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Author:Houser, Daniel 

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Endogenous Leverage and Default in the Laboratory

We study default and endogenous leverage in the laboratory. To this purpose, we develop a general equilibrium model of collateralized borrowing amenable to laboratory implementation and gather experimental data. In the model, leverage is endogenous: agents choose how much to borrow using a risky asset as collateral, and there are no ad hoc collateral constraints. When the risky asset is financial?namely, its payoff does not depend on ownership (such as a bond)? collateral requirements are high and there is no default. In contrast, when the risky asset is nonfinancial?namely, its payoff ...
Staff Reports , Paper 900

Report
Leverage and asset prices: an experiment

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 (that is, 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. ...
Staff Reports , Paper 548

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