Trading Complex Assets

  • Author(s): BRUCE IAN CARLIN, SHIMON KOGAN, RICHARD LOWERY
  • Published: Sep 10, 2013
  • Pages: 1937-1960
  • DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12029

ABSTRACT

We perform an experimental study to assess the effect of complexity on asset trading. We find that higher complexity leads to increased price volatility, lower liquidity, and decreased trade efficiency especially when repeated bargaining takes place. However, the channel through which complexity acts is not simply due to the added noise induced by estimation error. Rather, complexity alters the bidding strategies used by traders, making them less inclined to trade, even when we control for estimation error across treatments. As such, it appears that adverse selection plays an important role in explaining the trading abnormalities caused by complexity.

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