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Size Discovery

Jul 2016
Working Paper
16-031
By  Darrell Duffie, Haoxiang Zhu

Size-discovery trade mechanisms allow large quantities of an asset to be exchanged at a price that does not respond to price pressure. Primary examples include "workup" in Treasury markets, "matching sessions" in corporate bond and CDS markets, and block-trading "dark pools" in equity markets. By freezing the execution price and giving upon market-clearing, size-discovery mechanisms overcome concerns by large investors over their price impacts. Price-discovery mechanisms clear the market, but cause investors to internalize their price impacts, inducing costly delays in the reduction of position imbalances. We show how augmenting a price-discovery mechanism with a size-discovery mechanism improves allocative efficiency.

Publication Keywords: 
Size discovery
Allocative efficiency
Workup
Dark pool
Market Design