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.
Firm-specific Forecast Errors and Asymmetric Investment Propensity
in: Economic Inquiry, forthcoming
This paper analyzes how firm-specific forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011 relate to firms' investment propensity. Our findings reveal that asymmetries arise depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines if the realized situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust investment if the realized situation is better than expected suggesting that the uncertainty component of the forecast error counteracts good surprises of unexpectedly favorable business conditions. This asymmetric mechanism can be one explanation behind slow recovery following crises.
Agency Cost of CEO Perquisites in Bank Loan Contracts
in: Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, forthcoming
This study investigates the association between CEO perquisites and bank loan spreads. We collect detailed data on CEO perquisites from the proxy statements of S&P 500 firms between 1993 and 2015 to study this issue. The empirical evidence supports the agency cost view that the lending banks demand significantly higher returns (spread), more collateral, and stricter covenants from firms with higher CEO perquisites. We further confirm that the effect of these perquisites remains after we control for various corporate governance and agency cost factors. We conclude that banks consider CEO perquisites as a type of agency cost when they make lending decisions.
Social Capital, Trusting, and Trustworthiness: Evidence from Peer-to-Peer Lending
in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming
How does social capital affect trust? Evidence from a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform shows regional social capital affects the trustee’s trustworthiness and the trustor’s trust propensity. Ceteris paribus, borrowers from higher social capital regions receive larger bid from individual lenders, have higher funding success, larger loan size, and lower default rates, especially for low-quality borrowers. Lenders from higher social capital regions take higher risks and have higher default rates, especially for inexperienced lenders. Cross-regional transactions are most (least) likely to be realized between parties from high (low) social capital regions.
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.
A Note of Caution on Quantifying Banks' Recapitalization Effects
in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, forthcoming
Unconventional monetary policy measures like asset purchase programs aim to reduce certain securities' yield and alter financial institutions' investment behavior. These measures increase the institutions' market value of securities and add to their equity positions. We show that the extent of this recapitalization effect crucially depends on the securities' accounting and valuation methods, country-level regulation, and maturity structure. We argue that future research needs to consider these factors when quantifying banks' recapitalization effects and consequent changes in banks' lending decisions to the real sector.
Capital Requirements, Market Structure, and Heterogeneous Banks
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 15, 2022
Bank regulators interfere with the efficient allocation of resources for the sake of financial stability. Based on this trade-off, I compare how different capital requirements affect default probabilities and the allocation of market shares across heterogeneous banks. In the model, banks‘ productivity determines their optimal strategy in oligopolistic markets. Higher productivity gives banks higher profit margins that lower their default risk. Hence, capital requirements indirectly aiming at high-productivity banks are less effective. They also bear a distortionary cost: Because incumbents increase interest rates, new entrants with low productivity are attracted and thus average productivity in the banking market decreases.
Explaining Regional Disparities in Housing Prices Across German Districts
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2022
Over the last decade, German housing prices have increased unprecedentedly. Drawing on quality-adjusted housing price data at the district level, we document large and increasing regional disparities: Growth rates were higher in 1) the largest seven cities, 2) districts located in the south, and 3) districts with higher initial price levels. Indications of price bubbles are concentrated in the largest cities and in the purchasing market. Prices seem to be driven by the demand side: Increasing population density, higher shares of academically educated employees and increasing purchasing power explain our findings, while supply remained relatively constrained in the short term.
The Impact of Financial Transaction Taxes on Stock Markets: Short-run Effects, Long-run Effects, and Reallocation of Trading Activity
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 12, 2022
We investigate the impact of the French 2012 financial transaction tax on trading activity, volatility, and price efficiency measured by first-order autocorrelation. We extend empirical research by analysing anticipation and reallocation effects. In addition, we consider measures for long-run volatility and first-order autocorrelation that have not been explored yet. We find robust evidence for anticipation effects before the effective date of the French FTT. Controlling for short-run effects, we only find weak evidence for a long-run reduction of trading activity due to the French FTT. Thus, the main impact of the French FTT on trading activity is short-run. We find stronger reactions of low-liquidity treated stocks and a reallocation of trading activity to high-liquidity stocks participating in the Supplemental Liquidity Provider Programme, which is both in line with liquidity clientele effects. Finally, we find weak evidence for a persistent volatility reduction but no indication for a significant FTT impact on price efficiency measured by first-order autocorrelation.
Stress-ridden Finance and Growth Losses: Does Financial Development Break the Link?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2022
Does financial development shield countries from the pass-through of financial shocks to real outcomes? We evaluate this question by characterising the probability density of expected GDP growth conditional on financial stability indicators in a panel of 28 countries. Our robust results unveil a non-linear nexus between financial stability and expected GDP growth, depending on countries’ degree of financial development. While both domestic and global financial factors affect expected growth, the effect of global factors is moderated by financial development. This result highlights a previously unexplored channel trough which financial development can break the link between financial (in)stability and GDP growth.
Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Risk
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2022
We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks’ distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capitalised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies required to green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer Programmes.