A Search‐Based Theory of the On‐the‐Run Phenomenon

  • Published: May 09, 2008
  • Pages: 1361-1398
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2008.01360.x


We propose a model in which assets with identical cash flows can trade at different prices. Infinitely lived agents can establish long positions in a search spot market, or short positions by first borrowing an asset in a search repo market. We show that short‐sellers can endogenously concentrate in one asset because of search externalities and the constraint that they must deliver the asset they borrowed. That asset enjoys greater liquidity, a higher lending fee (“specialness”), and trades at a premium consistent with no‐arbitrage. We derive closed‐form solutions for small frictions, and provide a calibration generating realistic on‐the‐run premia.

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