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.
Hidden Gems and Borrowers with Dirty Little Secrets: Investment in Soft Information, Borrower Self-selection and Competition
in: Journal of Banking & Finance , forthcoming
This paper empirically examines the role of soft information in the competitive interaction between relationship and transaction banks. Soft information can be interpreted as a valuable signal about the quality of a firm that is observable to a relationship bank, but not to a transaction bank. We show that borrowers self-select to relationship banks depending on whether their observed soft information is positive or negative. Competition affects the investment in learning the soft information from firms by relationship banks and transaction banks asymmetrically. Relationship banks invest more; transaction banks invest less in soft information, exacerbating the selection effect.
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.
Drivers of systemic risk: Do national and European perspectives differ?
in: Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Papers , No. 9, 2017
In Europe, the financial stability mandate generally rests at the national level. But there is an important exception. Since the establishment of the Banking Union in 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) can impose stricter regulations than the national regulator. The precondition is that the ECB identifies systemic risks which are not adequately addressed by the macroprudential regulator at the national level. In this paper, we ask whether the drivers of systemic risk differ when applying a national versus a European perspective. We use market data for 80 listed euro-area banks to measure each bank’s contribution to systemic risk (SRISK) at the national and the euro-area level. Our research delivers three main findings. First, on average, systemic risk increased during the financial crisis. The difference between systemic risk at the national and the euro-area level is not very large, but there is considerable heterogeneity across countries and banks. Second, an exploration of the drivers of systemic risk shows that a bank’s contribution to systemic risk is positively related to its size and profitability. It decreases in a bank’s share of loans to total assets. Third, the qualitative determinants of systemic risk are similar at the national and euro-area level, whereas the quantitative importance of some determinants differs.
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.
Pricing Sin Stocks: Ethical Preference vs. Risk Aversion
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 20, 2017
We develop a model that reproduces the return and volatility spread between sin and non-sin stocks, where investors trade off dividends with the ethical assessment of companies. We relax the assumption of boycott behaviour and investigate the role played by the dividend share of sin stocks on their return and volatility spread relative to non-sin stocks. We empirically show that the dividend share predicts a positive return and volatility spread. This pattern is reproduced by our model when dividends and ethicalness are complementary goods and investors are sufficiently risk averse.
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.