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Mechanical vs. informational components of price impact


  • J. Doyne Farmer
  • Neda Zamani


We study the problem of what causes prices to change. We define the mechanical impact of a trading order as the change in future prices in the absence of any future changes in decision making, and its it informational impact as the remainder of the total impact once mechanical impact is removed. We introduce a method of measuring mechanical impact and apply it to order book data from the London Stock Exchange. The average mechanical impact of a market order decays to zero as a function of time, at an asymptotic rate that is consistent with a power law with an exponent of roughly 1.7. In contrast the average informational impact builds to approach a constant value. Initially the impact is entirely mechanical, and is about half as big as the asymptotic informational impact. The size of the informational impact is positively correlated to mechanical impact. For cases where the mechanical impact is zero for all times, we find that the informational impact is negative, i.e. buy market orders that have no mechanical impact at all generate strong negative price responses.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Doyne Farmer & Neda Zamani, 2006. "Mechanical vs. informational components of price impact," Papers physics/0608271,, revised Sep 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:physics/0608271

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    Cited by:

    1. Zoltán Eisler & Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & Julien Kockelkoren, 2012. "The price impact of order book events: market orders, limit orders and cancellations," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(9), pages 1395-1419, September.
    2. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & J. Doyne Farmer & Fabrizio Lillo, 2008. "How markets slowly digest changes in supply and demand," Papers 0809.0822,
    3. Shanshan Wang, 2017. "Trading strategies for stock pairs regarding to the cross-impact cost," Papers 1701.03098,, revised Jul 2017.

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