Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Centralized vs decentralized markets in the laboratory: The role of connectivity

Alfarano, Simone and Banal-Estanol, Albert and Camacho-Cuena, Eva and Iori, Giulia and Kapar, Burcu (2020): Centralized vs decentralized markets in the laboratory: The role of connectivity.

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Abstract

This paper compares the performance of centralized and decentralized markets experimentally. We constrain trading exchanges to happen on an exogenously predetermined network, representing the trading relationships in markets with differing levels of connectivity. Our experimental results show that, despite having lower trading volumes, decentralized markets are not necessarily less efficient. Although information can propagate quicker through highly connected markets, we show that higher connectivity also induces informed traders to trade faster and exploit further their information advantages before the information becomes fully incorporated into prices. This not only reduces market efficiency, but it also increases wealth inequality. We show that, in more connected markets, informed traders trade not only relatively quicker, but also more, in the right direction, despite not doing it at better prices.

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