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Detecting Manipulation in Futures Markets: The Ferruzzi Soybean Episode

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  • Craig Pirrong

Abstract

Manipulation -- the exercise of market power in a futures market -- is a felony, but recent court and regulatory decisions have made conviction of a manipulator problematic. Instead, regulators attempt to prevent manipulation. Deterrence by conviction is more efficient than prevention if manipulations can be detected with high probability. An analysis of the Ferruzzi soybean episode of 1989 demonstrates how to detect manipulation with standard statistical techniques. It is exceedingly unlikely that the price and quantity relations observed in May and July 1989 were the result of competition; they instead reflect market power. The ability to detect manipulation reliably suggests that existing regulation of manipulation in futures and securities markets is inefficient because it relies on costly prevention rather than deterrence. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig Pirrong, 2004. "Detecting Manipulation in Futures Markets: The Ferruzzi Soybean Episode," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 28-71.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:6:y:2004:i:1:p:28-71
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aitken, Michael & Cumming, Douglas & Zhan, Feng, 2015. "High frequency trading and end-of-day price dislocation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 330-349.
    2. Agarwalla, Sobhesh Kumar & Jacob, Joshy & Varma, Jayanth R., 2014. "High Frequency Manipulation at Futures Expiry: The Case of Cash Settled Indian Single Stock Futures," IIMA Working Papers WP2014-02-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    3. Abrantes-Metz, Rosa M. & Kraten, Michael & Metz, Albert D. & Seow, Gim S., 2012. "Libor manipulation?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 136-150.
    4. Cumming, D. & Johan, S.A., 2008. "Global market surveillance," Discussion Paper 2008-002, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    5. Enrique Mart'inez-Miranda & Peter McBurney & Matthew J. Howard, 2015. "Learning Unfair Trading: a Market Manipulation Analysis From the Reinforcement Learning Perspective," Papers 1511.00740, arXiv.org.
    6. Aitken, Michael & Cumming, Douglas & Zhan, Feng, 2015. "Exchange trading rules, surveillance and suspected insider trading," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 311-330.
    7. Cumming, Douglas & Johan, Sofia & Li, Dan, 2011. "Exchange trading rules and stock market liquidity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 651-671, March.
    8. Ke Liu & Kin Lai & Jerome Yen & Qing Zhu, 2015. "A Model of Stock Manipulation Ramping Tricks," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 135-150, January.
    9. Aitken, Michael & Cumming, Douglas & Zhan, Feng, 2013. "Exchange trading rules, surveillance and insider trading," CFS Working Paper Series 2013/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    10. Batten, Jonathan A. & Lucey, Brian M. & Peat, Maurice, 2016. "Gold and silver manipulation: What can be empirically verified?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 168-176.

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