SFB 303 Discussion Paper No. B - 437

Author: Lux, T. and M. Marchesi
Title: Volatility Clustering in Financial Markets: A Micro-Simulation of Interacting Agents
Abstract: The finding of clustered volatility and ARCH effects is ubiquitous in financial data. This paper presents a possible explanation of this phenomenon within a multi-agent framework of speculative activity. In the model, both chartist and fundamentalist strategies are considered with agents switching between both behavioural variants according to observed differences in pay-offs. Price changes are brought about by a market maker reacting on imbalances between demand and supply. Most of the time, a stable and efficient market results. However, its usual tranquil performance is interspersed by sudden transient phases of destabilisation. Outbreak of volatility occurs if the fraction of agents using chartist techniques surpasses a certain threshold value, but such phases are quickly brought to an end by stabilising tendencies. Formally, this pattern can be understood as an example of a new type of dynamic behaviour denoted on-off intermittency in physics literature. Statistical analysis of simulated data shows that the main stylised facts (unit roots in levels together with heteroscedasticity and leptokurtosis of returns) can be found in this artificial market.
Keywords: volatility clustering, interacting agents, on-off intermittency
JEL-Classification-Number: C63, D84, G12
Creation-Date: July 1998
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