Predatory short selling

Markus K. Brunnermeier, Martin Oehmke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Financial institutions may be vulnerable to predatory short selling. When the stock of a financial institution is shorted aggressively, leverage constraints imposed by short-term creditors can force the institution to liquidate long-term investments at fire sale prices. For financial institutions that are sufficiently close to their leverage constraints, predatory short-selling equilibria coexist with no-liquidation equilibria (the vulnerability region) or may even be the unique equilibrium outcome (the doomed region). Increased coordination among short sellers expands the doomed region, where liquidation is the unique equilibrium. Our model provides a potential justification for temporary restrictions on short selling of vulnerable institutions and can be used to assess recent empirical evidence on short-sale bans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2153-2195
Number of pages43
JournalReview of Finance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • G01
  • G20
  • G21
  • G23
  • G28


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