Market declines of 2008–2009 and 2022–2023 brought renewed attention to the issue of illiquidity and the attendant costs faced by the stockholders. Margrabe exchange option-based models have been employed widely for estimating the cost of illiquidity (price risk). These models estimate the exchange ratio for two assets where the future price of both assets is unknown. Treating one of the assets as a numeraire, or currency in which the other asset is priced, simplifies the model and makes it easily tractable. Some authors have ignored this distinction, leading to inflated estimates for illiquidity discounts (sometimes exceeding 100 percent, a logical fallacy). In this paper, I present a uniform framework (the Margrabe exchange option) comparing the estimated cost of illiquidity under different information asymmetry assumptions. Empirical results presented are consistent with the theoretical predictions in that the expected rank order for estimated costs under different formulations is preserved.

JEL Classifications: C52; D47; D82; G13; K22.

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