Mini-Flash Crashes, Model Risk, and Optimal Execution
48 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017
Date Written: May 27, 2017
Oft-cited causes of mini-flash crashes include human errors, endogenous feedback loops, the nature of modern liquidity provision, fundamental value shocks, and market fragmentation. We develop a mathematical model which captures aspects of the first three explanations. Empirical features of recent mini-flash crashes are present in our framework. For example, there are periods when no such events will occur. If they do, even just before their onset, market participants may not know with certainty that a disruption will unfold. Our mini-flash crashes can materialize in both low and high trading volume environments and may be accompanied by a partial synchronization in order submission.
Instead of adopting a classically-inspired equilibrium approach, we borrow ideas from the optimal execution literature. Each of our agents begins with beliefs about how his own trades impact prices and how prices would move in his absence. They, along with other market participants, then submit orders which are executed at a common venue. Naturally, this leads us to explicitly distinguish between how prices actually evolve and our agents’ opinions. In particular, every agent’s beliefs will be expressly incorrect.
As far as we know, this setup suggests both a new paradigm for modeling heterogeneous agent systems and a novel blueprint for understanding model misspecification risks in the context of optimal execution.
Keywords: Flash Crash, Knightian Uncertainty, Model Error, Optimal Execution
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