Article first published online: 17th December 2002 DOI: 10.1111/0022-1082.00233
This paper develops an equilibrium model of a competitive futures market in which investors trade to hedge positions and to speculate on their private information. Equilibrium return and trading patterns are examined. (1) In markets where the information asymmetry among investors is small, the return volatility of a futures contract decreases with time‐to‐maturity (i.e., the Samuelson effect holds). (2) However, in markets where the information asymmetry among investors is large, the Samuelson effect need not hold. (3) Additionally, the model generates rich time‐to‐maturity patterns in open interest and spot price volatility that are consistent with empirical findings.