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 ClusterFinancial Stability and Regulation
01.2017 ‐ 12.2020
The Role of Idiosyncratic and Systemic Bank Risks during the Euro Crisis
Regional House Price Dynamics and Voting Behavior in the FOMC
in: Economic Inquiry, No. 2, 2014
This paper examines the impact of house price gaps in Federal Reserve districts on the voting behavior in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) from 1978 to 2010. Applying a random effects ordered probit model, we find that a higher regional house price gap significantly increases (decreases) the probability that this district's representative in the FOMC casts interest rate votes in favor of tighter (easier) monetary policy. In addition, our results suggest that Bank presidents react more sensitively to regional house price developments than Board members do.
In Search for Yield? Survey-based Evidence on Bank Risk Taking
in: Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, No. 43, 2014
Monetary policy can have an impact on economic and financial stability through the risk taking of banks. Falling interest rates might induce investment into risky activities. This paper provides evidence on the link between monetary policy and bank risk taking. We use a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) for the US for the period 1997–2008. Besides standard macroeconomic indicators, we include factors summarizing information provided in the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Terms of Business Lending (STBL). These data provide information on banks׳ new loans as well as interest rates for different loan risk categories and different banking groups. We identify a risk-taking channel of monetary policy by distinguishing responses to monetary policy shocks across different types of banks and different loan risk categories. Following an expansionary monetary policy shock, small domestic banks increase their exposure to risk. Large domestic banks do not change their risk exposure. Foreign banks take on more risk only in the mid-2000s, when interest rates were ‘too low for too long’.
Sovereign Default Risk and Decentralization: Evidence for Emerging Markets
in: European Journal of Political Economy, No. 32, 2013
We study the impact of decentralization on sovereign default risk. Theory predicts that decentralization deteriorates fiscal discipline since subnational governments undertax/overspend, anticipating that, in the case of overindebtedness, the federal government will bail them out. We analyze whether investors account for this common pool problem by attaching higher sovereign yield spreads to more decentralized countries. Using panel data on up to 30 emerging markets in the period 1993–2008 we confirm this hypothesis. Higher levels of fiscal and political decentralization increase sovereign default risk. Moreover, higher levels of intergovernmental transfers and a larger number of veto players aggravate the common pool problem.
Equity Home Bias and Corporate Disclosure
in: Journal of International Money and Finance, No. 5, 2012
I show that more comprehensive corporate disclosure reduces investors’ uncertainty about domestic companies’ payoffs at no cost, thereby decreasing investors’ equity home bias toward a country. Since investors should base their investment decisions on valid and easily interpretable company information only, more comprehensive disclosure will reduce the home bias only if domestic securities law is sufficiently stratified and domestic companies use international accounting standards. Using panel data for 38 countries from 2003 to 2008 I find that more comprehensive disclosure reduces investors’ home bias, though significantly only for countries that sufficiently enforce their securities law and implement international accounting standards.
What Drives Banking Sector Fragility in the Eurozone? Evidence from Stock Market Data
in: Journal of Common Market Studies, No. 4, 2012
This article explores the determinants of banking sector fragility in the eurozone. For this purpose, a stock-market-based banking sector fragility indicator is calculated for eight member countries from 1999 to 2009 using the Merton model (1974). Using a panel framework, it is found that the macroeconomic environment, the structure of the banking sector and the intensity of banking regulation all have an effect on banking sector fragility in the eurozone.
What Drives the Commodity-Sovereign-Risk-Dependence in Emerging Market Economies?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 23, 2019
Using daily data for 34 emerging markets in the period 1994-2016, we find robust evidence that higher export commodity prices are associated with higher sovereign bond returns (indicating lower sovereign risk). The economic effect is especially pronounced for heavy commodity exporters. Examining the drivers, we find, first, that commodity-dependence is higher for countries that export large volumes of volatile commodities and that the effect increases in times of recessions, high inflation, and expansionary U.S. monetary policy. Second, the importance of raw material prices for sovereign financing can likely be mitigated if a country improves institutions and tax systems, attracts FDI inflows, invests in manufacturing, machinery and infrastructure, builds up reserve assets and opens capital and trade accounts. Third, the concentration of commodities within a country’s portfolio, its government indebtedness or amount of received development assistance appear to be only of secondary importance for commodity-dependence.
Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area and its Drivers
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2018
We isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel within the eurozone’s sovereign-bank-loop by exploiting the global, non-eurozone related variation in 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 any eurozone crisis-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress, while economically relevant, is significantly smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on reverse causality and omitted variables in previous studies. Furthermore, we show that the spillover of bank distress is significantly stronger for countries with poorer macroeconomic performances, weaker financial sectors and financial regulation and during times of elevated political uncertainty.
Channeling the Iron Ore Super-cycle: The Role of Regional Bank Branch Networks in Emerging Markets
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.
Time-varying Volatility, Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policy
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.
A Market-based Indicator of Currency Risk: Evidence from American Depositary Receipts
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.