The Cost of Misspecifying Price Impact

Social Science Research Network(2023)

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Portfolio managers' orders trade off return and trading cost predictions. Return predictions rely on alpha models, whereas price impact models quantify trading costs. This paper studies what happens when trades are based on an incorrect price impact model, so that the portfolio either over- or under-trades its alpha signal. We derive tractable formulas for these misspecification costs and illustrate them on proprietary trading data. The misspecification costs are naturally asymmetric: underestimating impact concavity or impact decay shrinks profits, but overestimating concavity or impact decay can even turn profits into losses.
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Key words
misspecifying price impact,cost
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