) strategy are twofold. First, their strategy is impossible to compute in practice. Second, in considering the more modest benchmark (instead of the best all-stock rebalancing rule in hindsight), we reduce the "cost of universality" and achieve a higher learning rate.

SSRN

This paper tests the effects of the independence and ï¬nancial knowledge of directors on risk management and ï¬rm value in the gold mining industry. Our original hand-collected database on directorsâ€™ ï¬nancial education, accounting background, and ï¬nancial experience allows us to test the effect of each dimension of ï¬nancial knowledge on risk management activities. We show that directorsâ€™ ï¬nancial knowledge increases ï¬rm value through the risk management channel. This effect is strengthened by the independence of the directors on the board and on the audit committee. Extending the dimension of education, we show that, following unexpected shocks to gold prices, educated hedgers are more effective than average hedgers in the industry. As a policy implication, our results suggest adding the experience and education dimensions to the 2002 Sarbanesâ€"Oxley Act and New York Stock Exchange requirements for ï¬nancial literacy.

arXiv

In this paper, which is the third installment of the author's trilogy on margin loan pricing, we analyze $1,367$ monthly observations of the U.S. broker call money rate, which is the interest rate at which stock brokers can borrow to fund their margin loans to retail clients. We describe the basic features and mean-reverting behavior of this series and juxtapose the empirically-derived laws of motion with the author's prior theories of margin loan pricing (Garivaltis 2019a-b). This allows us to derive stochastic differential equations that govern the evolution of the margin loan interest rate and the leverage ratios of sophisticated brokerage clients (namely, continuous time Kelly gamblers). Finally, we apply Merton's (1974) arbitrage theory of corporate liability pricing to study theoretical constraints on the risk premia that could be generated in the market for call money. Apparently, if there is no arbitrage in the U.S. financial markets, the implication is that the total volume of call loans must constitute north of $70\%$ of the value of all leveraged portfolios.

SSRN

There is a large literature on return and volatility spillovers between assets. Google Scholar yields about 9,000 articles based on the search term â€œvolatility spilloverâ€ and about 1,000 articles on the search term â€œreturn spilloverâ€. However, the relevance of these spillovers on portfolio diversification is rarely assessed. This paper provides such an analysis and finds that spillovers are generally irrelevant for portfolio diversification, i.e. return, variance and covariance estimates are sufficient to build a portfolio and spillovers explain only a small and negligible part. The study shows that effects of spillovers on portfolio formation are fully captured by returns, correlations and variances at equal and higher frequency levels and that spillovers do not have strong portfolio implications.

arXiv

We analyze the sectoral dynamics of startup venture financing. Based on a dataset of 52000 start-ups and 110000 funding rounds in the United States from 2000 to 2017, and by applying both Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Tensor Component Analysis (TCA) in sector space, we visualize and measure the evolution of the investment strategies of different classes of investors across sectors and over time. During the past decade, we observe a coherent evolution of early stage investments towards a lower-tech area in sector space, associated with a marked increase in the concentration of investments and with the emergence of a newer class of investors called accelerators. We provide evidence for a more recent shift of start-up venture financing away from the previous one.

arXiv

This paper supplies two possible resolutions of Fortune's (2000) margin-loan pricing puzzle. Fortune (2000) noted that the margin loan interest rates charged by stock brokers are very high in relation to the actual (low) credit risk and the cost of funds. If we live in the Black-Scholes world, the brokers are presumably making arbitrage profits by shorting dynamically precise amounts of their clients' portfolios. First, we extend Fortune's (2000) application of Merton's (1974) no-arbitrage approach to allow for brokers that can only revise their hedges finitely many times during the term of the loan. We show that extremely small differences in the revision frequency can easily explain the observed variation in margin loan pricing. In fact, four additional revisions per three-day period serve to explain all of the currently observed heterogeneity. Second, we study monopolistic (or oligopolistic) margin loan pricing by brokers whose clients are continuous-time Kelly gamblers. The broker solves a general stochastic control problem that yields simple and pleasant formulas for the optimal interest rate and the net interest margin. If the author owned a brokerage, he would charge an interest rate of $(r+\nu)/2-\sigma^2/4$, where $r$ is the cost of funds, $\nu$ is the compound-annual growth rate of the S&P 500 index, and $\sigma$ is the volatility.

arXiv

The choice of the ambiguity radius is critical when an investor uses the distributionally robust approach to address the issue that the portfolio optimization problem is sensitive to the uncertainties of the asset return distribution. It cannot be set too large because the larger the size of the ambiguity set the worse the portfolio return. It cannot be too small either; otherwise, one loses the robust protection. This tradeoff demands a financial understanding of the ambiguity set. In this paper, we propose a non-robust interpretation of the distributionally robust optimization (DRO) problem. By relating the impact of an ambiguity set to the impact of a non-robust chance constraint, our interpretation allows investors to understand the size of the ambiguity set through parameters that are directly linked to investment performance. We first show that for general $\phi$-divergences, a DRO problem is asymptotically equivalent to a class of mean-deviation problem, where the ambiguity radius controls investor's risk preference. Based on this non-robust reformulation, we then show that when a boundedness constraint is added to the investment strategy, the DRO problem can be cast as a chance-constrained optimization (CCO) problem without distributional uncertainties. If the boundedness constraint is removed, the CCO problem is shown to perform uniformly better than the DRO problem, irrespective of the radius of the ambiguity set, the choice of the divergence measure, or the tail heaviness of the center distribution. Our results apply to both the widely-used Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence which requires the distribution of the objective function to be exponentially bounded, as well as those more general divergence measures which allow heavy tail ones such as student $t$ and lognormal distributions.

arXiv

As early as the 1920's Marshall suggested that firms co-locate in cities to reduce the costs of moving goods, people, and ideas. These 'forces of agglomeration' have given rise, for example, to the high tech clusters of San Francisco and Boston, and the automobile cluster in Detroit. Yet, despite its importance for city planners and industrial policy-makers, until recently there has been little success in estimating the relative importance of each Marshallian channel to the location decisions of firms.

Here we explore a burgeoning literature that aims to exploit the co-location patterns of industries in cities in order to disentangle the relationship between industry co-agglomeration and customer/supplier, labour and idea sharing. Building on previous approaches that focus on across- and between-industry estimates, we propose a network-based method to estimate the relative importance of each Marshallian channel at a meso scale. Specifically, we use a community detection technique to construct a hierarchical decomposition of the full set of industries into clusters based on co-agglomeration patterns, and show that these industry clusters exhibit distinct patterns in terms of their relative reliance on individual Marshallian channels.

SSRN

Will the market adopt new market designs that address the negative aspects of high-frequency trading? This paper builds a theoretical model of stock exchange competition, shaped by institutional and regulatory details of the U.S. equities market. We show that under the status quo market design: (i) trading behavior across the many distinct exchanges is as if there is just a single â€œsynthesizedâ€ exchange; (ii) as a result, trading fees are perfectly competitive; but (iii) exchanges capture and maintain significant economic rents from the sale of â€œspeed technologyâ€ (i.e., proprietary data feeds and co-location)â€"arms for the high-frequency trading arms race. Using a variety of data, we document seven stylized empirical facts that suggest that the model captures the essential economics of how U.S. stock exchanges compete and make money in the modern era. We then use the model to examine the private and social incentives for market design innovation. We find that while the social returns to market design innovation are large, the private returns are much smaller and may be negative, especially for incumbents that derive rents in the status quo from selling speed technology.