Reflecting on the VPIN Dispute

12 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2013 Last revised: 18 Feb 2014

See all articles by Torben G. Andersen

Torben G. Andersen

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Aarhus University - CREATES

Oleg Bondarenko

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Finance

Date Written: August 4, 2013

Abstract

In Andersen and Bondarenko (2014), using tick data for S&P 500 futures, we establish that the VPIN metric of Easley, Lopez de Prado, and O'Hara (ELO), by construction, will be correlated with trading volume and return volatility (innovations). Whether VPIN is more strongly correlated with volume or volatility depends on the exact implementation. Hence, it is crucial for the interpretation of VPIN as a harbinger of market turbulence or as a predictor of short-term volatility to control for current volume and volatility. Doing so, we find no evidence of incremental predictive power of VPIN for future volatility. Likewise, VPIN does not attain unusual extremes prior to the flash crash. Moreover, the properties of VPIN are strongly dependent on the underlying trade classification. In particular, using more standard classification techniques, VPIN behaves in the exact opposite manner of what is portrayed in ELO (2011a, 2012a). At a minimum, ELO should rationalize this systematic reversal as the classification becomes more closely aligned with individual transactions.

ELO (2014) dispute our findings. This note reviews the econometric methodology and the market microstructure arguments behind our conclusions and responds to a number of inaccurate assertions. In addition, we summarize fresh empirical evidence that corroborates the hypothesis that VPIN is largely driven, and significantly distorted, by the volume and volatility innovations. Furthermore, we note there is compelling new evidence that transaction-based classification schemes are more accurate than the bulk volume strategies advocated by ELO for constructing VPIN. In fact, using perfect classification leads to diametrically opposite results relative to ELO (2011a, 2012a).

Keywords: VPIN, PIN, High-Frequency Trading, Order Flow Toxicity, Order Imbalance, Flash Crash, VIX, Volatility Forecasting

JEL Classification: G01, G14, and G17

Suggested Citation

Andersen, Torben G. and Bondarenko, Oleg, Reflecting on the VPIN Dispute (August 4, 2013). Journal of Financial Markets, Vol. 17, pp. 53-64, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2305905 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2305905

Torben G. Andersen

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Aarhus University - CREATES ( email )

School of Economics and Management
Building 1322, Bartholins Alle 10
DK-8000 Aarhus C
Denmark

Oleg Bondarenko (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Finance ( email )

2431 University Hall (UH)
601 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60607-7124
United States
(312) 996-2362 (Phone)
(312) 413-7948 (Fax)

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