Why Effective Spreads on NASDAQ Were Higher than on the New York Stock Exchange in the 1990s
University of Memphis Working Paper
34 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2003
Date Written: August 13, 2003
Two hypotheses have been advanced to explain why spreads on Nasdaq were substantially higher than those on the NYSE in the 1990s - "collusion" and "preferencing and payment for order flow." We present data on all actively traded stocks of relative effective spreads (RES) on these markets, aggregated monthly over 1987-1999 and advance a third hypothesis: Nasdaq "SOES-day-trading." We estimate Nasdaq and NYSE informed-trade losses and gains to market makers on six trade sizes, and find that losses on trades we ascribe to SOES day traders were substantially greater than those on other trades, offset somewhat by gains to small-trade-size investors. Nasdaq market makers' response resulted in greater RES and increased trading within the best quotes, predominantly on larger trade sizes. Among market makers' customers, the costs of SOES day trading were borne largely by traders of the smaller trade sizes. The data are consistent with the "SOES-day-trading" hypotheses, but not with the other two. Furthermore, the mandatory SOES "experiment" gave impetus to trading via ECNs, which now dominate Nasdaq.
Keywords: Microstructure, day trading, SOES, bid/ask spreads, Nasdaq vs. NYSE
JEL Classification: C12, C13, G10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation