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Manipulation and the Allocational Role of Prices

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  • Itay Goldstein
  • Alexander Guembel

Abstract

It is commonly believed that prices in secondary financial markets play an important allocational role because they contain information that facilitates the efficient allocation of resources. This paper identifies a limitation inherent in this role of prices. It shows that the presence of a feedback effect from the financial market to the real value of a firm creates an incentive for an uninformed trader to sell the firm's stock. When this happens the informativeness of the stock price decreases, and the beneficial allocational role of the financial market weakens. The trader profits from this trading strategy, partly because his trading distorts the firm's investment. We therefore refer to this strategy as manipulation. We show that trading without information is profitable only with sell orders, driving a wedge between the allocational implications of buyer and seller initiated speculation, and providing justification for restrictions on short sales. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Itay Goldstein & Alexander Guembel, 2008. "Manipulation and the Allocational Role of Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 133-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:1:p:133-164
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00467.x
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