Welcome! I am an associate professor of economics at the University of Bergen, Norway, and an associate member of the Bergen Center for Competition Law and Economics (BECCLE).

My research focuses on economic themes across Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, Capital Markets, Corporate Finance, and Industrial Organization using big data and cutting-edge computational techniques like natural language processing. Most of my analyses are conducted using R, Python, and SQL. Additionally, I teach a final-year undergraduate course on Financial Technology, ITØK 264: Financial Technology.

I earned my PhD in applied economics from Ghent University, Belgium, in 2017, and spent two years as a Barclays research fellow in finance at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

Please find my CV here or contact me at anantha.divakaruni@uib.no.

Mailing address:

Room 314, Institutt for Økonomi,
University of Bergen,
Postboks 7802
5020 BERGEN Norway


  1. Uncovering Retail Trading in Bitcoin: The Impact of COVID-19 Stimulus Checks
    Abstract In April 2020, the US government sent economic impact payments (EIPs) directly to households, as part of its measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We characterize these stimulus checks as a wealth shock for households and examine their effect on retail trading in Bitcoin. We find a significant increase in Bitcoin buy trades for the modal EIP amount of $1,200. The rise in Bitcoin trading is highest among individuals without families and at exchanges catering to nonprofessional investors. We estimate that the EIP program has a significant but modest effect on the US dollar–Bitcoin trading pair, increasing trade volume by about 3.8 percent. Trades associated with the EIPs result in a slight rise in the price of Bitcoin of 7 basis points. Nonetheless, the increase in trading is small compared to the size of the stimulus check program, representing only 0.02 percent of all EIP dollars. We repeat our analysis for other countries with similar stimulus programs and find an increase in Bitcoin buy trades in these currencies. Our findings highlight how wealth shocks affect retail trading.

      with Peter Zimmerman
    Management Science
      Latest version: November 2022. First version: July 2021.
      [SSRN] [Cleveland Fed WP] [Published version]
    Media Coverage: [Bloomberg] [Atlantic] [Motley Fool] [CoinDesk] [Coin Bureau]

  2. The Lightning Network: Turning Bitcoin into Money
    Abstract The Lightning Network (LN) is a means of netting Bitcoin payments outside the blockchain. We find a significant association between LN adoption and reduced blockchain congestion, suggesting that the LN has helped improve the efficiency of Bitcoin as a means of payment. This improvement cannot be explained by other factors, such as changes in demand or the adoption of SegWit. We find mixed evidence on whether increased centralisation in the Lightning Network has improved its efficiency. Our findings have implications for the future of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment and their environmental footprint.

      with Peter Zimmerman
    Finance Research Letters, vol.52, no.103480, 2022
      Latest version: June 2022. First version: January 2020.
      [SSRN] [Cleveland Fed WP] [Published version]
    Media Coverage: [Bitcoin Magazine] [CoinGeek]

  3. Lending When Relationships Are Scarce: The Role of Information Spread via Bank Networks
    Abstract We investigate how information flows within bank networks facilitate syndicate formation and lending in the leveraged buyout (LBO) market, where relationships between banks and borrowers are scarce and borrower opacity is high. Using novel measures that characterize a bank's ability to source and disseminate information within its loan syndication network, we show that the extent of this capability influences which banks join the syndicate, the share the lead bank holds, and LBO borrowing terms. Banks' ability to source and disseminate network-based information is particularly useful when ties to prospective borrowers are lacking, with the information flows extending beyond knowledge on PE firms and LBO targets.

      with Yan Alperovych and Sophie Manigart
    Journal of Corporate Finance, vol.73, no.102181, 2022
      Latest version: March 2022. First version: October 2020.
      [SSRN] [Published version]


  1. Market Reactions to Gendered Speech Patterns: Uptalk, Earnings Calls, and the #MeToo Movement
    Abstract We analyze how gender-based sociolinguistic perceptions influence the credibility of corporate executives. Using audio recordings, we focus on uptalk (rising intonation) occurrence among executives during earnings calls. Uptalk by female, but not male, executives predicts lower earnings and prompts analysts to issue lower recommendations and earnings forecasts, although these do not fully reflect the signal. Bid-ask spreads widen when female executives speak and use uptalk. These findings suggest that uptalk is a female-typed characteristic signaling uncertainty. The #MeToo movement did not alter signaling value or market response of female uptalk, but led to more male uptalk eliciting favorable market responses.

      with Alan Morrison, Laura Fritsch and Howard Jones
      First version: July 2023.

  2. Fintech Lending Under Austerity
    Abstract We document public welfare spending as an important growth driver of FinTech lending. Examining the massive austerity-led cuts to local welfare spending initiated by the UK government in 2010, we show that the gradual uneven rollback of the local welfare state since then is strongly associated with a rise in demand for peer-to-peer (P2P) consumer loans among affected areas, primarily in areas facing more banking and digital exclusion. P2P loans issued in austerity-affected areas are more expensive compared to those issued in unaffected areas, consistent with the P2P platform's risk pricing sensitivity to higher default rates in affected areas. Overall, our findings show that P2P lending, as an alternative means to household finance, can help smooth cuts in welfare transfers particularly among households in economically deprived areas.

      with Yan Alperovych and François Le Grand
      Latest version: August 2022. First version: July 2022.

  3. How does Mandatory Disclosure affect Firm Growth? Evidence from Firms that Lose their JOBS Exemptions - R & R
    Abstract U.S. firms which go public under the JOBS Act benefit from disclosure exemptions, but on average these last for only two years. We study the impact on the investments and growth opportunities of these firms when they move to mandatory disclosure. After losing their exemptions, firms raise less equity relative to debt and invest less in physical assets, innovation, and acquisitions. At the same time, they exhibit better allocation of equity to investments, better utilization of existing assets, and improvements in Tobin’s q. These findings suggest that disclosure-exempt firms prioritise investment, but those subject to stricter disclosure requirements make more efficient investment decisions.

      with Howard Jones
      Latest version: August 2022. First version: July 2022.


  1. Input Technology and Airline Pricing
      with Paula Navarro

  2. Gender Bias in Equity Analysts’ Response to Female CEOs: Insights from Voice Data
      with Aharon Cohen Mohliver and Laura Fritsch

  3. Ex Ante Price Discovery during IPO Bookbuilding
      with Howard Jones, and Emmanuel Pezier