Ali Uppal

Ali Uppal

PhD Candidate in Economics

University of California San Diego


I am a fifth-year PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of California San Diego. I will join Imperial College Business School as an Assistant Professor of Finance in September 2024.

My research interests are in macroeconomics and monetary economics. I am especially interested in financial crises and the associated macroeconomic stabilisation policies.


  • Macroeconomics
  • Monetary Economics
  • Banking and Finance


  • PhD in Economics, 2024 (Expected)

    University of California San Diego

  • MA in International and Development Economics, 2016

    Yale University

  • BSc in Economics, 2012

    London School of Economics

Working Papers

Do Higher Interest Rates Make The Banking System Safer? Evidence From Bank Leverage

A vast theoretical literature claims that increasing interest rates reduces bank leverage, therefore making banks safer. The empirical validity of this claim is critical to improving our understanding of the transmission of monetary policy through banks in addition to informing the ongoing debate on whether monetary policy should be used to support financial stability. I show empirically that raising interest rates actually increases bank leverage. I propose and empirically validate a mechanism that explains the overall increase in bank leverage in response to monetary policy shocks which I term the loan-loss mechanism: contractionary shocks increase loan losses, reduce bank profits and equity, and ultimately increase bank leverage. I document why much of the theoretical literature is unable to explain the leverage response and develop a banking model where floating-rate loans entail a trade-off between interest rate risk and credit risk, which generates the loan-loss mechanism. Using microdata, I provide empirical evidence consistent with floating-rate loans hedging interest rate risk at the expense of generating loan losses.

- Young Economist Prize (Runner-Up)
- Southern Economic Association Graduate Student Prize
- Rady School of Management Libby Award
- Walter Heller Memorial Prize (Best 3rd Year Paper)

External Seminars and Conferences:
- Southern Economic Association Annual Conference (2023)
- Federal Reserve Board Monetary Affairs Seminar (2023)
- King’s College London QCGBF Annual Conference (2023)
- Midwest Macroeconomic Conference (2023)
- London Business School TADC (accepted)

Do central bank cycles drive stock returns? New evidence from the US, UK, and Japan

Cieslak et al. (2019) show that the equity premium in the US since 1994 is earned entirely in even weeks of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting cycle and that these same even weeks also drive international stock returns. Updating their data, I find that their US result does not hold out-of-sample and show that with an extended sample, the result loses its robustness as early as 2004. As further evidence, I show that their proposed mechanism also does not hold from 2004 onwards. Examining the data prior to 2004, I show that there are important outliers that appear to be driving the result. Finally, I construct central bank cycles for the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan and show, when accounting for potential pre-announcement effects, their international result also no longer holds.


Topics in Macroeconomics, UC San Diego

Teaching Assistant: 2023

Stabilization Economics, UC San Diego

Teaching Assistant: 2022

Intermediate Macroeconomics, UC San Diego

Teaching Assistant: 2020, 2021, 2022

Introduction to Microeconomics, UC San Diego

Teaching Assistant: 2021

Financial Stability Economics, Yale University

Guest Lecturer: 2016