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Optimal Transparency in a Dealership Market with an Application to Foreign Exchange


  • Richard K. Lyons


This paper addresses the issue of optimal transparency in a multiple-dealer market. In particular, we examine the question: Would risk-averse dealers prefer ex-ante that signed order flow were observable? We answer this question with the solution to a mechanism design problem. The resulting incentive-efficient mechanism is one in which signed order flow is not observable. Rather, dealers prefer a slower pace of price discovery because it induces additional risk-sharing. Specifically, slower price discovery permits additional trading with customers prior to revelation; this reduces the variance of unavoidable position disturbances, thereby reducing the market making risk inherent in price discovery. We then apply the framework to the spot foreign exchange market in order to understand better the current degree of transparency in that market.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard K. Lyons, 1993. "Optimal Transparency in a Dealership Market with an Application to Foreign Exchange," NBER Working Papers 4467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4467
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Biais, Bruno, 1993. " Price Information and Equilibrium Liquidity in Fragmented and Centralized Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 157-185, March.
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    3. Mark D. Flood, 1991. "Microstructure theory and the foreign exchange market," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 52-70.
    4. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
    5. Garman, Mark B., 1976. "Market microstructure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 257-275, June.
    6. Leach, J Chris & Madhavan, Ananth N, 1993. "Price Experimentation and Security Market Structure," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(2), pages 375-404.
    7. Flood, Mark D., 1994. "Market structure and inefficiency in the foreign exchange market," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 131-158, April.
    8. Lyons, Richard K., 1995. "Tests of microstructural hypotheses in the foreign exchange market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 321-351.
    9. Albert S. Kyle, 1989. "Informed Speculation with Imperfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 317-355.
    10. Bray, Margaret M, 1981. "Futures Trading, Rational Expectations, and the Efficient Markets Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 575-596, May.
    11. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-358, March.
    12. Wolinsky, Asher, 1990. "Information Revelation in a Market with Pairwise Meetings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 1-23, January.
    13. Lyons, Richard K., 1990. "Whence exchange rate overshooting: Money stock or flow?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 369-384, November.
    14. Goodhart, Charles, 1988. "The Foreign Exchange Market: A Random Walk with a Dragging Anchor," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(220), pages 437-460, November.
    15. Ho, Thomas S Y & Stoll, Hans R, 1983. " The Dynamics of Dealer Markets under Competition," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1053-1074, September.
    16. Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1981. "Information aggregation in a noisy rational expectations economy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 221-235, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard K. Lyons, 1996. "Foreign Exchange Volume: Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?," NBER Chapters,in: The Microstructure of Foreign Exchange Markets, pages 183-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lyons, Richard K., 1995. "Tests of microstructural hypotheses in the foreign exchange market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 321-351.
    3. Nicolas Audet & Toni Gravelle & Jing Yang, 2002. "Alternative Trading Systems: Does One Shoe Fit All?," Staff Working Papers 02-33, Bank of Canada.
    4. Vogler, Karl-Hubert, 1997. "Risk allocation and inter-dealer trading," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1615-1634, August.
    5. Victoria Saporta, 1997. "Which Inter-dealer Market Prevails? An analysis of inter-dealer trading in opaque markets," Bank of England working papers 59, Bank of England.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading


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