Research in this department centres on institutional changes in Europe’s financial markets. The department analyses the causes and consequences of banks’ international expansions, the link between market structures in banking and aggregate (financial) stability, contagion effects on international financial markets and the role of the financial system for the real economy.
The interdependence of the financial services sector with innovation and productivity in the real economy are of particular interest. Methodologically, research focuses on empirical methods that support analyses of feedback from the micro to the macro level and that allow for causal evaluations of regulatory interventions into financial systems.
Too connected to fail? Inferring network ties from price co-movements
in: Journal of Business & Economic Statistics , forthcoming
We use extreme value theory methods to infer conventionally unobservable connections between financial institutions from joint extreme movements in credit default swap spreads and equity returns. Estimated pairwise co-crash probabilities identify significant connections among up to 186 financial institutions prior to the crisis of 2007/2008. Financial institutions that were very central prior to the crisis were more likely to be bailed out during the crisis or receive the status of systemically important institutions. This result remains intact also after controlling for indicators of too-big-to-fail concerns, systemic, systematic, and idiosyncratic risks. Both CDS-based and Equity-based connections are significant predictors of bailouts.
Regional, individual and political determinants of FOMC members' key macroeconomic forecasts
in: Journal of Forecasting , forthcoming
We study Federal Open Market Committee members' individual forecasts of inflation and unemployment in the period 1992–2004. Our results imply that Governors and Bank presidents forecast differently, with Governors submitting lower inflation and higher unemployment rate forecasts than bank presidents. For Bank presidents we find a regional bias, with higher district unemployment rates being associated with lower inflation and higher unemployment rate forecasts. Bank presidents' regional bias is more pronounced during the year prior to their elections or for nonvoting bank presidents. Career backgrounds or political affiliations also affect individual forecast behavior.
Bank Financing, Institutions and Regional Entrepreneurial Activities: Evidence from China
in: International Review of Economics & Finance , forthcoming
We investigate the effects of bank financing on regional entrepreneurial activities in China. We present contrasting findings on the role of quantity vs. quality of bank financing on small business formation in China: while we document a consistent, significantly positive relationship between the quality of bank financing and new venture formation, we find that the quantity of supplied credit is insignificant. We report that formal institutions are positively correlated to regional entrepreneurial activities, and informal institutions substitute formal institutions. Our findings also reveal that the institutional environment tends to supplement bank financing in promoting regional entrepreneurial activities.
Does Social Capital Matter in Corporate Decisions? Evidence from Corporate Tax Avoidance
in: Journal of Accounting Research , forthcoming
We investigate whether the levels of social capital in U.S. counties, as captured by strength of civic norms and density of social networks in the counties, are systematically related to tax avoidance activities of corporations with headquarters located in the counties. We find strong negative associations between social capital and corporate tax avoidance, as captured by effective tax rates and book-tax differences. These results are incremental to the effects of local religiosity and firm culture toward socially irresponsible activities. They are robust to using organ donation as an alternative social capital proxy and fixed effect regressions. They extend to aggressive tax avoidance practices. Additionally, we provide corroborating evidence using firms with headquarters relocation that changes the exposure to social capital. We conclude that social capital surrounding corporate headquarters provides environmental influences constraining corporate tax avoidance.
Structural Reforms in Banking: The Role of Trading
in: Journal of Financial Regulation , forthcoming
In the wake of the recent financial crisis, significant regulatory actions have been taken aimed at limiting risks emanating from banks’ trading activities. The goal of this article is to look at the alternative reforms in the US, the UK and the EU, specifically with respect to the role of proprietary trading. Our conclusions can be summarized as follows: First, the focus on a prohibition of proprietary trading, as reflected in the Volcker Rule in the US and in the current proposal of the European Commission (Barnier proposal), is inadequate. It does not necessarily reduce risk-taking and it is likely to crowd out desired trading activities, thereby possibly affecting financial stability negatively. Second, trading separation into legally distinct or ring-fenced entities within the existing banking organizations, as suggested under the Vickers proposal for the UK and the Liikanen proposal for the EU, is a more effective solution. Separation limits cross-subsidies between banking and proprietary trading and diminishes contagion risk, while still allowing for synergies and risk management across banking, non-proprietary trading, and proprietary trading.
