We implement a laboratory financial market where traders can access costly technology that reduces communication latency with a remote exchange. In this environment, we conduct a market design study on high-frequency trading: we contrast the performance of the newly proposed frequent batch auction (FBA) against the continuous double auction (CDA), which organizes trades in most exchanges worldwide. Our evidence suggests that, relative to the CDA, the FBA exhibits (1) less predatory trading behavior, (2) lower investments in low-latency communication technology, (3) lower transaction costs, and (4) lower volatility in market spreads and liquidity. We also find that transitory shocks in the environment have substantially greater impact on market dynamics in the CDA than in the FBA.
Recommended citation: Aldrich, E. and López Vargas, K., (2019). “Experiments in High-Frequency Trading: Testing the Frequent Batch Auction.” Experimental Economics.