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A Transaction-Level Analysis of Spatial Arbitrage: The Role of Habit, Attention, and Electronic Trading

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  • Eric Overby

    () (College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30308)

  • Jonathan Clarke

    () (College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30308)

Abstract

Despite the central role of arbitrage in finance and economic theory, there is limited evidence of the factors that create and eliminate arbitrage opportunities, how often arbitrage occurs, and how profitable it is. We address these gaps via a transaction-level analysis of spatial arbitrage in the wholesale automotive market. We investigate why arbitrage opportunities are created by analyzing how sellers choose where to sell vehicles. We find that the attention sellers pay to the distribution of a vehicle is negatively related to the probability that it is arbitraged. Arbitrage occurs in approximately 1% of transactions, although electronic trading is making arbitrage less prevalent by improving buyer/seller matching across locations. Arbitrage yields a 5.6% return on average, although arbitrageurs take a loss 14% of the time. Our results contribute to the literature on arbitrage, the effect of attention allocation on market outcomes, and the effect of information technology on market efficiency. This paper was accepted by Brad Barber, Teck Ho, and Terrance Odean, special issue editors.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Overby & Jonathan Clarke, 2012. "A Transaction-Level Analysis of Spatial Arbitrage: The Role of Habit, Attention, and Electronic Trading," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(2), pages 394-412, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:2:p:394-412
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1110.1494
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1494
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hemang Subramanian & Eric Overby, 2017. "Electronic Commerce, Spatial Arbitrage, and Market Efficiency," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 28(1), pages 97-116, March.
    2. Eric Overby & Chris Forman, 2015. "The Effect of Electronic Commerce on Geographic Purchasing Patterns and Price Dispersion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(2), pages 431-453, February.

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