Gomber, Peter Sagade, Satchit Theissen, Erik Weber, Moritz Christian Westheide, Christian
Year of Publication:
SAFE Working Paper 35
Advances in technology and several regulatory initiatives have led to the emergence of a competitive but fragmented equity trading landscape in the US and Europe. While these changes have brought about several benefits like reduced transaction costs, regulators and market participants have also raised concerns about the potential adverse effects associated with increased execution complexity and the impact on market quality of new types of venues like dark pools. In this article we review the theoretical and empirical literature examining the economic arguments and motivations underlying market fragmentation, as well as the resulting implications for investors' welfare. We start with the literature that views exchanges as natural monopolies due to presence of network externalities, and then examine studies which challenge this view by focusing on trader heterogeneity and other aspects of the microstructure of equity markets.