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.
Junior Research Affiliates
Career experience, political effects, and voting behavior in the Riksbank’s Monetary Policy Committee
in: Economics Letters , 2017
We find that career experience shapes the voting behavior of the Riksbank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members. Members with a career in the Riksbank and the government prefer higher rates. During a legislation with a center-right (center-left) party administration, MPC members with a career background in the government favor higher (lower) interest rates. Highlights: • The determinants of voting behavior in the Swedish Riksbank are considered. • Voting is analyzed with random effects ordered logit models for 1999–2013. • Interplay of career experience and political factors shapes voting behavior. • Government or Riksbank background leads to higher interest rate votes. • Partisan voting behavior is detected for members with government background.
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.
How Do Insured Deposits Affect Bank Risk? Evidence from the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act
in: Journal of Financial Intermediation , 2017
This paper tests whether an increase in insured deposits causes banks to become more risky. We use variation introduced by the U.S. Emergency Economic Stabilization Act in October 2008, which increased the deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000 per depositor and bank. For some banks, the amount of insured deposits increased significantly; for others, it was a minor change. Our analysis shows that the more affected banks increase their investments in risky commercial real estate loans and become more risky relative to unaffected banks following the change. This effect is most distinct for affected banks that are low capitalized.
Bank Risk Proxies and the Crisis of 2007/09: a Comparison
in: Applied Economics Letters , No. 7, 2017
The global financial crisis has again shown that it is important to understand the emergence and measurement of risks in the banking sector. However, there is no consensus in the literature which risk proxy works best at the level of the individual bank. A commonly used measure in applied work is the Z-score, which might suffer from calculation issues given poor data quality. Motivated by the variety of bank risk proxies, our analysis reveals that nonperforming assets are a well-suited complement to the Z-score in studies of bank risk.
International Banking and Cross-Border Effects of Regulation: Lessons from Germany
in: International Journal of Central Banking , 2017
We analyze the inward and outward transmission of regulatory changes through German banks’ (international) loan portfolio. Overall, our results provide evidence for international spillovers of prudential instruments. These spillovers are, however, quite heterogeneous between types of banks and can only be observed for some instruments. For instance, domestic affiliates of foreign-owned global banks reduce their loan growth to the German economy in response to a tightening of sector-specific capital buffers, local reserve requirements, and loan-to-value ratios in their home country. Furthermore, from the point of view of foreign countries, tightening reserve requirements is effective in reducing lending inflows from German banks. Finally, we find that business and financial cycles matter for lending decisions.
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.
Suppliers as Liquidity Insurers
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 8, 2017
We examine how financial constraints in portfolios of suppliers affect cash holdings at the level of the customer. Utilizing a data set of private and public French companies and their suppliers, we show that customers rely on their financially unconstrained suppliers to provide them with backup liquidity, and that they stockpile approximately 10% less cash than customers with constrained suppliers. This effect persisted during the global financial crisis, highlighting that suppliers may be viable insurers of liquidity even when financing from banks and other external channels is unavailable. We further show that customers with unconstrained suppliers also simultaneously receive more trade credit; that the reduction in cash holdings is greater for firms with stronger ties to their unconstrained suppliers; and that customers reduce their cash holdings following a significant relaxation in their suppliers’ financial constraints through an IPO. Taken together, the results provide important nuance regarding the implications of supplier portfolios and financial constraints on firm liquidity management.
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.