In Search of a Risk-Free Asset

Posted: 9 Jul 2021

See all articles by Vladimir Yankov

Vladimir Yankov

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: August, 2014

Abstract

To attract retail time deposits, over 7,000 FDIC insured U.S. commercial banks publicly post their yield offers. I document an economically sizable and highly pro-cyclical cross-sectional dispersion in these yield offers during the period 1997 - 2011. Banks adjusted their yields rigidly and asymmetrically with median duration of 7 weeks in response to increasing or constant Fed Funds rate target regimes and 3 weeks during regimes of decreasing Fed Fund rate target. I investigate to what extent information (search) costs on the part of the investors in this market can explain the observed pricing behavior. I build and estimate an asset pricing model with heterogeneous search cost investors. A large fraction of high information cost uninformed investors and the exit of low information cost informed investors rationalizes the observed price dispersion. I further qualitatively match the asymmetric yield rigidity within the framework of costly consumer search without the need to impose menu costs or other restrictions on the banks' repricing behavior.

JEL Classification: D83, D91, G12, G21

Suggested Citation

Yankov, Vladimir, In Search of a Risk-Free Asset (August, 2014). FEDS Working Paper No. 2014-108, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3882328

Vladimir Yankov (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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