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


Macroeconomic Factors and Microlevel Bank Behavior

Claudia M. Buch S. Eickmeier Esteban Prieto

in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, No. 4, 2014


We analyze the link between banks and the macroeconomy using a model that extends a macroeconomic VAR for the U.S. with a set of factors summarizing conditions in about 1,500 commercial banks. We investigate how macroeconomic shocks are transmitted to individual banks and obtain the following main findings. Backward-looking risk of a representative bank declines, and bank lending increases following expansionary shocks. Forward-looking risk increases following an expansionary monetary policy shock. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity in the transmission of macroeconomic shocks, which is due to bank size, capitalization, liquidity, risk, and the exposure to real estate and consumer loans.

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Devaluation Expectations Based on Cross-listed Stocks: Evidence for Financial Crises in Argentina Then and Now

Stefan Eichler

in: Applied Economics Letters, No. 10, 2014


I use the relative prices of American Depositary Receipts and their underlying stocks to derive devaluation expectations. I find that stockholders currently perceive an overvalued peso. Devaluation expectations are driven by the incentive of competitive devaluation and sovereign default risk.

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Regional House Price Dynamics and Voting Behavior in the FOMC

Stefan Eichler Tom Lähner

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.

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In Search for Yield? Survey-based Evidence on Bank Risk Taking

Claudia M. Buch S. Eickmeier Esteban Prieto

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’.

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Sovereign Default Risk and Decentralization: Evidence for Emerging Markets

Stefan Eichler M. Hofmann

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.

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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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