A Test of the Modigliani‐Miller Invariance Theorem and Arbitrage in Experimental Asset Markets

A Test of the Modigliani‐Miller Invariance Theorem and Arbitrage in Experimental Asset Markets

  • GARY CHARNESS
  • TIBOR NEUGEBAUER

Article first published online: 25th October 2018 DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12736

Abstract


Modigliani and Miller (1958) show the total market value of a firm is unaffected by a repackaging of asset return streams to equity and debt if pricing is arbitrage‐free. We investigate this invariance theorem in experimental asset markets, finding value‐invariance for assets of identical risks when returns are perfectly correlated. However, exploiting price discrepancies has risk when returns have the same expected value but are uncorrelated, in which case the law of one price is violated. Discrepancies shrink in consecutive markets, but persist even with experienced traders. In markets where overall trader acuity is high, assets trade closer to parity.

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