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Bitcoin Flash Crash on May 19, 2021: What Did Really Happen on Binance?
IWH Discussion Papers,
Bitcoin plunged by 30% on May 19, 2021. We examine the outage the largest crypto exchange Binance experienced during the crash, when it halted trading for retail clients and stopped providing transaction data. We find evidence that Binance back-filled these missing transactions with data that does not conform to Benford‘s Law. The Bitcoin futures price difference between Binance and other exchanges was seven times larger during the crash period compared to a prior reference period. Data manipulation is a plausible explanation for our findings. These actions are in line with Binance aiming to limit losses for its futures-related insurance fund.
The Impact of Overconfident Customers on Supplier Firm Risks
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
Research has shown that firms with overconfident chief executive officers (CEOs) tend to overinvest and are exposed to high risks due to unrealistically optimistic estimates of their firms’ future performance. This study finds evidence that overconfident CEOs also affect suppliers’ risk taking. Specifically, serving overconfident customers can lead to high supplier risks, measured by stock volatility, idiosyncratic risk, and market risk. The effects are pronounced when customers aggressively invest in research and development (R&D). Our results are robust after addressing self-selection bias and using different CEO overconfidence measures. We also document some real effects of customer CEO overconfidence on suppliers.
Expectations, Infections, and Economic Activity
NBER Working Paper,
The Covid epidemic had a large impact on economic activity. In contrast, the dramatic decline in mortality from infectious diseases over the past 120 years had a small economic impact. We argue that people's response to successive Covid waves helps reconcile these two findings. Our analysis uses a unique administrative data set with anonymized monthly expenditures at the individual level that covers the first three Covid waves. Consumer expenditures fell by about the same amount in the first and third waves, even though the risk of getting infected was larger in the third wave. We find that people had pessimistic prior beliefs about the case-fatality rates that converged over time to the true case-fatality rates. Using a model where Covid is endemic, we show that the impact of Covid is small when people know the true case-fatality rate but large when people have empirically-plausible pessimistic prior beliefs about the case-fatality rate. These results reconcile the large economic impact of Covid with the small effect of the secular decline in mortality from infectious diseases estimated in the literature.