25 Years IWH

Financial Market Structure and Financial Stability

This research group belongs to the IWH Research Cluster Financial Stability and Regulation. This research group focuses on the role of financial market structures for financial stability. The recent financial crisis has revealed several new financial vulnerabilities that call for adequate regulatory responses. Sovereign solvency and bank default risk need to be made less interdependent by revising incentive structures propagating the transmission of these financial risks. Adequate regulatory treatment is needed for sovereign bond holdings of banks. The role of central bank transparency for international bank investment and financial stability needs to be understood. In a first workpackage, the impact of banking sector instability on sovereign default risk will be considered. The second workpackage analyses the performance of sovereign bond portfolio management of individual banks – by assessing both ex ante optimality of portfolio diversification as well as ex post risk adjusted returns. A third workpackage focuses on the role of central bank transparency for default risk and portfolio holdings of banks. Two aspects of central bank transparency will be considered: Transparency about monetary policy and transparency about macroprudential regulation.

Research Cluster
Financial Stability and Regulation

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Professor Dr Stefan Eichler
Professor Dr Stefan Eichler
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
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Refereed Publications


Regional Banking Instability and FOMC Voting

Stefan Eichler Tom Lähner Felix Noth

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, 2018


This study analyzes if regionally affiliated Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members take their districts’ regional banking sector instability into account when they vote. Considering the period 1979–2010, we find that a deterioration in a district's bank health increases the probability that this district's representative in the FOMC votes to ease interest rates. According to member-specific characteristics, the effect of regional banking sector instability on FOMC voting behavior is most pronounced for Bank presidents (as opposed to Governors) and FOMC members who have career backgrounds in the financial industry or who represent a district with a large banking sector.

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Regional, Individual and Political Determinants of FOMC Members' Key Macroeconomic Forecasts

Stefan Eichler Tom Lähner

in: Journal of Forecasting, No. 1, 2018


We study Federal Open Market Committee members' individual forecasts of inflation and unemployment in the period 1992–2004. Our results imply that Governors and Bank presidents forecast differently, with Governors submitting lower inflation and higher unemployment rate forecasts than bank presidents. For Bank presidents we find a regional bias, with higher district unemployment rates being associated with lower inflation and higher unemployment rate forecasts. Bank presidents' regional bias is more pronounced during the year prior to their elections or for nonvoting bank presidents. Career backgrounds or political affiliations also affect individual forecast behavior.

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How Do Political Factors Shape the Bank Risk-Sovereign Risk Nexus in Emerging Markets?

Stefan Eichler

in: Review of Development Economics, No. 3, 2017


This paper studies the role of political factors for determining the impact of banking sector distress on sovereign bond yield spreads for a sample of 19 emerging market economies in the period 1994–2013. Using interaction models, I find that the adverse impact of banking sector distress on sovereign solvency is less pronounced for countries with a high degree of political stability, a high level of power sharing within the government coalition, a low level of political constraint within the political system, and for countries run by powerful and effective governments. The electoral cycle pronounces the bank risk–sovereign risk transfer.

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Career Experience, Political Effects, and Voting Behavior in the Riksbank’s Monetary Policy Committee

Stefan Eichler Tom Lähner

in: Economics Letters, June 2017


We find that career experience shapes the voting behavior of the Riksbank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members. Members with a career in the Riksbank and the government prefer higher rates. During a legislation with a center-right (center-left) party administration, MPC members with a career background in the government favor higher (lower) interest rates. Highlights: • The determinants of voting behavior in the Swedish Riksbank are considered. • Voting is analyzed with random effects ordered logit models for 1999–2013. • Interplay of career experience and political factors shapes voting behavior. • Government or Riksbank background leads to higher interest rate votes. • Partisan voting behavior is detected for members with government background.

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National Politics and Bank Default Risk in the Eurozone

Stefan Eichler Karol Sobanski

in: Journal of Financial Stability, October 2016


We study the impact of national politics on default risk of eurozone banks as measured by the stock market-based Distance to Default. We find that national electoral cycles, the power of the government as well as the government’s party ideological alignment significantly affect the stability of banks in the eurozone member countries. Moreover, we show that the impact of national politics on bank default risk is more pronounced for large as well as weakly capitalized banks.

