NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

When Everyone Runs for the Exit

Lasse Heje Pedersen

NBER Working Paper No. 15297
Issued in August 2009
NBER Program(s):   AP   ME

The dangers of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater are well understood, but the dangers of rushing to the exit in the financial markets are more complex. Yet, the two events share several features, and I analyze why people crowd into theaters and trades, why they run, what determines the risk, whether to return to the theater or trade when the dust settles, and how much to pay for assets (or tickets) in light of this risk. These theoretical considerations shed light on the recent global liquidity crisis and, in particular, the quant event of 2007.

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This paper was revised on December 16, 2013

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15297

Published: Lasse Pedersen, 2009. "When Everyone Runs for the Exit," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 5(4), pages 177-199, December. citation courtesy of

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