Economics working paper / Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Department of Economics 2006,11
Simulations of agent-based models have shown that the stylized facts (unit-root, fat tails and volatility clustering) of financial markets have a possible explanation in the interactions among agents. However, the complexity, originating from the presence of non-linearity and interactions, often limits the analytical approach to the dynamics of these models. In this paper we show that even a very simple model of a financial market with heterogeneous interacting agents is capable of reproducing realistic statistical properties of returns, in close quantitative accordance with the empirical analysis. The simplicity of the system also permits some analytical insights using concepts from statistical mechanics and physics. In our model, the traders are divided into two groups : fundamentalists and chartists, and their interactions are based on a variant of the herding mechanism introduced by Kirman . The statistical analysis of our simulated data shows long-term dependence in the auto-correlations of squared and absolute returns and hyperbolic decay in the tail of the distribution of the raw returns, both with estimated decay parameters in the same range like empirical data. Theoretical analysis, however, excludes the possibility of ’true’ scaling behavior because of the Markovian nature of the underlying process and the finite set of possible realized returns. The model, therefore, only mimics power law behavior. Similarly as with the phenomenological volatility models analyzed in LeBaron , the usual statistical tests are not able to distinguish between true or pseudo-scaling laws in the dynamics of our artificial market.