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Price Distortions in High-Frequency Markets

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  • Jakub Steiner
  • Colin Stewart

Abstract

We study the effect of frequent trading opportunities and categorization on pricing of a risky asset. Frequent opportunities to trade lead to large distortions in prices if some agents forecast future prices using a simplified model of the world that fails to distinguish between some states. In the limit as the period length vanishes, these distortions take a particular form: the price must be the same in any two states that a positive mass of agents categorize together. Price distortions therefore tend to be large when different agents categorize states in different ways. We characterize the limiting prices in terms of rational expectations prices associated with a coarsened process. Similar results hold if, instead of using a simplified model of the world, some agents overestimate the likelihood of small probability events, as in prospect theory. In this case a set aside may be better than a flat or percentage subsidy. JEL Code: D83, D84, D53

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1549.

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Date of creation: 25 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1549

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Keywords: categorization; price distortion; trading frequency;

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  1. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1990. " Positive Feedback Investment Strategies and Destabilizing Rational Speculation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 379-95, June.
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  8. Bianchi, Milo & Jehiel, Philippe, 2010. "Bubbles and Crashes with Partially Sophisticated Investors," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5361, Paris Dauphine University.
  9. Shleifer, Andrei & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Schwartzstein, Joshua, 2008. "Coarse Thinking and Persuasion," Scholarly Articles 11022284, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Harrison, J Michael & Kreps, David M, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-36, May.
  11. Barberis, Nicholas & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "Style investing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 161-199, May.
  12. Haltiwanger, John C & Waldman, Michael, 1989. "Limited Rationality and Strategic Complements: The Implications for Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 463-83, August.
  13. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
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