25 Years IWH

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Current Position

since 10/17

Assistant Professor for Economics, esp. Quantitative Macroeconomics

University Leipzig

since 5/14

Head of the Research Group Volatility, Growth and Financial Crisis

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

since 7/13

Programme Manager of the IWH Doctoral Programme in Economics (IWH-DPE)

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

since 1/11

Economist in the Department of Macroeconomics

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

Research Interests

  • dynamic macroeconomics
  • European and international economic policy: in particular financial crises
  • risk modelling and analysis

Gregor von Schweinitz coordinates the research group "Volatility, Growth and Financial Crisis" since mid 2014 and is the programme manager of the IWH Doctoral Programme in Economics (IWH-DPE). Since October 2017, he is also an Assistant Professor for quantitative macroeconomics at the University of Leipzig. He has been working as an economist in the Department of Macroeconomics since 2011.

Gregor von Schweinitz studied business mathematics in Dresden, Strasbourg and Munich. He finished his thesis on the genesis of the European debt crisis in 2013.

Your contact

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Mitglied - Department Macroeconomics
Send Message +49 345 7753-744

Publications

Recent Publications

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7. IWH/INFER-Workshop on Applied Economics and Economic Policy: “Challenges and Implications of Inflationary Dynamics“

Birgit Schultz Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel , No. 4, 2017

Abstract

Am 7. und 8. September 2017 fand am IWH in Zusammenarbeit mit dem International Network for Economic Research (INFER) und unter Förderung der Stadt Halle (Saale) der 7. Workshop in der Reihe „Applied Economics and Economic Policy“ statt. Im Rahmen des Workshops stellten Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler europäischer Universitäten und internationaler Organisationen ihre neuesten Forschungsergebnisse zu aktuellen ökonomischen Fragen und Problemen vor und diskutierten diese intensiv. Insbesondere gab es einen regen Austausch über das Spezialthema „Challenges and Implications of Inflationary Dynamics“. Hier ging es vor allem um die Entwicklungen von Inflationserwartungen sowie mögliche Gründe und Folgen dieser Entwicklungen.

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22. Spring Meeting of Young Economists in Halle (Saale) – ein Tagungsbericht

Andrej Drygalla Helge Littke Gregor von Schweinitz Aida Ćumurović Geraldine Dany Chi Hyun Kim Juliane Müller

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel , No. 2, 2017

Abstract

Das Spring Meeting of Young Economists (SMYE) – eine große Konferenz von jungen Wirtschaftswissenschaftlern für junge Wirtschaftswissenschaftler – wird jedes Jahr im Auftrag der European Association of Young Economists (EAYE) in einer anderen europäischen Stadt durchgeführt. Vom 23. bis 25. März 2017 wurde das 22. SMYE vom Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH) und der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) ausgerichtet und von sieben PostDocs und PhD-Studenten dieser Institutionen organisiert.

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Optimizing Policymakers' Loss Functions in Crisis Prediction: Before, Within or After?

Peter Sarlin Gregor von Schweinitz

in: ECB Working Paper Series , No. 2025, 2017

Abstract

Early-warning models most commonly optimize signaling thresholds on crisis probabilities. The expost threshold optimization is based upon a loss function accounting for preferences between forecast errors, but comes with two crucial drawbacks: unstable thresholds in recursive estimations and an in-sample overfit at the expense of out-of-sample performance. We propose two alternatives for threshold setting: (i) including preferences in the estimation itself and (ii) setting thresholds ex-ante according to preferences only. Given probabilistic model output, it is intuitive that a decision rule is independent of the data or model specification, as thresholds on probabilities represent a willingness to issue a false alarm vis-à-vis missing a crisis. We provide simulated and real-world evidence that this simplification results in stable thresholds and improves out-of-sample performance. Our solution is not restricted to binary-choice models, but directly transferable to the signaling approach and all probabilistic early-warning models.