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Working Papers


Channeling the Iron Ore Super-cycle: The Role of Regional Bank Branch Networks in Emerging Markets

Helge Littke

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2018


The role of the financial system to absorb and to intermediate commodity boom induced windfall gains efficiently presents one of the most pressing issues for developing economies. Using an exogenous increase in iron ore prices in March 2005, I analyse the role of regional bank branch networks in Brazil in reallocating capital from affected to non-affected regions. For the period from March 2004 to March 2006, I find that branches directly exposed to this shock by their geographical location experience an increase in deposit growth in the post-shock period relative to non-affected branches. Given that these deposits are not reinvested locally, I further show that branches located in the non-affected region increase lending growth depending on their indirect exposure to the booming regions via their branch network. Even tough, these results provide evidence against a Dutch Disease type crowding out of the non-iron ore sector, further evidence suggests that this capital reallocation is far from being optimal.

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Central Bank Transparency and the Volatility of Exchange Rates

Stefan Eichler Helge Littke

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 22, 2017


We analyze the effect of monetary policy transparency on bilateral exchange rate volatility. We test the theoretical predictions of a stylized model using panel data for 62 currencies from 1998 to 2010. We find strong empirical evidence that an increase in the availability of information about monetary policy objectives decreases exchange rate volatility. Using interaction models, we find that this effect is more pronounced for countries with a lower flexibility of goods prices, a lower level of central bank conservatism, and a higher interest rate sensitivity of money demand.

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Time-varying Volatility, Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policy

S. Eickmeier N. Metiu Esteban Prieto

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2016


We document that expansionary monetary policy shocks are less effective at stimulating output and investment in periods of high volatility compared to periods of low volatility, using a regime-switching vector autoregression. Exogenous policy changes are identified by adapting an external instruments approach to the non-linear model. The lower effectiveness of monetary policy can be linked to weaker responses of credit costs, suggesting a financial accelerator mechanism that is weaker in high volatility periods.

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A Market-based Indicator of Currency Risk: Evidence from American Depositary Receipts

Stefan Eichler Ingmar Roevekamp

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2016


We introduce a novel currency risk measure based on American Depositary Receipts(ADRs). Using a multifactor pricing model, we exploit ADR investors’ exposure to potential devaluation losses to derive an indicator of currency risk. Using weekly data for a sample of 831 ADRs located in 23 emerging markets over the 1994-2014 period, we find that a deterioration in the fiscal and current account balance, as well as higher inflation, increases currency risk. Interaction models reveal that these macroeconomic fundamentals drive currency risk, particularly in countries with managed exchange rates, low levels of foreign exchange reserves and a poor sovereign credit rating.

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Macroeconomic Factors and Micro-Level Bank Risk

Claudia M. Buch

in: Bundesbank Discussion Paper 20/2010, 2010


The interplay between banks and the macroeconomy is of key importance for financial and economic stability. We analyze this link using a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) which extends a standard VAR for the U.S. macroeconomy. The model includes GDP growth, inflation, the Federal Funds rate, house price inflation, and a set of factors summarizing conditions in the banking sector. We use data of more than 1,500 commercial banks from the U.S. call reports to address the following questions. How are macroeconomic shocks transmitted to bank risk and other banking variables? What are the sources of bank heterogeneity, and what explains differences in individual banks’ responses to macroeconomic shocks? Our paper has two main findings: (i) Average bank risk declines, and average bank lending increases following expansionary shocks. (ii) The heterogeneity of banks is characterized by idiosyncratic shocks and the asymmetric transmission of common shocks. Risk of about 1/3 of all banks rises in response to a monetary loosening. The lending response of small, illiquid, and domestic banks is relatively large, and risk of banks with a low degree of capitalization and a high exposure to real estate loans decreases relatively strongly after expansionary monetary policy shocks. Also, lending of larger banks increases less while risk of riskier and domestic banks reacts more in response to house price shocks.

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