25 Years IWH

Professor Dr Makram El-Shagi

Professor Dr Makram El-Shagi
Current Position

since 1/15

Research Professor

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

since 2014

Professor for Macroeconomics, Monetary Policy

Henan University, School of Economics, China

Research Interests

  • financial market stability and instability: regulation and consequences on the real economy
  • exchange rate policy and monetary policy

His research focuses on monetary macroeconomics, international macroeconomics, and econometrics.

On this website, publications resulting from cooperation with the IWH are listed. A complete list of publications is available on the author's website.

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Professor Dr Makram El-Shagi
Professor Dr Makram El-Shagi
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Publications

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An Evolutionary Algorithm for the Estimation of Threshold Vector Error Correction Models

Makram El-Shagi

in: International Economics and Economic Policy , No. 4, 2011

Abstract

We develop an evolutionary algorithm to estimate Threshold Vector Error Correction models (TVECM) with more than two cointegrated variables. Since disregarding a threshold in cointegration models renders standard approaches to the estimation of the cointegration vectors inefficient, TVECM necessitate a simultaneous estimation of the cointegration vector(s) and the threshold. As far as two cointegrated variables are considered, this is commonly achieved by a grid search. However, grid search quickly becomes computationally unfeasible if more than two variables are cointegrated. Therefore, the likelihood function has to be maximized using heuristic approaches. Depending on the precise problem structure the evolutionary approach developed in the present paper for this purpose saves 90 to 99 per cent of the computation time of a grid search.

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Capital Controls and International Interest Rate Differentials

Makram El-Shagi

in: Applied Economics , 2010

Abstract

Since the Asian crises it is often taken as granted that capital markets have significant functional deficits. Often these deficits are believed to be so very strong that the ability of free capital markets to guarantee a more or less correct international allocation of capital is denied. It is argued that speculation dominates capital markets so much that capital allocation is purely random. This is one of the major arguments backing the present trend to re-establish capital controls, which emerged after the capital market distortions observed during the Asian flu. In the present article it is shown that capital markets, while certainly prone to many distortions, are well capable of roughly guiding capital to the proper place. Though allocation is not model-like perfect, this steals the thunder from the idea, that closed or government-guided capital markets were able to perform better.

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Did the Crisis Affect Potential Output?

Makram El-Shagi

in: Applied Economics Letters , No. 8, 2011

Abstract

Conventional Phillips-curve models that are used to estimate the output gap detect a substantial decline in potential output due to the present crisis. Using a multivariate state space model, we show that this result does not hold if the long run role of excess liquidity (that we estimate endogeneously) for inflation is taken into account.

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Working Papers

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Macroeconomic Trade Effects of Vehicle Currencies: Evidence from 19th Century China

Makram El-Shagi

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 23, 2016

Abstract

We use the Chinese experience between 1867 and 1910 to illustrate how the volatility of vehicle currencies affects trade. Today’s widespread vehicle currency is the dollar. However, the macroeconomic effects of this use of the dollar have rarely been addressed. This is partly due to identification problems caused by its international importance. China had adopted a system, where silver was used almost exclusively for trade, similar to a vehicle currency. While being important for China, the global role of silver was marginal, alleviating said identification problems. We develop a bias corrected structural VAR showing that silver price fluctuations significantly affected trade.

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Much Ado About Nothing: Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields in the OECD

Makram El-Shagi

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 22, 2016

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a new method to assess the impact of sovereign ratings on sovereign bond yields. We estimate the impulse response of the interest rate, following a change in the rating. Since ratings are ordinal and moreover extremely persistent, it proves difficult to estimate those impulse response functions using a VAR modeling ratings, yields and other macroeconomic indicators. However, given the highly stochastic nature of the precise timing of ratings, we can treat most rating adjustments as shocks. We thus no longer rely on a VAR for shock identification, making the estimation of the corresponding IRFs well suited for so called local projections – that is estimating impulse response functions through a series of separate direct forecasts over different horizons. Yet, the rare occurrence of ratings makes impulse response functions estimated through that procedure highly sensitive to individual observations, resulting in implausibly volatile impulse responses. We propose an augmentation to restrict jointly estimated local projections in a way that produces economically plausible impulse response functions.

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Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Rational Inattention of Rating Agencies

Gregor von Schweinitz Makram El-Shagi

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 1, 2017

Abstract

Sovereign ratings have frequently failed to predict crises. However, the literature has focused on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. We fill this gap by explicitly differentiating between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. Thereby, we account for rational inattention of rating agencies that exists due to costs of reassessment. Exploiting information of rating announcements, we show that (i) the proposed differentiation significantly improves estimation; (ii) rating agencies consider many nonfundamental factors in their reassessment decision; (iii) markets only react to ratings providing new information; (iv) developed countries get preferential treatment.

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