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Recent Work

The Anderson School at UCLA prepares students to become effective management leaders in today's complex global business environment. The School is organized into academic areas of study which also form the basis of faculty research. The School also encompasses a number of specialized interdisciplinary research centers.

Cover page of Motivating entrepreneurial activity in a firm

Motivating entrepreneurial activity in a firm


We consider the problem of motivating privately informed managers to engage in entrepreneurial activity to improve the quality of the firm's investment opportunities. The firm's investment and compensation policy must balance the manager's incentives to provide entrepreneurial effort and to report her private information truthfully. The optimal policy is to underinvest (compared to first-best) and provide weak incentive pay in low-quality projects and overinvest (compared to first-best) and provide strong incentive pay in high-quality projects. We also show that, unlike the standard agency model, uncertainty and incentives can be positively related.

Cover page of Option Pricing Kernels and the ICAPM

Option Pricing Kernels and the ICAPM


We estimate the parameters of pricing kernels that depend on both aggregate wealth and state variables that describe the investment opportunity set, using FTSE 100 and S&P 500 index option returns as the returns to be priced. The coefficients of the state variables are highly significant and remarkably consistent across specifications of the pricing kernal, and across the two markets. The results provided further strong evidence, which is consistent with Merton's (1973a) Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model, that state variables in addition to market risk are priced.

Cover page of Dollar Cost Averaging

Dollar Cost Averaging


Dollar Cost Averaging is a strategy for purchasing equity securities that is widely recommended by professional investment advisors and commentators, but which has been virtually ignored by academic theorists and textbook writers. In this paper we explore whether the strategy is but another instance of irrational behavior by individual investors, or whether it is an investment heuristic that has survival value in an environment in which security prices exhibit mean reversion behavior that has only belatedly been recognized by academic theorists. Our evidence supports the view that the individual investors who follow this strategy in purchasing individual stocks to add to an existing portfolio are better off than if they followed the 'rational' strategies traditionally recommended by academics.

Cover page of "The perpetual American put option for jump-diffusions with applications"

"The perpetual American put option for jump-diffusions with applications"


In this paper, we solve an optimal stopping problem with an infinite time horizon, when the state variable follows a jump-diffusion. Under certain conditions our solution can be interpreted as the price of an American perpetual put option, when the underlying asset follows this type of process.

We present several examples demonstrating when the solution can be interpreted as a perpetual put price. This takes us into a study of how to risk adjust jump-diffusions. One key observation is that the probabililty distribution under the risk adjusted measure depends on the equity premium, which is not the case for the standard, continuous version. This difference may be utilized to find intertemporal, equilibrium equity premiums, for example

Our basic solution is exact only when jump sizes can not be negative. We investigate when our solution is an approximation also for negative jumps.

Various market models are studied at an increasing level of complexity, ending with the incomplete model in the last part of the paper.

Cover page of Equilibrium in Marine Mutual Insurance Markets with Convex Operating Costs

Equilibrium in Marine Mutual Insurance Markets with Convex Operating Costs


The paper analyzes the possibility of reaching an equilibrium in a market of marine mutual insurance syndicates, called Protection and Indemnity Clubs, or P&I Clubs for short, displaying economies of scale. Our analysis rationalizes some empirically documented findings, and points out an interesting future scenario. We find an equilibrium in a market of mutual marine insurers, in which some smaller clubs, having operating costs above average, may grow larger relative to the other clubs in order to become more cost effective, and where medium to larger cost efficient clubs may stay unchanged or some even downsize relative to the others. Some of the very large clubs suffering from diseconomies of scale may have a motive to further increase relative to the other clubs. According to observations, most clubs have, during the last decade, expanded significantly in size measured by gross tonnage of entered ships, some clubs have merged, but very few seem to have decreased their underwriting activity, in particular none of the really large ones. The analysis points to the following future scenario: The small and the medium to large clubs converge in size, while there is a possibility for some very large clubs to be present as well.

