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A queueing theory description of fat-tailed price returns in imperfect financial markets

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  • H. Lamba

Abstract

In a financial market, for agents with long investment horizons or at times of severe market stress, it is often changes in the asset price that act as the trigger for transactions or shifts in investment position. This suggests the use of price thresholds to simulate agent behavior over much longer timescales than are currently used in models of order-books. We show that many phenomena, routinely ignored in efficient market theory, can be systematically introduced into an otherwise efficient market, resulting in models that robustly replicate the most important stylized facts. We then demonstrate a close link between such threshold models and queueing theory, with large price changes corresponding to the busy periods of a single-server queue. The distribution of the busy periods is known to have excess kurtosis and non-exponential decay under various assumptions on the queue parameters. Such an approach may prove useful in the development of mathematical models for rapid deleveraging and panics in financial markets, and the stress-testing of financial institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Lamba, 2009. "A queueing theory description of fat-tailed price returns in imperfect financial markets," Papers 0908.0949, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:0908.0949
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alfarano, Simone & Lux, Thomas & Wagner, Friedrich, 2008. "Time variation of higher moments in a financial market with heterogeneous agents: An analytical approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 101-136, January.
    2. Alfarano, Simone & Milakovic, Mishael, 2009. "Network structure and N-dependence in agent-based herding models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 78-92, January.
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