Emergency Measures for Equity Trading: The Case Against Short-Selling Bans and Stock Exchange Shutdowns
Forthcoming, Christos Gortsos and Wolf-Georg Ringe (eds), Global Pandemic Crisis and Financial Stability
15 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020 Last revised: 18 May 2020
Date Written: May 11, 2020
After the COVID-19 crisis struck, equity prices abruptly plunged across the world. The clear prospect of an almost unprecedented decrease in supply and demand, coupled with extreme uncertainty about the longer-term prospects for the economy worldwide, justified the price adjustments. Yet, in conditions of plummeting prices and high volatility, policymakers around the world felt under pressure ‘to do something’ to stop the downward trend in market prices. As was the case during the financial crises of 2008-09 and 2011-12, these pressures have quickly led to the adoption of market-wide short-selling bans. In addition, both in Europe and in the US, there have been calls for an even more drastic measure: a lasting ‘stock exchange holiday’. This chapter reviews the evidence on the effects of short-selling bans during the financial crisis and discusses the merits of stock exchange holidays and concludes that neither of these measures bring benefits to financial markets.
Keywords: COVID-19 Crisis, Equity Markets, Securities Regulation, Short-selling bans, Stock Exchanges
JEL Classification: G18, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation