Abstract: Technology, Associationalism, and the Transformation of Entrepreneurial Endeavor: Automating Odd-Lot Trading at the New York Stock Exchange, 1958–1976

Philip G. Bradford and Paul J. Miranti

Abstract

Entrepreneurial endeavor in the context of this paper involved the efforts of the New York Stock Exchange to automate the trading of odd-lot securities beginning in 1958 because of the prodding of the SEC, market competition from rival exchanges and a changing organizational structure of finance. However, this niche market which had been dominated for decades by a duopoly proved difficult to automate because of the difficulties of forming consensus within the NYSE association about the direction and timing of change. While the technological transformation was finally completed in 1973, the forces transforming Wall Street led shortly thereafter to the ultimate demise of the original odd-lot dealers and the absorption of the business by giant commission houses and floor specialists.