The Limits of Arbitrage
Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
Robert W. Vishny
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
J. OF FINANCE, Vol. 52 No. 1, March 1997
Textbook arbitrage in financial markets requires no capital and entails no risk. In reality, almost all arbitrage requires capital, and is typically risky. Moreover, professional arbitrage is conducted by a relatively small number of highly specialized investors using other peoples' capital. Such professional arbitrage has a number of interesting implications for security pricing, including the possibility that arbitrage becomes ineffective in extreme circumstances, when prices diverge far from fundamental values. The model also suggests where anomalies in financial markets are likely to appear, and why arbitrage fails to eliminate them.
JEL Classification: G12, G14, G13
Date posted: January 16, 1997