A new spin on optimal portfolios and ecological equilibria
We consider the classical problem of optimal portfolio construction with the constraint that no short position is allowed, or equivalently the valid equilibria of multispecies Lotka-Volterra equations, in the special case where the interaction matrix is of unit rank, corresponding to a single-resource MacArthur model. We compute the average number of solutions and show that its logarithm grows as Nα, where N is the number of assets or species and α≤2/3 depends on the interaction matrix distribution. We conjecture that the most likely number of solutions is much smaller and related to the typical sparsity m(N) of the solutions, which we compute explicitly. We also find that the solution landscape is similar to that of spin-glasses, i.e. very different configurations are quasi-degenerate. Correspondingly, "disorder chaos" is also present in our problem. We discuss the consequence of such a property for portfolio construction and ecologies, and question the meaning of rational decisions when there is a very large number "satisficing" solutions.
We introduce a linear cross-impact framework in a setting in which the price of some given financial instruments (derivatives) is a deterministic function of one or more, possibly tradeable, stochastic factors (underlying). We show that a particular cross-impact model, the multivariate Kyle model, prevents arbitrage and aggregates (potentially non-stationary) traded order flows on derivatives into (roughly stationary) liquidity pools aggregating order flows traded on both derivatives and underlying. Using E-Mini futures and options along with VIX futures, we provide empirical evidence that the price formation process from order flows on derivatives is driven by cross-impact and confirm that the simple Kyle cross-impact model is successful at capturing parsimoniously such empirical phenomenology. Our framework may be used in practice for estimating execution costs, in particular hedging costs.
Crisis Propagation in a Heterogeneous Self-Reflexive DSGE Model
We study a self-reflexive DSGE model with heterogeneous households, aimed at characterising the impact of economic recessions on the different strata of the society. Our framework allows to analyse the combined effect of income inequalities and confidence feedback mediated by heterogeneous social networks. By varying the parameters of the model, we find different crisis typologies: loss of confidence may propagate mostly within high income households, or mostly within low income households, with a rather sharp crossover between the two. We find that crises are more severe for segregated networks (where confidence feedback is essentially mediated between agents of the same social class), for which cascading contagion effects are stronger. For the same reason, larger income inequalities tend to reduce, in our model, the probability of global crises. Finally, we are able to reproduce a perhaps counter-intuitive empirical finding: in countries with higher Gini coefficients, the consumption of the lowest income households tends to drop less than that of the highest incomes in crisis times.
Why does individual learning endure when crowds are wiser?
The ability to learn from others (social learning) is often deemed a cause of human species success. But if social learning is indeed more efficient (whether less costly or more accurate) than individual learning, it raises the question of why would anyone engage in individual information seeking, which is a necessary condition for social learning's efficacy. We propose an evolutionary model solving this paradox, provided agents (i) aim not only at information quality but also vie for audience and prestige, and (ii) do not only value accuracy but also reward originality -- allowing them to alleviate herding effects. We find that under some conditions (large enough success rate of informed agents and intermediate taste for popularity), both social learning's higher accuracy and the taste for original opinions are evolutionary-stable, within a mutually beneficial division of labour-like equilibrium. When such conditions are not met, the system most often converges towards mutually detrimental equilibria.
A Stationary Kyle Setup: Microfounding propagator models
We provide an economically sound micro-foundation to linear price impact models, by deriving them as the equilibrium of a suitable agent-based system. In particular, we retrieve the so-called propagator model as the high-frequency limit of a generalized Kyle model, in which the assumption of a terminal time at which fundamental information is revealed is dropped. This allows to describe a stationary market populated by asymmetrically-informed rational agents. We investigate the stationary equilibrium of the model, and show that the setup is compatible with universal price diffusion at small times, and non-universal mean-reversion at time scales at which fluctuations in fundamentals decay. Our model suggests that at high frequency one should observe a quasi-permanent impact component, driven by slow fluctuations of fundamentals, and a faster transient one, whose timescale should be set by the persistence of the order flow.
From Ants to Fishing Vessels: A Simple Model for Herding and Exploitation of Finite Resources
We analyse the dynamics of fishing vessels with different home ports in an area where these vessels, in choosing where to fish, are influenced by their own experience in the past and by their current observation of the locations of other vessels in the fleet. Empirical data from the boats near Ancona and Pescara shows stylized statistical properties that are reminiscent of Kirman and Föllmer's ant recruitment model, although with two ant colonies represented by the two ports. From the point of view of a fisherman, the two fishing areas are not equally attractive, and he tends to prefer the one closer to where he is based. This piece of evidence led us to extend the original ants model to a situation with two asymmetric zones and finite resources. We show that, in the mean-field regime, our model exhibits the same properties as the empirical data. We obtain a phase diagram that separates high and low herding regimes, but also fish population extinction. Our analysis has interesting policy implications for the ecology of fishing areas. It also suggests that herding behaviour here, just as in financial markets, will lead to significant fluctuations in the amount of fish landed, as the boat concentration on one area at a given point in time will diminish the overall catch, such loss not being compensated by the reproduction of fish in the other area. In other terms, individually rational behaviour will not lead to collectively optimal results.
Asymptotic behavior of the multiplicative counterpart of the Harish-Chandra integral and the S-transform
In this note, we study the asymptotic of spherical integrals, which are analytical extension in index of the normalized Schur polynomials for β=2 , and of Jack symmetric polynomials otherwise. Such integrals are the multiplicative counterparts of the Harish-Chandra-Itzykson-Zuber (HCIZ) integrals, whose asymptotic are given by the so-called R-transform when one of the matrix is of rank one. We argue by a saddle-point analysis that a similar result holds for all β>0 in the multiplicative case, where the asymptotic is governed by the logarithm of the S-transform. As a consequence of this result one can calculate the asymptotic behavior of complete homogeneous symmetric polynomials.
V –, U –, L – Or W–Shaped Economic Recovery After COVID-19: Insights From an Agent Based Model
We discuss the impact of a Covid-19–like shock on a simple model economy, described by the previously developed Mark-0 Agent-Based Model. We consider a mixed supply and demand shock, and show that depending on the shock parameters (amplitude and duration), our model economy can display V-shaped, U-shaped or W-shaped recoveries, and even an L-shaped output curve with permanent output loss. This is due to the economy getting trapped in a self-sustained “bad” state. We then discuss two policies that attempt to moderate the impact of the shock: giving easy credit to firms, and the so-called helicopter money, i.e. injecting new money into the households savings. We find that both policies are effective if strong enough. We highlight the potential danger of terminating these policies too early, although inflation is substantially increased by lax access to credit. Finally, we consider the impact of a second lockdown. While we only discuss a limited number of scenarios, our model is flexible and versatile enough to accommodate a wide variety of situations, thus serving as a useful exploratory tool for a qualitative, scenario-based understanding of post-Covid recovery. The corresponding code is available on-line.
We propose a highly schematic economic model in which, in some cases, wage inequalities lead to higher overall social welfare. This is due to the fact that high earners can consume low productivity, non essential products, which allows everybody to remain employed even when the productivity of essential goods is high and producing them does not require everybody to work. We derive a relation between heterogeneities in technologies and the minimum Gini coefficient required to maximize global welfare. Stronger inequalities appear to be economically unjustified. Our model may shed light on the role of non-essential goods in the economy, a topical isue when thinking about the post-Covid-19 world
Non-parametric Estimation of Quadratic Hawkes Processes for Order Book Events
We propose an actionable calibration procedure for general Quadratic Hawkes models of order book events (market orders, limit orders, cancellations). One of the main features of such models is to encode not only the influence of past events on future events but also, crucially, the influence of past price changes on such events. We show that the empirically calibrated quadratic kernel is well described by a diagonal contribution (that captures past realised volatility), plus a rank-one "Zumbach" contribution (that captures the effect of past trends). We find that the Zumbach kernel is a power-law of time, as are all other feedback kernels. As in many previous studies, the rate of truly exogenous events is found to be a small fraction of the total event rate. These two features suggest that the system is close to a critical point -- in the sense that stronger feedback kernels would lead to instabilities.
Schrödinger's ants: a continuous description of Kirman's recruitment model
We show how the approach to equilibrium in Kirman's ants model can be fully characterized in terms of the spectrum of a Schrödinger equation with a Pöschl–Teller (tan2) potential. Among other interesting properties, we have found that in the bimodal phase where ants visit mostly one food site at a time, the switch time between the two sources only depends on the 'spontaneous conversion' rate and not on the recruitment rate. More complicated correlation functions can be computed exactly, and involve higher and higher eigenvalues and eigenfunctions of the Schrödinger operator, which can be expressed in terms of hypergeometric functions.