Anna A. Obizhaeva (New Economic School) – Market Microstructure Invariance and Transaction Costs

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Using the intuition that financial markets transfer risks in business time, “market microstructure invariance” is defined as the hypotheses that the distributions of risk transfers (“bets”) and transaction costs are constant across assets when measured per unit of business time. The invariance hypotheses imply that bet size and transaction costs have specific, empirically testable relationships to observable dollar volume and volatility. Portfolio transitions can be viewed as natural experiments for measuring transaction costs, and individual orders can be treated as proxies for bets. Empirical tests based on a data set of 400,000+ portfolio transition orders support the invariance hypotheses. The constants calibrated from structural estimation imply specific predictions for the arrival rate of bets (“market velocity”), the distribution of bet sizes, and transaction costs.

Dimensional analysis, leverage neutrality, and a principle of market microstructure invariance can be combined to derive scaling laws expressing transaction costs functions, bid-ask spreads, bet sizes, number of bets, and other financial variables in terms of dollar trading volume and volatility. The scaling laws are illustrated using data on bid-ask spreads and number of trades for Russian and U.S. stocks. These scaling laws provide practical metrics for risk managers and traders; scientific benchmarks for evaluating controversial issues related to high frequency trading, market crashes, and liquidity measurement; and guidelines for designing policies in the aftermath of financial crisis.

Friday, November29, 2019, 11:00 a.m.

Oesterreichische Nationalbank
Otto-Wagner-Platz 3
1090 Vienna

Please register until Tuesday, November 26, 2019.