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The Empirical Analysis of Liquidity

Author

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  • Craig W. Holden
  • Stacey Jacobsen
  • Avanidhar Subrahmanyam

Abstract

We provide a synthesis of the empirical evidence on market liquidity. The liquidity measurement literature has established standard measures of liquidity that apply to broad categories of market microstructure data. Specialized measures of liquidity have been developed to deal with data limitations in specific markets, to provide proxies from daily data, and to assess institutional trading programs. The general liquidity literature has established local cross-sectional patterns, global cross-sectional patterns, and time-series patterns. Commonality in liquidity is prevalent. Certain exchange designs enhance market liquidity: a limit order book for high volume markets, a hybrid exchange for low volume markets, and multiple competing exchanges. Automatic execution increases speed, but increases spreads. A tick size reduction yields a large improvement in liquidity. Providing ex-post transparency to an otherwise opaque market dramatically improves liquidity. Opening up the limit order book improves liquidity. Regulatory reforms that increase the number of competitive alternatives, move toward linking them up, and level the playing field between exchanges improves liquidity. High-frequency traders trade in both a passive, liquidity-supplying manner and an aggressive, liquidity-demanding manner. Their overall impact improves both liquidity and price efficiency, but concerns remain regarding occasional trading glitches, order anticipation strategies, and latency arbitrage at the expense of slow traders. The liquidity and corporate finance literature provides abundant evidence that liquidity is beneficial in many corporate settings: liquidity increases the power of governance via exit, reduces the cost of governance via intervention, facilitates the entrance of informed traders who produce valuable information about the firm, enhances the effectiveness of equity-based compensation to managers, reduces the cost of equity financing, mitigates trading frictions investors encounter when trading in the market to recreate a preferred payout policy, and lowers the immediate transaction costs and subsequent liquidity costs for firms conducting large share repurchases. Further, the influence goes both ways. There is evidence that firms influence their own liquidity through a broad range of corporate decisions including internal governance standards, equity issuance form and pricing, share repurchases, acquisition targets, and disclosure timeliness and quality. The literature on liquidity and asset pricing demonstrates that both average liquidity cost and liquidity risk are priced, liquidity enhances market efficiency, and liquidity strengthens the arbitrage linkage between related markets. We conclude with directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig W. Holden & Stacey Jacobsen & Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, 2014. "The Empirical Analysis of Liquidity," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 8(4), pages 263-365, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:fntfin:0500000044
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    4. repec:eee:intfin:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:15-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Luis Brandao-Marques, 2016. "Stock Market Liquidity in Chile," IMF Working Papers 16/223, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Rui Ma & Hamish D. Anderson & Ben R. Marshall, 2016. "International stock market liquidity: a review," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 42(2), pages 118-135, February.
    7. repec:bec:imsber:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:1-35 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. O’Hara, Maureen, 2015. "High frequency market microstructure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 257-270.
    9. Kacperczyk, Marcin & Pagnotta, Emiliano, 2018. "Chasing Private Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 12871, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Efstathios Panayi & Gareth Peters & Ioannis Kosmidis, 2014. "Liquidity commonality does not imply liquidity resilience commonality: A functional characterisation for ultra-high frequency cross-sectional LOB data," Papers 1406.5486, arXiv.org.
    11. Efstathios Panayi & Gareth W. Peters & Ioannis Kosmidis, 2015. "Liquidity commonality does not imply liquidity resilience commonality: a functional characterisation for ultra-high frequency cross-sectional LOB data," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(10), pages 1737-1758, October.
    12. repec:eee:finmar:v:38:y:2018:i:c:p:14-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:finmar:v:36:y:2017:i:c:p:115-131 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Abdi, Farshid & Ranaldo, Angelo, 2016. "A Simple Estimation of Bid-Ask Spreads from Daily Close, High, and Low PricesWe propose a new method to estimate the bid-ask spread when quote data are not available. Compared to other low-frequency e," Working Papers on Finance 1604, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Apr 2017.
    15. Black, Jeffrey R. & Stock, Duane & Yadav, Pradeep K., 2016. "The pricing of different dimensions of liquidity: Evidence from government guaranteed bonds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 119-132.

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    Keywords

    Corporate finance; Market liquidity; Market microstructure; Asset pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • C58 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Financial Econometrics
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

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