Do Conventional Monetary Policy Instruments Matter in Unconventional Times?
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 12, 2017
This paper investigates how declines in the deposit facility rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB) affect bank behavior. The ECB aims to reduce banks’ incentives to hold reserves at the central bank and thus to encourage loan supply. However, given depressed margins in a low interest environment, banks might reallocate their liquidity toward more profitable liquid assets other than traditional loans. Our analysis is based on a sample of euro area banks for the period from 2009 to 2014. Three key findings arise. First, banks reduce their reserve holdings following declines in the deposit facility rate. Second, this effect is heterogeneous across banks depending on their business model. Banks with a more interest-sensitive business model are more responsive to changes in the deposit facility rate. Third, there is evidence of a reallocation of liquidity toward loans but not toward other liquid assets. This result is most pronounced for non-GIIPS countries of the euro area.
International Banking Conglomerates and the Transmission of Lending Shocks Across Borders
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 19, 2017
We investigate how solvency and wholesale funding shocks to 84 OECD parent banks affect the lending of 375 foreign subsidiaries. We find that parent solvency shocks are more important than wholesale funding shocks for subsidiary lending. Furthermore, we find that parent undercapitalisation does not affect the transmission of shocks, while wholesale shocks transmit to foreign subsidiaries of parents that rely primarily on wholesale funding. We also find that transmission is affected by the strategic role of the subsidiary for the parent and follows a locational, rather than an organizational pecking order. Surprisingly, liquidity regulation exacerbates the transmission of adverse wholesale shocks. We further document that parent banks tend to use their own capital and liquidity buffers first, before transmitting. Finally, we show that solvency shocks have higher impact on large subsidiary banks with low growth opportunities in mature markets.
Social Centralisation, Bank Integration and the Transmission of Lending Shocks
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 18, 2017
We introduce an innovative approach to measure bank integration, based on the corporate culture of multinational banking conglomerates. The new measure, the Power Index, assesses the prevalence of a language of power and authority in the financial reports of global banks. We employ a two-step approach: As a first step, we investigate whether parent-bank or parent-country characteristics are more important for bank integration. In a second step, we analyse whether bank integration affects the transmission of shocks across borders. We find that the level of integration of global banks is determined by parent-bank-specific factors as well as by the social centralisation in the parent’s country: Ethnically diverse and linguistically homogenous countries nurture decentralised corporate structures. Political and economic factors, such as corruption, political rights and economic development also affect bank integration. Furthermore, we find that organisational integration affects the transmission of exogenous shocks from parent banks to their subsidiaries: The more centralised a global bank is, the lower the lending of its subsidiaries after a solvency shock. Wholesale shocks do not appear to be transmitted through this channel. Also, past experience with solvency shocks reduces the integration between parents and subsidiaries.
Do We Want These Two to Tango? On Zombie Firms and Stressed Banks in Europe
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 13, 2017
We show that the speed and type of corporate deleveraging depends on the interaction between corporate and financial sector health. Based on granular bank-firm data pertaining to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from five stressed and two non-stressed euro area economies, we show that “zombie” firms generally continued to lever up during the 2010–2014 period. Whereas relationships with stressed banks reduce SME leverage on average, we also show that zombie firms that are tied to weak banks in euro area periphery countries increase their indebtedness even further. Sustainable economic recovery therefore requires both: deleveraging of banks and firms.
The Premium of Government Debt: Disentangling Safety and Liquidity
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 11, 2017
The persistent premium of government debt attributes to two main reasons: absolute nominal safety and liquidity. This paper employs two types of measures of government debt supply to disentangle the safety and liquidity part of the premium. The empirical evidence shows that, after controlling for the opportunity cost of money, the quantitative impact of total government debt-to-GDP ratio is still significant and negative, which is consistent with the theoretical predictions of the CAPM with utility surplus of holding convenience assets. The relative availability measure, the ratio of total government liability to all sector total liability, separates the liquidity premium from the safety premium and has a negative impact too. Both theoretical and empirical results suggest that the substitutability between government debt and private safe assets dictates the quantitative impact of the government debt supply.