London, 11-12 December 2017

In recent decades, the widespread uptake of electronic trading has facilitated the recording of high-quality data that describes the actions and interactions of market participants at the microscopic scale. Analysis of this data has revealed striking regularities that challenge many long-standing theories regarding financial markets.

The field of market microstructure seeks to establish connections between activity at the ultra-fast, microscopic scales and the emergent properties that appear on longer time scales. In this way, market microstructure is a bottom-up approach to understanding financial markets. Recent developments in this direction have helped to provide new insight into many important questions regarding price formation, market stability and macroeconomics. For example, recent market microstructure analyses yield convincing explanations – and, importantly, make testable quantitative predictions – on issues such as unusual price returns, volatility clustering, price impact and liquidity fluctuations. These important advances have clear practical implications for far-reaching issues such as market design, optimal execution and regulation.

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