Inefficiency and predictability in the Brexit Pound market: a natural experiment
The European Journal of Finance, DOI: 10.1080/1351847X.2020.1805781, pp. 1-21 (2020)
22 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017 Last revised: 24 Aug 2020
Date Written: January 8, 2019
Exploiting the near-experimental conditions provided by the GBPUSD exchange rate during the Brexit vote of 2016, we quantify a significant delay of the market price in reflecting the increasing probability of a Brexit outcome over the vote counting period. We claim that the Brexit outcome could realistically have been predicted hours before the market adjusted to the outcome. This inefficiency is identified by comparing the market-implied probability of a Brexit outcome with a separate probability, estimated by a standard Monte-Carlo algorithm based on a simple linear regression model, representative of what should have been easily possible in real time. The core of the method is the real-time re-calibration of ex-ante ‘pollster’ predictions for the voting district outcomes by regressing the observed voting results onto them. For comparative purposes, a study of the MXNUSD exchange rate in the 2016 US Presidential Election was done, finding that the market-implied and model-estimated probabilities moved more consistently toward the Trump outcome. Put together, this identifies a somewhat anomalous breakdown in market efficiency in the case of the Brexit vote, which we attribute to its novelty as well as a kind of political bubble and subsequent crash, generated by confirmation bias and social herding.
Keywords: Prediction, natural experiment, market failure, efficient market hypothesis
JEL Classification: C53, D72, G17, C51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation