Thick vs. Thin-Skinned: Technology, News, and Financial Market Reaction


Barry J. Eichengreen ; Romain Lafarguette ; Arnaud Mehl

Publication Date:

April 7, 2017

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


We study the impact of technology on the reaction of financial markets to information, focusing on the foreign exchange market. We contrast the “thin-skinned” view that technological improvements cause markets to react more to new information with the “thick-skinned” view that they react less. We pinpoint exogenous technological changes using the timing of the connection of countries via the submarine fiber-optic cables used for electronic trading. Cable connections dampen the response of exchange rates to macroeconomic news, consistent with the “thick-skinned” hypothesis. This is in line with the view that technology eases access to information and reduces trend-following behavior. According to our estimates, cable connections reduce the reaction of exchange rates to U.S. monetary policy news by 50 to 80 percent.


Working Paper No. 2017/091



Publication Date:

April 7, 2017



Stock No:




Please address any questions about this title to