Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for finance professionals and academics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a standard model for market impact? I am interested in the case of high-volume equities sold in the US, during market hours, but would be interested in any pointers.

share|improve this question
Similar question to: quant.stackexchange.com/questions/7049/… – Mark Horvath Jul 18 '15 at 23:03
up vote 15 down vote accepted

There is a family of models that is so commonly used among practitioners that it can be almost regarded as standard. For a survey, check out Rob Almgren's entry in the Encyclopedia of Quantitative Finance. Check out also Barra, Axioma and Northfield's handbooks. In general, the impact term per unit traded currency is of the form

$$MI \propto \sigma_n \cdot \text{(participation rate)}^\beta$$

where the exponent is somewhere between 1/2 and 1, depending on the model being used, and the participation rate is the percentage of total volume of the trade, during the trading interval itself. When including the total MI in optimization, the models commonly used are the "3/2" model and the "5/3" model, in which the costs are proportional to (dollar value being traded for asset i)^{3/2, 5/3}. Since the term is not quadratic (and not solvable by a quadratic optimizer) some people approximate it by a linear term plus a quadratic one, or by a piece-wise linear convex function.

share|improve this answer

While many models say impact is sub-linear, it souds dangerous to believe this. Given large enough size of a VWAP order I would imagine the opposite, i.e. super linear.

There is a theoretical argument as well to linear impact: Imagine 10 VWAP orders of 10 different traders making up the buy trades of a day for a security, each of them trading the same amount. If $\beta \neq 1$ then only one of them trading $10 \times$ more, would result in a different impact. Assumming they are using the same VWAP algorithm (or same broker even), this would lead to contradiction as the impact should be the same.

Given that there are many apporximations of these coefficients, each noisy and different per market, I prefer to be careful and use a linear impact model. (Of course, I have to accept that the weakness of using this pessimistic model as a PM, is that I won't have an incentive to split my large block orders to smaller ones across time... But let the execution team worry about that.)

You might also find this discussion useful: Quantopian Slippage Model.

share|improve this answer

The easiest way ,i suppose, would be to analyze the market depth. If there is a 20 cent gap between each 100 shares on the bid then to sell 1000 shares instantly would have an impact of $2. Your average price is the midpoint. There are more complicated formulations, but this seems to be how it works on simple examples such as bitcoin exchanges.

share|improve this answer
What you describe (more or less) is the instantaneous market impact of a single, aggressive fill (execution) of a given size. If you can fill your entire order like this, then you now have a benchmark "worst" cost. On average, you should be able to do better by e.g. posting some passive liquidity, taking liquidity for smaller portions of your order and then allowing the order book to refresh, et cetera. Very often (most?) of the time, institutional orders are too large to fill instantaneously simply by walking the order book. – afekz Dec 24 '15 at 8:13
Your USD2 'market impact' reflects how much you've instantaneously moved the bid price. If you're measuring your impact against the mid-price, you have only moved the mid USD1. Wider-than-normal spreads are likely to result in more passive orders refilling the book. Roughly speaking, under most circumstances, there are likely to be more refills on the bid side that you just cleaned out than on the offered side. – afekz Dec 24 '15 at 8:28

I don't believe that there is a "standard" model (per say); in fact, there are many considerations around market impact models, so you would need to be more specific. At the most basic level, you might define market as $P_{first fill} - P_{last fill}$ once your order in actually in the order book (e.g. not including other costs like "opportunity cost"). This doesn't take into account any other trades that may be taking place at the same time or other events that might be impacting the price beyond your order. It doesn't doesn't help you to forecast market impact on an impending order (which would require some knowledge of time of day, volume, volatility, etc.).

That being said, I would certainly recommend reading "Optimal Trading Strategies" (Kissell, Glantz 2003) which gives a good overview (in addition to covering other transaction cost subjects).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.