Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Current Position

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 10/17

Assistant Professor of Economics, esp. Quantitative Macroeconomics

Leipzig University

since 1/11

Member of the Department 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 is Assistant Professor of Economics at Leipzig University since October 2017 and a member of the Department of Macroeconomics since 2011. His research focuses on quantitative macroeconomics.

Gregor von Schweinitz earned a diploma from TU Dresden, University of Strasbourg and Technical University of Munich. He received his PhD from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

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Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Mitglied - Department Macroeconomics
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Publications

Recent Publications

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Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Sovereign Bond Ratings and Their Timing

Gregor von Schweinitz Makram El-Shagi

in: Scottish Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract

Two contradictory strands of the rating literature criticize that rating agencies merely follow the market on the one hand, and emphasizing that rating changes affect capital movements on the other hand. Both focus on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. Contrarily, we explicitly differentiate between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. We show that this differentiation significantly improves the estimation of the rating function. The three major rating agencies treat economic fundamentals similarly, while differing in their response to other factors such as strategic considerations. This reconciles the conflicting literature.

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

Peter Sarlin Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Macroeconomic Dynamics, 2021

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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Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Journal of International Money and Finance, forthcoming

Abstract

In this paper, we use local projections to investigate the impact of consolidation shocks on GDP growth, conditional on the fragility of government finances. Based on a database of fiscal plans in OECD countries, we show that spending shocks are less detrimental than tax-based consolidation. In times of fiscal fragility, our results indicate strongly that governments should consolidate through surprise policy changes rather than announcements of consolidation at a later horizon.

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Refereed Publications

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Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Sovereign Bond Ratings and Their Timing

Gregor von Schweinitz Makram El-Shagi

in: Scottish Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract

Two contradictory strands of the rating literature criticize that rating agencies merely follow the market on the one hand, and emphasizing that rating changes affect capital movements on the other hand. Both focus on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. Contrarily, we explicitly differentiate between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. We show that this differentiation significantly improves the estimation of the rating function. The three major rating agencies treat economic fundamentals similarly, while differing in their response to other factors such as strategic considerations. This reconciles the conflicting literature.

read publication

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Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Journal of International Money and Finance, forthcoming

Abstract

In this paper, we use local projections to investigate the impact of consolidation shocks on GDP growth, conditional on the fragility of government finances. Based on a database of fiscal plans in OECD countries, we show that spending shocks are less detrimental than tax-based consolidation. In times of fiscal fragility, our results indicate strongly that governments should consolidate through surprise policy changes rather than announcements of consolidation at a later horizon.

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Monetary Policy through Exchange Rate Pegs: The Removal of the Swiss Franc‐Euro Floor and Stock Price Reactions

Gregor von Schweinitz Lena Tonzer Manuel Buchholz

in: International Review of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract

The Swiss National Bank abolished the exchange rate floor versus the Euro in January 2015. Using a synthetic matching framework, we analyze the impact of this unexpected (and therefore exogenous) policy change on the stock market. The results reveal a significant level shift (decline) in asset prices following the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate. As a novel finding in the literature, we document that the exchange‐rate elasticity of Swiss asset prices is around −0.75. Differentiating between sectors of the Swiss economy, we find that the industrial, financial and consumer goods sectors are most strongly affected by the abolition of the minimum exchange rate.

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Working Papers

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On the International Dissemination of Technology News Shocks

João Carlos Claudio Gregor von Schweinitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 25, 2020

Abstract

This paper investigates the propagation of technology news shocks within and across industrialised economies. We construct quarterly utilisation-adjusted total factor productivity (TFP) for thirteen OECD countries. Based on country-specific structural vector autoregressions (VARs), we document that (i) the identified technology news shocks induce a quite homogeneous response pattern of key macroeconomic variables in each country; and (ii) the identified technology news shock processes display a significant degree of correlation across several countries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that the US are only one of many different sources of technological innovations diffusing across advanced economies. Technology news propagate through the endogenous reaction of monetary policy and via trade-related variables. That is, our results imply that financial markets and trade are key channels for the dissemination of technology.

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An Evaluation of Early Warning Models for Systemic Banking Crises: Does Machine Learning Improve Predictions?

Johannes Beutel Sophia List Gregor von Schweinitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2019

Abstract

This paper compares the out-of-sample predictive performance of different early warning models for systemic banking crises using a sample of advanced economies covering the past 45 years. We compare a benchmark logit approach to several machine learning approaches recently proposed in the literature. We find that while machine learning methods often attain a very high in-sample fit, they are outperformed by the logit approach in recursive out-of-sample evaluations. This result is robust to the choice of performance measure, crisis definition, preference parameter, and sample length, as well as to using different sets of variables and data transformations. Thus, our paper suggests that further enhancements to machine learning early warning models are needed before they are able to offer a substantial value-added for predicting systemic banking crises. Conventional logit models appear to use the available information already fairly effciently, and would for instance have been able to predict the 2007/2008 financial crisis out-of-sample for many countries. In line with economic intuition, these models identify credit expansions, asset price booms and external imbalances as key predictors of systemic banking crises.

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Did the Swiss Exchange Rate Shock Shock the Market?

Manuel Buchholz Gregor von Schweinitz Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 9, 2018

Abstract

The Swiss National Bank abolished the exchange rate floor versus the Euro in January 2015. Based on a synthetic matching framework, we analyse the impact of this unexpected (and therefore exogenous) shock on the stock market. The results reveal a significant level shift (decline) in asset prices in Switzerland following the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate. While adjustments in stock market returns were most pronounced directly after the news announcement, the variance was elevated for some weeks, indicating signs of increased uncertainty and potentially negative consequences for the real economy.

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