Thermodynamic analogies in economics and finance: instability of markets
AbstractInterest in thermodynamic analogies in economics is older than the idea of von Neumann to look for market entropy in liquidity, advice that was not taken in any thermodynamic analogy presented so far in the literature. In this paper we go further and use a standard strategy from trading theory to pinpoint why thermodynamic analogies necessarily fail to describe financial markets, in spite of the presence of liquidity as the underlying basis for market entropy. Market liquidity of frequently traded assets does play the role of the ‘heat bath‘, as anticipated by von Neumann, but we are able to identify the no-arbitrage condition geometrically as an assumption of translational and rotational invariance rather than (as finance theorists would claim) an equilibrium condition. We then use the empirical market distribution to introduce an asset’s entropy and discuss the underlying reason why real financial markets cannot behave thermodynamically: financial markets are unstable, they do not approach statistical equilibrium, nor are there any available topological invariants on which to base a purely formal statistical mechanics. After discussing financial markets, we finally generalize our result by proposing that the idea of Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand is a falsifiable proposition: we suggest how to test nonfinancial markets empirically for the stabilizing action of The Invisible Hand.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2159.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Economics; utility; entropy and disorder; thermodynamics; financial markets; stochastic processes;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
- A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- J. Doyne Farmer, 1998.
"Market Force, Ecology, and Evolution,"
Research in Economics
98-12-117e, Santa Fe Institute.
- Leonard I. Nakamura, 2000. "Economics and the new economy: the invisible hand meets creative destruction," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jul, pages 15-30.
- Per Bak & Simon F. Norrelykke & Martin Shubik, 1998.
"The Dynamics of Money,"
cond-mat/9811094, arXiv.org, revised May 1999.
- Gemunu H. Gunaratne & Joseph L. McCauley, 2002. "A theory for Fluctuations in Stock Prices and Valuation of their Options," Papers cond-mat/0209475, arXiv.org.
- McCauley, Joseph L. & Gunaratne, Gemunu H., 2003. "An empirical model of volatility of returns and option pricing," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 329(1), pages 178-198.
- J.L. McCauley & G.h. Gunaratne, 2002.
"An empirical model of volatility of returns and option pricing,"
Computing in Economics and Finance 2002
186, Society for Computational Economics.
- McCauley, Joseph L. & Gunaratne, Gemunu H., 2003. "An empirical model of volatility of returns and option pricing," MPRA Paper 2161, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Bucsa, G. & Jovanovic, F. & Schinckus, C., 2011. "A unified model for price return distributions used in econophysics," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 390(20), pages 3435-3443.
- Josip Stepanic, 2004. "Social Equivalent of Free Energy," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 2(1), pages 53-60.
- Schinckus, Christophe, 2008. "The financial simulacrum: The consequences of the symbolization and the computerization of the financial market," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1076-1089, June.
- Pichl, Lukáš & Kaizoji, Taisei & Yamano, Takuya, 2007. "Stylized facts in internal rates of return on stock index and its derivative transactions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 382(1), pages 219-227.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.