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ETFs, Arbitrage, and Contagion

Author

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  • Ben-David, Itzhak

    (OH State University)

  • Franzoni, Francesco

    (Swiss Finance Institute and University of Lugano)

  • Moussawi, Rabih

    (University of PA)

Abstract

Recent literature suggests that trading by institutional investors may affect the first and second moments of returns. Elaborating on this intuition, we conjecture that arbitrageurs can propagate liquidity shocks between related markets. The paper provides evidence in this direction by studying Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), an asset class that has gained paramount importance in recent years. We report that arbitrage activity occurs between ETFs and the underlying assets. Then, we show that ETFs increase the volatility of the underlying assets, and that the prices of the underlying assets are affected by shocks to ETFs. Finally, we present findings consistent with the idea that ETFs served as a conduit for shock propagation between the futures market and the equity market during the Flash Crash on May 6, 2010. Overall, our results suggest that arbitrage activity may induce contagion.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben-David, Itzhak & Franzoni, Francesco & Moussawi, Rabih, 2011. "ETFs, Arbitrage, and Contagion," Working Paper Series 2011-20, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2011-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Amihud, Yakov, 2002. "Illiquidity and stock returns: cross-section and time-series effects," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 31-56, January.
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    7. Denis Gromb & Dimitri Vayanos, 2010. "Limits of Arbitrage: The State of the Theory," NBER Working Papers 15821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pontiff, Jeffrey, 2006. "Costly arbitrage and the myth of idiosyncratic risk," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 35-52, October.
    9. Jeffrey Wurgler, 2010. "On the Economic Consequences of Index-Linked Investing," NBER Working Papers 16376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Coval, Joshua & Stafford, Erik, 2007. "Asset fire sales (and purchases) in equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 479-512, November.
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