Financial Market Structure and Financial Stability

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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01.2017 ‐ 12.2020

The Role of Idiosyncratic and Systemic Bank Risks during the Euro Crisis


Professor Dr Stefan Eichler

Refereed Publications


The Real Impact of Ratings-based Capital Rules on the Finance-Growth Nexus

Iftekhar Hasan Gazi Hassan Suk-Joong Kim Eliza Wu

in: International Review of Financial Analysis, January 2021


We investigate whether ratings-based capital regulation has affected the finance-growth nexus via a foreign credit channel. Using quarterly data on short to medium term real GDP growth and cross-border bank lending flows from G-10 countries to 67 recipient countries, we find that since the implementation of Basel 2 capital rules, risk weight reductions mapped to sovereign credit rating upgrades have stimulated short-term economic growth in investment grade recipients but hampered growth in non-investment grade recipients. The impact of these rating upgrades is strongest in the first year and then reverses from the third year and onwards. On the other hand, there is a consistent and lasting negative impact of risk weight increases due to rating downgrades across all recipient countries. The adverse effects of ratings-based capital regulation on foreign bank credit supply and economic growth are compounded in countries with more corruption and less competitive banking sectors and are attenuated with greater political stability.

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Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area

Stefan Eichler Hannes Böhm

in: Journal of Financial Stability, No. 100763, December 2020


While the sovereign-bank loop literature has demonstrated the amplification between sovereign and bank risks in the Euro Area, its econometric identification is vulnerable to reverse causality and omitted variable biases. We address the loop's endogenous nature and isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel by exploiting the global, non-Eurozone related variation in banks’ stock prices. We instrument banking sector stock returns in the Eurozone with exposure-weighted stock market returns from non-Eurozone countries and take further precautions to remove Eurozone-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress to sovereign distress is around 50% smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on endogeneity. Despite the smaller relative magnitude, increasing instrumented bank distress is found to be an economically and statistically significant cause for rising sovereign fragility in the Eurozone.

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Are Bank Capital Requirements Optimally Set? Evidence from Researchers’ Views

Gene Ambrocio Iftekhar Hasan Esa Jokivuolle Kim Ristolainen

in: Journal of Financial Stability, October 2020


We survey 149 leading academic researchers on bank capital regulation. The median (average) respondent prefers a 10% (15%) minimum non-risk-weighted equity-to-assets ratio, which is considerably higher than the current requirement. North Americans prefer a significantly higher equity-to-assets ratio than Europeans. We find substantial support for the new forms of regulation introduced in Basel III, such as liquidity requirements. Views are most dispersed regarding the use of hybrid assets and bail-inable debt in capital regulation. 70% of experts would support an additional market-based capital requirement. When investigating factors driving capital requirement preferences, we find that the typical expert believes a five percentage points increase in capital requirements would “probably decrease” both the likelihood and social cost of a crisis with “minimal to no change” to loan volumes and economic activity. The best predictor of capital requirement preference is how strongly an expert believes that higher capital requirements would increase the cost of bank lending.

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The Economic Record of the Government and Sovereign Bond and Stock Returns Around National Elections

Stefan Eichler Timo Plaga

in: Journal of Banking and Finance, No. 105832, September 2020


This paper investigates the role of the fiscal and economic record of the incumbent government in shaping the price response of sovereign bonds and stocks to the election outcome in emerging markets and developed countries. For sovereign bonds in emerging markets, we find robust evidence for higher cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) if a government associated with a relatively low primary fiscal balance is voted out of office compared to elections where the fiscal balance was relatively high. This effect of the incumbent government's fiscal record is significantly more pronounced in the presence of high sovereign default risk and strong political veto players, whereas the quality of institutions does not explain differences in effects for different events. We do not find robust effects of the government's fiscal record for developed countries and stocks.

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Banks’ Equity Performance and the Term Structure of Interest Rates

Elyas Elyasiani Iftekhar Hasan Elena Kalotychou Panos K. Pouliasis Sotiris Staikouras

in: Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments, No. 2, 2020


Using an extensive global sample, this paper investigates the impact of the term structure of interest rates on bank equity returns. Decomposing the yield curve to its three constituents (level, slope and curvature), the paper evaluates the time-varying sensitivity of the bank’s equity returns to these constituents by using a diagonal dynamic conditional correlation multivariate GARCH framework. Evidence reveals that the empirical proxies for the three factors explain the variations in equity returns above and beyond the market-wide effect. More specifically, shocks to the long-term (level) and short-term (slope) factors have a statistically significant impact on equity returns, while those on the medium-term (curvature) factor are less clear-cut. Bank size plays an important role in the sense that exposures are higher for SIFIs and large banks compared to medium and small banks. Moreover, banks exhibit greater sensitivities to all risk factors during the crisis and postcrisis periods compared to the pre-crisis period; though these sensitivities do not differ for market-oriented and bank-oriented financial systems.

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Working Papers


Physical Climate Change Risks and the Sovereign Creditworthiness of Emerging Economies

Hannes Böhm

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2020


I show that rising temperatures can detrimentally affect the sovereign creditworthiness of emerging economies. To this end, I collect long-term monthly temperature data of 54 emerging countries. I calculate a country’s temperature deviation from its historical average, which approximates present day climate change trends. Running regressions from 1994m1-2018m12, I find that higher temperature anomalies lower sovereign bond performances (i.e. increase sovereign risk) significantly for countries that are warmer on average and have lower seasonality. The estimated magnitudes suggest that affected countries likely face significant increases in their sovereign borrowing costs if temperatures continue to rise due to climate change. However, results indicate that stronger institutions can make a country more resilient towards temperature shocks, which holds independent of a country’s climate.

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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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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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