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Competition among High-Frequency Traders, and Market Quality

Breckenfelder, Johannes (2013): Competition among High-Frequency Traders, and Market Quality.

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Abstract

We study empirically how competition among high-frequency traders (HFTs) affects their trading behavior and market quality. Our analysis exploits a unique dataset, which allows us to compare environments with and without high-frequency competition, and contains an exogenous event - a tick size reform - which we use to disentangle the effects of the rising share of high-frequency trading in the market from the effects of high-frequency competition. We find that when HFTs compete, their speculative trading increases. As a result, market liquidity deteriorates and short-term volatility rises. Our findings hold for a variety of market quality and high-frequency trading behavior measures.

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