Exchange-mandated discrete pricing restrictions create a wedge between the underlying equilibrium price and the observed price. This wedge permits a competitive market maker to realize economic profits that could help recoup fixed costs. The optimal tick size that maximizes the expected profits of the market maker can equal to $1/8 for reasonable parameter values. The optimal tick size is decreasing in the degree of adverse selection. Discreteness per se can cause time-varying bid-ask spreads, asymmetric commissions, and market breakdowns. Discreteness, which imposes additional transaction costs, reduces the value of private information. Liquidity traders can benefit under certain conditions.
The Review of Financial Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 3, 1998
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