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Discussion Paper

The Value of Arbitrage

This paper studies the social value of closing price differentials in financial markets. We show that arbitrage gaps (price differentials between markets) exactly correspond to the marginal social value of executing an arbitrage trade. We further show that arbitrage gaps and measures of price impact are sufficient to compute the total social value from closing an arbitrage gap. Theoretically, we show that, for a given arbitrage gap, the total social value of arbitrage is higher in more liquid markets.