Cover page of On the Consistency of the Lucas Pricing Formula

On the Consistency of the Lucas Pricing Formula


In order to find the real market value of an asset in an exchange economy, one would typically apply the formula appearing in Lucas(1978), developed in a discrete time framework. This theory has also been extended to continuous time models, in which case the same pricing formula has been universally applied. While the discrete time theory is rather transparent, there has been some confusion regarding the continuous time analogue. In particular, the continuous time pricing formula must contain a certain type of a square covariance term that does not readily follow from the discrete time formulation. As a result, this term has sometimes been missing in situations where it should have been included. In this paper we reformulate the discrete time theory in such a way that this covariance term does not come as a mystery in the continuous time version. It is shown that this term is also of importance in the equivalent martingale measure approach to pricing. In most real life situations dividends are paid out in lump sums, not in rates. This leads to a discontinuous model, and adding a continuous time framework, it appears that our framework is a most natural one in finance.

Cover page of Asset Pricing in Markets with Illiquid Assets

Asset Pricing in Markets with Illiquid Assets


Many important classes of assets are illiquid in the sense that they cannot always be traded immediately. Thus, a portfolio position in these types of illiquid investments becomes at least temporarily irreversible. We study the asset-pricing implications of illiquidity in a two-asset exchange economy with heterogeneous agents. In this market, one asset is always liquid. The other asset can be traded initially, but then not again until after a “blackout” period. Illiquidity has a dramatic effect on optimal portfolio decisions. Agents abandon diversification as a strategy and choose highly polarized portfolios instead. The value of liquidity can represent a large portion of the equilibrium price of an asset. We present examples in which a liquid asset can be worth up to 25 percent more than an illiquid asset even though both have identical cash flow dynamics. We also show that the expected return and volatility of an asset can change significantly as the asset becomes relatively more liquid.

Cover page of Risk and Return in Fixed Income Arbitage: Nickels in Front of a Steamroller?

Risk and Return in Fixed Income Arbitage: Nickels in Front of a Steamroller?


We conduct an analysis of the risk and return characteristics of a number of widely used fixed income arbitrage strategies. We find that the strategies requiring more “intellectual capital” to implement tend to produce significant alphas after controlling for bond and equity market risk factors. We show that the risk-adjusted excess returns from these strategies are related to capital flows into fixed income arbitrage hedge funds. In contrast with other hedge fund strategies, we find that many of the fixed income arbitrage strategies produce positively skewed returns. These results suggest that there may be more economic substance to fixed income arbitrage than simply “picking up nickels in front of a steamroller.”

Cover page of Hubris, Learning, and M&A Decisions

Hubris, Learning, and M&A Decisions


Are CEOs unable to learn? This surprising question deserves to be raised in the light of the declining pattern of cumulative abnormal returns observed in M&A programs. This paper shows that this pattern is the expected ex post empirical evidence for rational risk averse CEOs. Our theoretical argument is that from deal to deal, rational CEOs become more aggressive in the bidding process. They concede increasing fractions of expected synergies to the target shareholders in order to win the bidding game. For CEOs infected by hubris, the learning process should allow them to progressively correct over-optimism and overconfidence, if they survive.

Cover page of The Joint Dynamics of Liquidity, Returns, and Volatility Across Small and Large Firms

The Joint Dynamics of Liquidity, Returns, and Volatility Across Small and Large Firms


This paper explores liquidity spillovers in market-capitalization based portfolios of NYSE stocks. Return, volatility, and liquidity dynamics across the small and large cap sector are modeled by way of a vector autoregression model, using data that spans more than 3000 trading days. We find that volatility and liquidity innovations in either sector are informative in predicting liquidity shifts in the other. Impulse responses indicate the existence of persistent liquidity, return, and volatility spillovers across the large and small cap sectors. Lead and lag patterns across small and large cap stocks are stronger when spreads in the large cap sector are wider. Consistent with the notion that private informational trading in large cap stocks is transmitted to other stocks with a lag, order flows in large cap stocks decile significantly predict both transaction price-based and mid-quote returns of small cap deciles when large-cap spreads are high.