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Competing on Speed

  • Emiliano Pagnotta
  • Thomas Philippon

Two forces have reshaped global securities markets in the last decade: Exchanges operate at much faster speeds and the trading landscape has become more fragmented. In order to analyze the positive and normative implications of these evolutions, we study a framework that captures (i) exchanges' incentives to invest in faster trading technologies and (ii) investors' trading and participation decisions. Our model predicts that regulation that protect prices will lead to fragmentation and faster trading speed. Asset prices decrease when there is intermediation competition and are further depressed by price protection. Endogenizing speed can also change the slope of asset demand curves. On normative side, we find that for a given number of exchanges, faster trading is in general socially desirable. Similarly, for a given trading speed, competition among exchange increases participation and welfare. However, when speed is endogenous, competition between exchanges is not necessarily desirable. In particular, speed can be inefficiently high. Our model sheds light on important features of the experience of European and U.S. markets since the implementation of Reg. NMS, and provides some guidance for optimal regulations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17652.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17652
Note: AP CF IO
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  1. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-83, September.
  2. Glosten, Lawrence R, 1994. " Is the Electronic Open Limit Order Book Inevitable?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1127-61, September.
  3. Thierry Foucault & Christine A. Parlour, 2004. "Competition for Listings," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
  4. Nicholas Economides, 1995. "The Economics of Networks," Working Papers 94-24, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, revised Sep 1995.
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