A fractional reaction-diffusion description of supply and demand

9 April 2017

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We suggest that the broad distribution of time scales in financial markets could be a crucial ingredient to reproduce realistic price dynamics in stylised Agent-Based Models. We propose a fractional reaction-diffusion model for the dynamics of liquidity in financial markets, where agents are very heterogeneous in terms of their characteristic frequencies. Several features of our model are amenable to an exact analytical treatment. We find in particular that the impact is a concave function of the transacted volume (aka 'the square-root impact law'), as in the normal diffusion limit. However, the impact kernel decays as t−β with β=1/2 in the diffusive case, which is inconsistent with market efficiency. In the sub-diffusive case the decay exponent β takes any value in [0,1/2], and can be tuned to match the empirical value β≈1/4. Numerical simulations confirm our theoretical results. Several extensions of the model are suggested.


Michael Benzaquen , Jean-Philippe Bouchaud