The Dynamics of Financially Constrained Arbitrage

Publication Date
Paul Woolley Centre Discussion Papers No 45
Publication Authors

We develop a model of financially constrained arbitrage, and use it to study the dynamics of arbitrage capital, liquidity, and asset prices. Arbitrageurs exploit price discrepancies between assets traded in segmented markets, and in doing so provide liquidity to investors. A collateral constraint limits their positions as a function of capital. We show that the dynamics of arbitrage activity are self-correcting: following a shock that depletes arbitrage capital, profitability increases, and this allows capital to be gradually replenished. Spreads increase more and recover faster for more volatile trades, although arbitrageurs cut their positions in these trades the least. When arbitrage capital is more mobile across markets, liquidity in each market generally becomes less volatile, but the reverse may hold for aggregate liquidity because of mobility-induced contagion.

Dimitri Vayanos and Denis Gromb
The Paul Woolley Centre Paper Series No 45, February 2015 [See also The Dynamics of Financially Constrained ArbitrageJournal of Finance (2018)]