Convex Incentives in Financial Markets: an Agent-Based Analysis

Fabretti Annalisa Gärling TommyHerzel StefanoHolmen Martin
CEIS Research Paper
This paper uses agent-based simulation to analyze how financial markets are affected by market participants with convex incentives, e.g. option-like compensation. We document that convex incentives are associated with (i) higher prices, (ii) larger variations of prices, and (iii) larger bid-ask spreads. We conclude that convex incentives may lead to decreased stability of financial markets. Our analysis suggests that the decreased stability is driven by the fact that convex incentives pushes agents towards more extreme decisions. Furthermore, while risk preferences affect agent behavior if they have linear incentives, the effect of risk preferences vanishes with convex incentives.
Number: 337
Keywords: incentives, market instability, agent-based simulations.
JEL codes: G10, D40, D53
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Revision Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015