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An experimental study of circuit breakers: the effects of mandated market closures and temporary halts on market behavior

  • Lucy F. Ackert
  • Bryan K. Church
  • Narayanan Jayaraman

This paper analyzes the effect of circuit breakers on price behavior, trading volume, and profit-making ability in a market setting. We conduct nine experimental asset markets to compare behavior across three regulatory regimes: market closure, temporary halt, and no interruption. The presence of a circuit breaker rule does not affect the magnitude of the absolute deviation in price from fundamental value or trading profit. The primary driver of behavior is information asymmetry in the market. By comparison, trading activity is significantly affected by the presence of a circuit breaker. Mandated market closures cause market participants to advance trades.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. with number 99-1.

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Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:99-1
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  1. Williams, Arlington W, 1980. "Computerized Double-Auction Markets: Some Initial Experimental Results," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 235-58, July.
  2. Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1981. "On Nonbinding Price Controls in a Competitive Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 467-74, June.
  3. Sunder, Shyam, 1992. "Market for Information: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 667-95, May.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1980. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 393-408, June.
  5. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Information and Competitive Price Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 246-53, May.
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  7. Daniel Friedman, 1982. "Price Formation in Double Auction Markets," UCLA Economics Working Papers 278, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Greenwald, Bruce C. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1991. "Transactional Risk, Market Crashes, and the Role of Circuit Breakers," Scholarly Articles 3710666, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Forsythe, Robert & Palfrey, Thomas R & Plott, Charles R, 1984. " Futures Markets and Informational Efficiency: A Laboratory Examination," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 955-81, September.
  10. Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 1995. "On rules versus discretion in procedures to halt trade," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-16, February.
  11. G. J. Santoni & Tung Liu, 1993. "Circuit breakers and stock market volatility," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 261-277, 05.
  12. Ma, C.K. & Rao, R.P. & Sears, R.S., 1988. "Limit Moves And Price Resolution: The Case Of The Treasury Bond Futures Markets," Papers 177, Columbia - Center for Futures Markets.
  13. Ackert, Lucy F. & Church, Bryan K., 1998. "Information dissemination and the distribution of wealth: Evidence from experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 357-371, November.
  14. Christopher K. Ma & Ramesh P. Rao & R. Stephen Sears, 1989. "Limit moves and price resolution: The case of the treasury bond futures market," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 321-335, 08.
  15. Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 1994. " Circuit Breakers and Market Volatility: A Theoretical Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 237-54, March.
  16. Gerety, Mason S & Mulherin, J Harold, 1992. " Trading Halts and Market Activity: An Analysis of Volume at the Open and the Close," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1765-84, December.
  17. Ackert, Lucy F. & Church, Bryan K. & Shehata, Mohamed, 1997. "Market behavior in the presence of costly, imperfect information: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 61-74, May.
  18. Copeland, Thomas E & Friedman, Daniel, 1992. "The Market Value of Information: Some Experimental Results," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 241-66, April.
  19. Forsythe, Robert & Palfrey, Thomas R & Plott, Charles R, 1982. "Asset Valuation in an Experimental Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 537-67, May.
  20. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-51, September.
  21. Kyle, Albert S, 1985. "Continuous Auctions and Insider Trading," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1315-35, November.
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