Nov 2017                       Revise and Resubmit at Journal of Finance
Abstract: Banks are important because firms hold their debt ("inside money") as liquidity buffer. Banking crises are costly because the contraction of inside money supply compromises firms' liquidity management and hurts investment. By highlighting the interaction between banks and firms in the money market, this paper offers a theory of procyclical inside money creation and the resulting instability. It sheds light on the cyclicality of bank leverage, and how it affects the frequency and duration of banking crises. Introducing outside money (government debt) to alleviate liquidity shortage can be counterproductive, because its competition with inside
money destabilizes the banking sector.     
SSRN link
Presentations: Becker Friedman Institute (University of Chicago), Chicago Booth, CEPR Credit Cycle Conference, Columbia Business School, Columbia Economics, Econometric Society (Europe), Finance Theory Group, Georgetown McDonough, Gradudate Institute (Geneva), Imperial College, Johns Hopkins, London School of Economics, Lund University Arne Ryde Conference, MFA, Nanyang Technological University, New York Fed, Northwestern Kellogg, NYU Stern PhD Seminar, OSU Fisher, Oxford Financial Intermediation Theory Conference, University of Melbourne, USC Marshall, Wharton

 with Edward Denbee, Christian Julliard, Kathy Yuan, Sep 11, 2018  

                    Revise and Resubmit at the Journal of Financial Economics

Abstract:   We estimate the liquidity multiplier and individual banks’ contribution to systemic risk in an interbank network using a structural model. Banks borrow liquidity from neighbors and update their valuation based on neighbors' actions. When the former (latter) motive dominates, the equilibrium exhibits strategic substitution (complementarity) of liquidity holdings, and a reduced (increased) liquidity multiplier dampening (amplifying) shocks. Empirically, we find substantial and procyclical network-generated risks driven mostly by changes of equilibrium type rather than network topology. We identify the banks that generate most systemic risk and solve the planner's problem, providing guidance to macro-prudential policies.

SSRN link  

Youtube video: network evolution in our sample

Presentations:  NBER SI 2018, Macro Finance Society, Bank of England, Cass Business School, Duisenberg School of Finance, Koc University, London School of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, OSU Fisher WFA , 5th Joint Bank of Canada / Payments Canada Workshop on Payment Systems, 2018 Fed/OFR Financial Stability: Markets and Spillovers


with Lin William Cong, Neng Wang, May14, 2019, New Version!

Revise and Resubmit at the Review of Financial Studies

Abstract: We develop a dynamic asset-pricing model of cryptocurrencies/tokens that facilitate peer-to-peer transactions on digital platforms. The equilibrium value of tokens is determined by users' transactional demand rather than cashflows as in standard valuation models. Endogenous platform adoption exhibits an S-curve -- it starts slow, becomes volatile, and eventually tapers off. Users' adoption generates positive network externality, which leads to endogenous token-price risk and boom-bust price dynamics. Tokens allow users to capitalize on platform growth, inducing an intertemporal feedback between user adoption and token price that accelerates platform adoption, reduces user-base volatility, and improves welfare.

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Presentations: 2018 AAM-CAMRI-CFA Institute Prize in Asset Management, 2019 RCFS/RAPS Conf. at Baha Mar, CEPR ESSFM Gerzensee Workshop, Chicago Booth, City University of Hong Kong International Finance Conference, Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance Conference (Best Paper Award), Finance UC 14th International Conference, Georgetown University, HKUST Finance Symposium 2018, JOIM Conference on FinTech, London Finance Theory Group Summer Conference, MFA 2019 Norwegian School of Economics, Rome Junior Finance Conference, SEC DERA, Shanghai Forum, Stanford SITE, U Washington Foster School of Business, and UT Dallas Finance Conference


Apr 27, 2019  New Version!

