Three Essays on Informed Trading

230 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2013

See all articles by Frank Sensenbrenner

Frank Sensenbrenner

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Date Written: July 1, 2011


This dissertation consists of three essays examining the behavior of informed traders in financial markets and how they affect asset pricing. It examines informed traders’ role in shaping securities prices in three ways. It examines whether on a macro and micro basis insider traders move prices to a different degree than non-insiders. In addition, it uses econometric methods to determine what exchange generates permanent price trends in UK shares. Lastly, it looks at another side effect of fragmentation – how a ‘best execution’ mandate and related market structure changes affect transactions costs in liquid UK, French, and German shares.

These studies expand on current literature in various ways – extant insider trading literature has either primarily focused on daily price movement and volume or had consisted of case studies, the conclusions of which may be idiosyncratic and therefore unrepresentative of typical insider behavior. The new phenomenon of multilateral trading facilities (also known as electronic communications networks) and the proliferation of algorithmic or computer-mediated trading had not been examined in price discovery papers, due to their relative novelty. In addition, despite a bevy of literature offering informed insight into the impact of the European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), there has been a dearth of empirical studies assessing its impact on European securities markets. Chapters 2 and 3 examine MiFID and computerized trading from two different perspectives: that of which trades lead to permanent prices, and that of transactions costs.

The conclusions drawn in this dissertation will be of interest to regulators, market operators, and traders, as they offer insight into the impact of market structure and how it impacts informed traders who participate in them.

Keywords: finance, economics, insider trading, informed trading, financial markets, asset pricing, securities, UK, European Union, Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, transaction costs, regulators, trading, traders

Suggested Citation

Sensenbrenner, Frank, Three Essays on Informed Trading (July 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Frank Sensenbrenner (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) ( email )

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