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Front-Running and Market Quality: An Evolutionary Perspective on High Frequency Trading


Hens, Thorsten; Lensberg, Terje; Schenk-Hoppé, Klaus Reiner (2018). Front-Running and Market Quality: An Evolutionary Perspective on High Frequency Trading. International Review of Finance, 18(4):727-741.

Abstract

We study front-running by high-frequency traders (HFTs) in a limit order model with continuous trading. The model describes an evolutionary equilibrium of low-frequency traders who compete in portfolio management services by offering investment styles. The introduction of front-runners inflicts heavy losses on speculators, while leaving passive investors relatively unscathed. This encourages investment in the market portfolio and markedly reduces overall turnover. Speculative trading persists despite its lower profitability. By most measures, market quality is not affected to any significant extent by front-running HFTs.

Abstract

We study front-running by high-frequency traders (HFTs) in a limit order model with continuous trading. The model describes an evolutionary equilibrium of low-frequency traders who compete in portfolio management services by offering investment styles. The introduction of front-runners inflicts heavy losses on speculators, while leaving passive investors relatively unscathed. This encourages investment in the market portfolio and markedly reduces overall turnover. Speculative trading persists despite its lower profitability. By most measures, market quality is not affected to any significant extent by front-running HFTs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:1 December 2018
Deposited On:07 Mar 2019 09:16
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:24
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1468-2443
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/irfi.12159
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:15434

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