25 Years IWH

Real and Financial Innovation

This research group belongs to the IWH Research Cluster Productivity and Innovation. This research project contributes to the scientific literature in three main ways. First, it provides new ways to identify shocks to the financial sector in financial systems and analyses how these shocks affect intermediaries with regard to risk taking (stability), efficiency (productivity) and the market structure in banking markets in general. Second, the identified external shocks are central to measure effects that financial intermediaries have on the real sector of financial systems. Because financial intermediaries play a special role in financial systems and are subject to many regulations, it is very important to understand how, e.g., risk taking incentives or different competition structures in banking markets affect real sector outcome like sales, GDP growth or employment. Third, the group focuses on the effects of foreign banks in financial systems and specifically how shocks to these banks (e.g., via their holding companies during the recent financial crisis) affect activities (e.g., lending) in the host countries.

Research Cluster
Productivity and Innovation

Your contact

Professor Dr Felix Noth
Professor Dr Felix Noth
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
Send Message +49 345 7753-702


01.2015 ‐ 12.2017

Interactions between Bank-specific Risk and Macroeconomic Performance

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Professor Dr Felix Noth

Refereed Publications


The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries

Hans Degryse Thomas Lambert Armin Schwienbacher

in: The Economic Journal , forthcoming


Voting rights were initially limited to wealthy elites providing political support for stock markets. The franchise expansion induces the median voter to provide political support for banking development, as this new electorate has lower financial holdings and benefits less from the riskiness and financial returns from stock markets. Our panel data evidence covering the years 1830–1999 shows that tighter restrictions on the voting franchise induce greater stock market development, whereas a broader voting franchise is more conducive to the banking sector, consistent with Perotti and von Thadden (2006). The results are robust to controlling for other institutional arrangements and endogeneity.

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Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Financial Performance: The Mediating Role of Productivity

Iftekhar Hasan Nada Kobeissi Liuling Liu Haizhi Wang

in: Journal of Business Ethics , forthcoming


This study treats firm productivity as an accumulation of productive intangibles and posits that stakeholder engagement associated with better corporate social performance helps develop such intangibles. We hypothesize that because shareholders factor improved productive efficiency into stock price, productivity mediates the relationship between corporate social and financial performance. Furthermore, we argue that key stakeholders’ social considerations are more valuable for firms with higher levels of discretionary cash and income stream uncertainty. Therefore, we hypothesize that those two contingencies moderate the mediated process of corporate social performance with financial performance. Our analysis, based on a comprehensive longitudinal dataset of the U.S. manufacturing firms from 1992 to 2009, lends strong support for these hypotheses. In short, this paper uncovers a productivity-based, context-dependent mechanism underlying the relationship between corporate social performance and financial performance.

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What Type of Finance Matters for Growth? Bayesian Model Averaging Evidence

Iftekhar Hasan Roman Horvath Jan Mares

in: The World Bank Economic Review , forthcoming


We examine the effect of finance on long-term economic growth using Bayesian model averaging to address model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions. The literature largely focuses on financial indicators that assess the financial depth of banks and stock markets. We examine these indicators jointly with newly developed indicators that assess the stability and efficiency of financial markets. Once we subject the finance-growth regressions to model uncertainty, our results suggest that commonly used indicators of financial development are not robustly related to long-term growth. However, the findings from our global sample indicate that one newly developed indicator—the efficiency of financial intermediaries—is robustly related to long-term growth.

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Bank Financing, Institutions and Regional Entrepreneurial Activities: Evidence from China

Iftekhar Hasan Nada Kobeissi Haizhi Wang Mingming Zhou

in: International Review of Economics & Finance , 2017


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.

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Structural Reforms in Banking: The Role of Trading

Jan Pieter Krahnen Felix Noth U. Schuewer

in: Journal of Financial Regulation , No. 1, 2017


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.

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Working Papers


Flooded Through the Back Door: Firm-level Effects of Banks‘ Lending Shifts

Oliver Rehbein

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 4, 2018


I show that natural disasters transmit to firms in non-disaster areas via their banks. This spillover of non-financial shocks through the banking system is stronger for banks with less regulatory capital. Firms connected to a disaster-exposed bank with below median capital reduce their employment by 11% and their fixed assets by 20% compared to firms in the same region without such a bank during the 2013 flooding in Germany. Relationship banking and higher firm capital also mitigate the effects of such negative cross-regional spillovers.

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Predicting Earnings and Cash Flows: The Information Content of Losses and Tax Loss Carryforwards

Sandra Dreher Sebastian Eichfelder Felix Noth

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 30, 2017


We analyse the relevance of losses, accounting information on tax loss carryforwards, and deferred taxes for the prediction of earnings and cash flows up to four years ahead. We use a unique hand-collected panel of German listed firms encompassing detailed information on tax loss carryforwards and deferred taxes from the tax footnote. Our out-of-sample predictions show that considering accounting information on tax loss carryforwards and deferred taxes does not enhance the accuracy of performance forecasts and can even worsen performance predictions. We find that common forecasting approaches that treat positive and negative performances equally or that use a dummy variable for negative performance can lead to biased performance forecasts, and we provide a simple empirical specification to account for that issue.

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Badly Hurt? Natural Disasters and Direct Firm Effects

Felix Noth Oliver Rehbein

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 25, 2017


We investigate firm outcomes after a major flood in Germany in 2013. We robustly find that firms located in the disaster regions have significantly higher turnover, lower leverage, and higher cash in the period after 2013. We provide evidence that the effects stem from firms that already experienced a similar major disaster in 2002. Overall, our results document a positive net effect on firm performance in the direct aftermath of a natural disaster.

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Suppliers as Liquidity Insurers

Reint E. Gropp Daniel Corsten Panos Markou

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.

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Banking Globalization, Local Lending, and Labor Market Effects: Micro-level Evidence from Brazil

Felix Noth Matias Ossandon Busch

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 7, 2017


This paper estimates the effect of a foreign funding shock to banks in Brazil after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Our robust results show that bank-specific shocks to Brazilian parent banks negatively affected lending by their individual branches and trigger real economic consequences in Brazilian municipalities: More affected regions face restrictions in aggregated credit and show weaker labor market performance in the aftermath which documents the transmission mechanism of the global financial crisis to local labor markets in emerging countries. The results represent relevant information for regulators concerned with the real effects of cross-border liquidity shocks.

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