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.
Environmental Reputational Risk, Negative Media Attention and Financial Performance
in: Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments, forthcoming
Abstract Tracing negative media attention, this paper investigates the effect of reputational risk on firm value. Decomposing reputational damage into environmental, social and corporate-governance dimensions, it reports that environmental reputational risk has the most significant negative effect on price earnings, i.e., firms exposed to environmental risk are likely to be priced at a discount or charged a higher risk premium when discounting future earnings.
Credit Supply Shocks: Financing Real Growth or Takeovers?
in: Review of Corporate Finance Studies, forthcoming
How do firms invest when financial constraints are relaxed? We document that firms affected by a large positive credit supply shock predominantly increase borrowing for transaction-based purposes. These treated firms have larger asset and employment growth rates; however, growth entirely stems from the increased takeover activity. Announcement returns indicate a low quality of the credit-supply-induced takeover activity. These results offer the possibility that credit-driven growth can simply reflect redistribution, rather than net gains in assets or employment.
Financial Linkages and Sectoral Business Cycle Synchronization: Evidence from Europe
in: IMF Economic Review, forthcoming
We analyze whether financial integration leads to converging or diverging business cycles using a dynamic spatial model. Our model allows for contemporaneous spillovers of shocks to GDP growth between countries that are financially integrated and delivers a scalar measure of the spillover intensity at each point in time. For a financial network of ten European countries from 1996 to 2017, we find that the spillover effects are positive on average and much larger during periods of financial stress, pointing towards stronger business cycle synchronization. Dismantling GDP growth into value added growth of ten major industries, we observe that spillover intensities vary significantly. The findings are robust to a variety of alternative model specifications.
The Geography of Information: Evidence from the Public Debt Market
in: Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming
nWe investigate the link between the spatial concentration of firms in large, central metropolitans (i.e. urban agglomeration) and the cost of public corporate debt. Looking at bond issues over the period 1985–2014, we find that bonds issued by companies headquartered in urban agglomerates have lower at-issue yield spreads than bonds issued by firms based in remote, sparsely populated areas. Measures of the count of institutional bondholders in a firm’s vicinity confirm that the spatial cross-sectional variation in bond spreads is driven by the proximity of metropolitan firms to large concentrations of institutional investors. Our results are robust to controls for firm productivity and governance, analyst following, and exogenous shocks to institutional investor attention. The effect of headquarters location on bond spreads is especially pronounced for more difficult to value, speculative-grade bonds, bonds issued by smaller, less visible firms and bonds issued without protective covenants. Overall, we provide evidence that the geographical distribution of firms and investors generates a corresponding distribution of value-relevant, firm-level information that affects its cost of capital.
To Securitize or To Price Credit Risk?
in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming
Do lenders securitize or price loans in response to credit risk? Exploiting exogenous variation in regional credit risk due to foreclosure law differences along US state borders, we find that lenders securitize mortgages that are eligible for sale to the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) rather than price regional credit risk. For non-GSE-eligible mortgages with no GSE buyback provision, lenders increase interest rates as they are unable to shift credit risk to loan purchasers. The results inform the debate surrounding the GSEs' buyback provisions, the constant interest rate policy, and show that underpricing regional credit risk increases the GSEs' debt holdings.
Real Estate Transaction Taxes and Credit Supply
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 26, 2022
We exploit staggered real estate transaction tax (RETT) hikes across German states to identify the effect of house price changes on mortgage credit supply. Based on approximately 33 million real estate online listings, we construct a quarterly hedonic house price index (HPI) between 2008:q1 and 2017:q4, which we instrument with state-specific RETT changes to isolate the effect on mortgage credit supply by all local German banks. First, a RETT hike by one percentage point reduces HPI by 1.2%. This effect is driven by listings in rural regions. Second, a 1% contraction of HPI induced by an increase in the RETT leads to a 1.4% decline in mortgage lending. This transmission of fiscal policy to mortgage credit supply is effective across almost the entire bank capitalization distribution.
Bitcoin Flash Crash on May 19, 2021: What Did Really Happen on Binance?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 25, 2022
Bitcoin plunged by 30% on May 19, 2021. We examine the outage the largest crypto exchange Binance experienced during the crash, when it halted trading for retail clients and stopped providing transaction data. We find evidence that Binance back-filled these missing transactions with data that does not conform to Benford‘s Law. The Bitcoin futures price difference between Binance and other exchanges was seven times larger during the crash period compared to a prior reference period. Data manipulation is a plausible explanation for our findings. These actions are in line with Binance aiming to limit losses for its futures-related insurance fund.
Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Stability
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 24, 2022
We use granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development program in German history to study whether government subsidies to firms affect the quantity and quality of bank lending. We combine the universe of recipient firms under the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures program (GRW) with their local banks during 1998-2019. The modalities of GRW subsidies to firms are determined at the EU level. Therefore, we use it to identify bank outcomes. Banks with relationships to more subsidized firms exhibit higher lending volumes without any significant differences in bank stability. Subsidized firms, in turn, borrow more indicating that banks facilitate regional economic development policies.
Trading away Incentives
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 23, 2022
Equity pay has been the primary component of managerial compensation packages at US public firms since the early 1990s. Using a comprehensive sample of top executives from 1992-2020, we estimate to what extent they trade firm equity held in their portfolios to neutralize increments in ownership due to annual equity pay. Executives accommodate ownership increases linked to options awards. Conversely, increases in stock holdings linked to option exercises and restricted stock grants are largely neutralized through comparable sales of unrestricted shares. Variation in stock trading responses across executives hardly appears to respond to diversification motives. From a theoretical standpoint, these results challenge (i) the common, generally implicit assumption that managers cannot undo their incentive packages, (ii) the standard modeling practice of treating different equity pay items homogeneously, and (iii) the often taken for granted crucial role of diversification motives in managers’ portfolio choices.
The Color of Corporate Loan Securitization
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 22, 2022
We examine whether banks manage firms’ climate transition risks via corporate loan securitization. Results show that banks are more likely to securitize loans granted to firms that become more carbon-intensive. The effect is more pronounced if banks have a lower willingness to adjust loan terms. Exploiting the election of Donald Trump as an exogenous shock that lowers transition risk, we show that banks respond by a lower securitization of loans given to firms that become more carbon-intensive. This is mainly driven by banks that have no or low preferences for sustainable lending and domestic lenders.