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Toward a theory of marginally efficient markets

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  • Zhang, Yi-Cheng

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that even the most competitive markets are not strictly efficient. Price histories can be used to predict near future returns with a probability better than random chance. Many markets can be considered as favorable games, in the sense that there is a small probabilistic edge that smart speculators can exploit. We propose to identify this probability using conditional entropy concept. A perfect random walk has this entropy maximized, and departure from the maximal value represents a price history's predictability. We propose that market participants should be divided into two categories: producers and speculators. The former provides the negative entropy into the price, upon which the latter feed. We show that the residual negative entropy can never be arbitraged away: infinite arbitrage capital is needed to make the price a perfect random walk.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Yi-Cheng, 1999. "Toward a theory of marginally efficient markets," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 269(1), pages 30-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:269:y:1999:i:1:p:30-44
    DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4371(99)00077-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Challet, Damien, 2008. "Inter-pattern speculation: Beyond minority, majority and $-games," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 85-100, January.
    2. Thomas Lux, 2009. "Applications of Statistical Physics in Finance and Economics," Chapters, in: J. Barkley Rosser Jr. (ed.), Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 9, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Iori, Giulia, 2002. "A microsimulation of traders activity in the stock market: the role of heterogeneity, agents' interactions and trade frictions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 269-285, October.
    4. Wang, Yougui & Stanley, H.E., 2009. "Statistical approach to partial equilibrium analysis," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 388(7), pages 1173-1180.
    5. Farmer, J. Doyne & Joshi, Shareen, 2002. "The price dynamics of common trading strategies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 149-171, October.
    6. E. Samanidou & E. Zschischang & D. Stauffer & T. Lux, 2001. "Microscopic Models of Financial Markets," Papers cond-mat/0110354, arXiv.org.
    7. Gao, Yan & Li, Honggang, 2011. "A consolidated model of self-fulfilling expectations and self-destroying expectations in financial markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 368-381, March.
    8. Zunino, Luciano & Zanin, Massimiliano & Tabak, Benjamin M. & Pérez, Darío G. & Rosso, Osvaldo A., 2010. "Complexity-entropy causality plane: A useful approach to quantify the stock market inefficiency," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(9), pages 1891-1901.
    9. Stosic, Darko & Stosic, Dusan & Ludermir, Teresa B. & Stosic, Tatijana, 2019. "Exploring disorder and complexity in the cryptocurrency space," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 525(C), pages 548-556.
    10. Kostanjcar, Zvonko & Jeren, Branko & Juretic, Zeljan, 2012. "Impact of uncertainty in expected return estimation on stock price volatility," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(22), pages 5563-5571.
    11. E. Samanidou & E. Zschischang & D. Stauffer & T. Lux, 2007. "Agent-based Models of Financial Markets," Papers physics/0701140, arXiv.org.
    12. Argyroudis, George S. & Siokis, Fotios M., 2019. "Spillover effects of Great Recession on Hong-Kong’s Real Estate Market: An analysis based on Causality Plane and Tsallis Curves of Complexity–Entropy," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 524(C), pages 576-586.
    13. Zunino, Luciano & Bariviera, Aurelio F. & Guercio, M. Belén & Martinez, Lisana B. & Rosso, Osvaldo A., 2016. "Monitoring the informational efficiency of European corporate bond markets with dynamical permutation min-entropy," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 456(C), pages 1-9.
    14. Zunino, Luciano & Zanin, Massimiliano & Tabak, Benjamin M. & Pérez, Darío G. & Rosso, Osvaldo A., 2009. "Forbidden patterns, permutation entropy and stock market inefficiency," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 388(14), pages 2854-2864.
    15. Van Vliet, Ben, 2017. "Capability satisficing in high frequency trading," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 509-521.
    16. Stauffer, Dietrich & Sornette, Didier, 1999. "Self-organized percolation model for stock market fluctuations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 271(3), pages 496-506.
    17. Siokis, Fotios M., 2018. "Credit market Jitters in the course of the financial crisis: A permutation entropy approach in measuring informational efficiency in financial assets," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 499(C), pages 266-275.

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