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Refereed Publications

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Qual VAR Revisited: Good Forecast, Bad Story

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Journal of Applied Economics , No. 2, 2016

Abstract

Due to the recent financial crisis, the interest in econometric models that allow to incorporate binary variables (such as the occurrence of a crisis) experienced a huge surge. This paper evaluates the performance of the Qual VAR, originally proposed by Dueker (2005). The Qual VAR is a VAR model including a latent variable that governs the behavior of an observable binary variable. While we find that the Qual VAR performs reasonable well in forecasting (outperforming a probit benchmark), there are substantial identification problems even in a simple VAR specification. Typically, identification in economic applications is far more difficult than in our simple benchmark. Therefore, when the economic interpretation of the dynamic behavior of the latent variable and the chain of causality matter, use of the Qual VAR is inadvisable.

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The Diablo 3 Economy: An Agent Based Approach

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Computational Economics , No. 2, 2016

Abstract

Designers of MMOs such as Diablo 3 face economic problems much like policy makers in the real world, e.g. inflation and distributional issues. Solving economic problems through regular updates (patches) became as important to those games as traditional gameplay issues. In this paper we provide an agent framework inspired by the economic features of Diablo 3 and analyze the effect of monetary policy in the game. Our model reproduces a number of features known from the Diablo 3 economy such as a heterogeneous price development, driven almost exclusively by goods of high quality, a highly unequal wealth distribution and strongly decreasing economic mobility. The basic framework presented in this paper is meant as a stepping stone to further research, where our evidence is used to deepen our understanding of the real-world counterparts of such problems. The advantage of our model is that it combines simplicity that is inherent to model economies with a similarly simple observable counterpart (namely the game environment where real agents interact). By matching the dynamics of the game economy we can thus easily verify that our behavioral assumptions are good approximations to reality.

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Real Effective Exchange Rate Misalignment in the Euro Area: A Counterfactual Analysis

Makram El-Shagi Axel Lindner Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Review of International Economics , No. 1, 2016

Abstract

The European debt crisis has revealed severe imbalances within the Euro area, sparking a debate about the magnitude of those imbalances, in particular concerning real effective exchange rate misalignments. We use synthetic matching to construct a counterfactual economy for each member state in order to identify the degree of these misalignments. We find that crisis countries are best described as a combination of advanced and emerging economies. Comparing the actual real effective exchange rate with those of the counterfactuals gives evidence of misalignments before the outbreak of the crisis: all peripheral countries appear strongly and significantly overvalued.

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Working Papers

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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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Optimizing Policymakers' Loss Functions in Crisis Prediction: Before, Within or After?

P. Sarlin Gregor von Schweinitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 6, 2015

Abstract

Early-warning models most commonly optimize signaling thresholds on crisis probabilities. The ex-post threshold optimization is based upon a loss function accounting for preferences between forecast errors, but comes with two crucial drawbacks: unstable thresholds in recursive estimations and an in-sample overfit at the expense of out-of-sample performance. We propose two alternatives for threshold setting: (i) including preferences in the estimation itself and (ii) setting thresholds ex-ante according to preferences only. We provide simulated and real-world evidence that this simplification results in stable thresholds and improves out-of-sample performance. Our solution is not restricted to binary-choice models, but directly transferable to the signaling approach and all probabilistic early-warning models.

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The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 4, 2015

Abstract

In the present paper, we build a bivariate semiparametric dynamic panel model to repro-duce the joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields. While the individual equations resemble Pesaran-type cointegration models, we allow for different long-run relationships in both equations, nonlinearities in the level effect of ratings, and asymmetric effects in changes of ratings and yields. We find that the interest rate equation and the rating equation imply significantly different long-run relationships. While the high persistence in both interest rates and ratings might lead to the misconception that they follow a unit root process, the joint analysis reveals that they converge slowly to a joint equilibrium. While this indicates that there is no vicious cycle driving countries into default, the persistence of ratings is high enough that a rating shock can have substantial costs. Generally, the interest rate adjusts rather quickly to the risk premium that is in line with the rating. For most ratings, this risk premium is only marginal. However, it becomes substantial when ratings are downgraded to highly speculative (a rating of B) or lower. Rating shocks that drive the rating below this threshold can increase the interest rate sharply, and for a long time. Yet, simulation studies based on our estimations show that it is highly improbable that rating agencies can be made responsible for the most dramatic spikes in interest rates.

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