Abstract: Intangible capital creates endogenous financial risk by inducing self-perpetuating savings gluts. Firms save for investments in intangibles that are unpledgeable but essential for the creation of new assets. Intermediaries profit from channeling firms’ savings into asset price bubbles. The bubbly value in turn stimulates firms’ asset creation and savings for intangibles. Fragility builds up as banks’ debt accumulates and funding cost declines. The model offers a coherent account of intangible investment, corporate savings, intermediary leverage, interest rate, and collateral asset price in the decades leading up to the Great Recession. It generates booms with rising downside risks and stagnant recessions.

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Presentations: WFA (Western Finance Association), European Winter Finance Summit (Best Paper Award), EFA (European Finance Association), CEPR ESSFM Gerzensee, Society for Economic Dynamics, Econometric Society (North America), 7th HKUST Macro Workshop, CMU/OSU/Pittsburgh/Penn State conference; earlier version at:  Columbia University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Finance Theory Group (parallel session), LBS Trans-Atlantic Doctoral Conference

 with Chen Wang, Sep 30, 2018

Abstract: The ratio of long- to short-term dividend prices, "price ratio" (pr), predicts one-year stock market return with an out-of-sample R2 of 19%. It subsumes the predictive power of price-to-dividend ratio (pd). The residual from regressing pd on pr predicts one-year dividend with an out-of-sample R2 of 30%. Our results hold outside the U.S. In an exponential-affine model, we show the key to understand these findings is the (lack of) persistence of expected dividend growth. We also characterize the risk of time-varying expected return: (1) the expected return is countercyclical; (2) the response of expected return (rather than expected dividend growth) accounts for the impact of monetary policy on stock price; (3) shocks to pr are priced in the cross-section, which serves as an ICAPM test of pr as an adequate proxy for the expected return.

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Presentations: 16th Paris December Finance Meeting (Best Paper Award),  2019 RCFS/RAPS Conf. at Baha Mar, Econometric Society (North America), Fall Finance Conference at UT Dallas, HKUST Finance Symposium, Northern Finance Association (NFA), Örebro Workshop on Predicting Asset Returns


with Chen Wang, Nov 19, 2018 

Abstract: Delegation bears an intrinsic form of uncertainty. Investors hire managers for their superior models of asset markets, but delegation outcome is uncertain precisely because managers' model is unknown to investors. We model investors' delegation decision as a trade-off between asset return uncertainty and delegation uncertainty. Our theory explains several puzzles on fund performances. It also delivers asset pricing implications supported by our empirical analysis: (1) because investors partially delegate and hedge against delegation uncertainty, CAPM alpha arises; (2) the cross-section dispersion of alpha increases in uncertainty; (3) managers bet on alpha, engaging in factor timing, but factors' alpha is immune to the rise of their arbitrage capital - when investors delegate more, delegation hedging becomes stronger. Finally, we offer a novel approach to extract model uncertainty from asset returns, delegation, and survey expectations.

SSRN link
Presentations:  2019 ASU Sonoran Winter Finance, CEPR ESSFM Gerzensee, Chinese University of Hong Kong, European Winter Finance Summit (EWFS), Geneva Workshop on Financial Stability, INSEAD, MFA 2019, University of Zurich


with Yi Huang, Hongzhe Shan, Dec 2018 (under data provider review)

Abstract: As transaction and data hubs, e-commerce platforms are uniquely positioned to extend credit to users and have become leading players in FinTech. This paper provides the first evidence on how platform credit shapes the e-commerce market structure. Using data from Alibaba, we estimate the effects of platform credit to e-commerce merchants on the allocation of customer attention and the sales distribution of merchants. We explore two semi-experimental settings created respectively by the platform's algorithmic lending rules and shopping holidays. We find that platform credit accelerates the selection of merchants by customers, and thus, may help the platform attract more customers. Therefore, different from traditional lenders, a platform may extend credit not only for the loan profits but also to boost online activities.

Presentations: 2018 Finance, Organizations, and Markets (FOM) Conference, AFA 2019, Bank of Canada, FDIC Annual Bank Research Conference, Fed Board, NTU, NUS, MIT Econ, OSU Fisher