Heterogeneity in Macro-Finance
The interaction between the distribution of income and wealth and the dynamics of aggregate macroeconomic variables is currently poorly understood. In part this is related to the computational difficulties of developing macro models with heterogeneous agents and departing from the representative agent paradigm. Empirically, the difficulty lies in identifying causal relationships using micro data and in aggregating the micro evidence to macroeconomic outcomes. This research group aims at better understanding the links between heterogeneity of individuals and firms and macroeconomic aggregates both on an empirical and on a theoretical level. Furthermore, there is a growing interest in the distributional effects of macroeconomic development and economic policy.
Research ClusterMacroeconomic Dynamics and Stability
Public Bank Guarantees and Allocative Efficiency
in: Journal of Monetary Economics, December 2020
A natural experiment and matched bank/firm data are used to identify the effects of bank guarantees on allocative efficiency. We find that with guarantees in place unproductive firms receive larger loans, invest more, and maintain higher rates of sales and wage growth. Moreover, firms produce less productively. Firms also survive longer in banks’ portfolios and those that enter guaranteed banks’ portfolios are less profitable and productive. Finally, we observe fewer economy-wide firm exits and bankruptcy filings in the presence of guarantees. Overall, the results are consistent with the idea that guaranteed banks keep unproductive firms in business for too long.
Role of the Community Reinvestment Act in Mortgage Supply and the U.S. Housing Boom
in: Review of Financial Studies, No. 11, 2020
This paper studies the role of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in the U.S. housing boom-bust cycle. I find that enhanced CRA enforcement in 1998 increased the growth rate of mortgage lending by CRA-regulated banks to CRA-eligible census tracts. I show that during the boom period house price growth was higher in the eligible census tracts because of the shift in mortgage supply of regulated banks. Consequently, these census tracts experienced a worse housing bust. I find that CRA-induced mortgages were awarded to borrowers with lower FICO scores and were more frequently delinquent.
Banks’ Funding Stress, Lending Supply and Consumption Expenditure
in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, No. 4, 2020
We employ a unique identification strategy linking survey data on household consumption expenditure to bank‐level data to estimate the effects of bank funding stress on consumer credit and consumption expenditures. We show that households whose banks were more exposed to funding shocks report lower levels of nonmortgage liabilities. This, however, only translates into lower levels of consumption for low‐income households. Hence, adverse credit supply shocks are associated with significant heterogeneous effects.
Deleveraging and Consumer Credit Supply in the Wake of the 2008–09 Financial Crisis
in: International Journal of Central Banking, No. 3, 2019
We explore the sources of the decline in household nonmortgage debt following the collapse of the housing market in 2006. First, we use data from the Federal Reserve Board's Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey to document that, post-2006, banks tightened consumer lending standards more in counties that experienced a more pronounced house price decline (the pre-2006 "boom" counties). We then use the idea that renters did not experience an adverse wealth or collateral shock when the housing market collapsed to identify a general consumer credit supply shock. Our evidence suggests that a tightening of the supply of non-mortgage credit that was independent of the direct effects of lower housing collateral values played an important role in households' non-mortgage debt reduction. Renters decreased their non-mortgage debt more in boom counties than in non-boom counties, but homeowners did not. We argue that this wedge between renters and homeowners can only have arisen from a general tightening of banks' consumer lending stance. Using an IV approach, we trace this effect back to a reduction in bank capital of banks in boom counties.
Banking Deregulation and Household Consumption of Durables
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2020
We exploit the spatial and temporal variation of the staggered introduction of interstate banking deregulation across the U.S. to study the relationship between credit constraints and consumption of durables. Using the American Housing Survey from 1981 to 1993, we link the timing of these reforms with evidence of a credit expansion and household responses on many margins. We find robust evidence that households are more likely to purchase new appliances and invest in home renovations and modifications after the deregulation. These durable goods allowed households to consume less electricity and spend less time in domestic activities after the reforms.
Flight from Safety: How a Change to the Deposit Insurance Limit Affects Households‘ Portfolio Allocation
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2019
We study how an increase to the deposit insurance limit affects households‘ portfolio allocation by exogenously reducing uninsured deposit balances. Using unique data that identifies insured versus uninsured deposits, along with detailed information on Canadian households‘ portfolio holdings, we show that households respond by drawing down deposits and shifting towards mutual funds and stocks. These outflows amount to 2.8% of outstanding bank deposits. The empirical evidence, consistent with a standard portfolio choice model that is modified to accommodate uninsured deposits, indicates that more generous deposit insurance coverage results in nontrivial adjustments to household portfolios.
Suppliers as Liquidity Insurers
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2017
We examine how financial constraints in portfolios of suppliers affect cash holdings at the level of the customer. Utilizing a data set of private and public French companies and their suppliers, we show that customers rely on their financially unconstrained suppliers to provide them with backup liquidity, and that they stockpile approximately 10% less cash than customers with constrained suppliers. This effect persisted during the global financial crisis, highlighting that suppliers may be viable insurers of liquidity even when financing from banks and other external channels is unavailable. We further show that customers with unconstrained suppliers also simultaneously receive more trade credit; that the reduction in cash holdings is greater for firms with stronger ties to their unconstrained suppliers; and that customers reduce their cash holdings following a significant relaxation in their suppliers’ financial constraints through an IPO. Taken together, the results provide important nuance regarding the implications of supplier portfolios and financial constraints on firm liquidity management.
The Forward-looking Disclosures of Corporate Managers: Theory and Evidence
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 25, 2016
We consider an infinitely repeated game in which a privately informed, long-lived manager raises funds from short-lived investors in order to finance a project. The manager can signal project quality to investors by making a (possibly costly) forward-looking disclosure about her project’s potential for success. We find that if the manager’s disclosures are costly, she will never release forward-looking statements that do not convey information to external investors. Furthermore, managers of firms that are transparent and face significant disclosure-related costs will refrain from forward-looking disclosures. In contrast, managers of opaque and profitable firms will follow a policy of accurate disclosures. To test our findings empirically, we devise an index that captures the quantity of forward-looking disclosures in public firms’ 10-K reports, and relate it to multiple firm characteristics. For opaque firms, our index is positively correlated with a firm’s profitability and financing needs. For transparent firms, there is only a weak relation between our index and firm fundamentals. Furthermore, the overall level of forward-looking disclosures declined significantly between 2001 and 2009, possibly as a result of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Public Bank Guarantees and Allocative Efficiency
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 7, 2015
In the wake of the recent financial crisis, many governments extended public guarantees to banks. We take advantage of a natural experiment, in which long-standing public guarantees were removed for a set of German banks following a lawsuit, to identify the real effects of these guarantees on the allocation of credit (“allocative efficiency”). Using matched bank/firm data, we find that public guarantees reduce allocative efficiency. With guarantees in place, poorly performing firms invest more and maintain higher rates of sales growth. Moreover, firms produce less efficiently in the presence of public guarantees. Consistently, we show that guarantees reduce the likelihood that firms exit the market. These findings suggest that public guarantees hinder restructuring activities and prevent resources to flow to the most productive uses.