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The Mysterious Ethics of High-Frequency Trading

  • Ricky Cooper (a1), Michael Davis (a1) and Ben Van Vliet (a1)


The ethics of high frequency trading are obscure, due in part to the complexity of the practice. This article contributes to the existing literature of ethics in financial markets by examining a recent trend in regulation in high frequency trading, the prohibition of deception. We argue that in the financial markets almost any regulation, other than the most basic, tends to create a moral hazard and increase information asymmetry. Since the market’s job is, at least in part, price discovery, we argue that simplicity of regulation and restraint in regulation are virtues to a greater extent than in other areas of finance. This article proposes criteria for determining which high-frequency trading strategies should be regulated.



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The Mysterious Ethics of High-Frequency Trading

  • Ricky Cooper (a1), Michael Davis (a1) and Ben Van Vliet (a1)


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