A Tale of One Exchange and Two Order Books: Effects of Fragmentation in the Absence of Competition
57 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2018 Last revised: 5 Feb 2020
Date Written: October 2018
Exchanges nowadays routinely operate multiple, almost identically structured limit order markets for the same security. We study the effects of such fragmentation on market performance using a dynamic model where agents trade strategically across two identically-organized limit order books. We show that fragmented markets, in equilibrium, offer higher welfare to intermediaries at the expense of investors with intrinsic trading motives, and lower liquidity than consolidated markets. Consistent with our theory, we document improvements in liquidity and lower profits for liquidity providers when Euronext, in 2009, consolidated its order flow for stocks traded across two country-specific and identically-organized order books into a single order book. Our results suggest that competition in market design, not fragmentation, drives previously documented improvements in market quality when new trading venues emerge; in the absence of such competition, market fragmentation is harmful.
Keywords: Fragmentation, Competition, Liquidity, Price Efficiency
JEL Classification: G10, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation