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Arbitrage Opportunities: Anatomy and Remediation

Bossaerts, Peter and Shachat, Jason and Xie, Kuangli (2018): Arbitrage Opportunities: Anatomy and Remediation.

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We introduce an experimental design where arbitrage opportunities emerge reliably and repeatedly. We observe significantly higher sell-side than buy-side arbitrage opportunities. We study ways to mitigate them. Relaxing margin requirements, shortsale restrictions, or both have neither statistically nor economically significant effects. Increasing competition (more participants, each with small stakes), and more impactful, participants’ stakes (few wealthy participants each with large exposures), generate large reductions in arbitrage opportunities. Hence, we advocate increased competition for small markets, and allowance for large stakes in large markets, rather than relaxation of rules on margin purchases or shortsales.

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