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 Cluster
Macroeconomic Dynamics and Stability

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Professor Reint E. Gropp, PhD
Professor Reint E. Gropp, PhD
Mitglied - Department Präsidialbereich
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Refereed Publications


The Cleansing Effect of Banking Crises

Reint E. Gropp Steven Ongena Jörg Rocholl Vahid Saadi

in: Economic Inquiry, No. 3, 2022


We assess the cleansing effects of the 2008–2009 financial crisis. U.S. regions with higher levels of supervisory forbearance on distressed banks see less restructuring in the real sector: fewer establishments, firms, and jobs are lost when more distressed banks remain in business. In these regions, the banking sector has been less healthy for several years after the crisis. Regions with less forbearance experience higher productivity growth after the crisis with more firm entries, job creation, and employment, wages, patents, and output growth. Forbearance is greater for state-chartered banks and in regions with weaker banking competition and more independent banks.

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Public Bank Guarantees and Allocative Efficiency

Reint E. Gropp Andre Guettler Vahid Saadi

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.

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Role of the Community Reinvestment Act in Mortgage Supply and the U.S. Housing Boom

Vahid Saadi

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.

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Banks’ Funding Stress, Lending Supply, and Consumption Expenditure

H. Evren Damar Reint E. Gropp Adi Mordel

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.

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Deleveraging and Consumer Credit Supply in the Wake of the 2008–09 Financial Crisis

Reint E. Gropp J. Krainer E. Laderman

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.

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Working Papers


Banking Deregulation and Consumption of Home Durables

H. Evren Damar Ian Lange Caitlin McKennie Mirko Moro

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2022


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 1989, we link the timing of these reforms with evidence of a credit expansion and household responses on many margins. We find evidence that low-income households are more likely to purchase new appliances after the deregulation. These durable goods allowed households to consume less natural gas and spend less time in domestic activities after the reforms.

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The Adverse Effect of Contingent Convertible Bonds on Bank Stability

Melina Ludolph

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2022


This paper examines the impact of issuing contingent convertible (CoCo) bonds on bank risk. I apply a matching-based difference-in-differences approach to banklevel data for 246 publicly traded European banks and 61 CoCo issues from 2008−2018. My estimation results reveal that issuing CoCo bonds that meet the criteria for additional tier 1 (AT1) capital results in significantly higher z-scores one to three years after the issuance. Rather than having a net negative impact, issuing CoCos seems to impede a positive time trend towards greater bank stability. This study adds to the empirical literature on the risk-effect of contingent convertibles by identifying the causal effect of AT1 CoCo bonds on reported risk changes over a three-year post-treatment horizon based on a comprehensive sample of European banks. The results confirm theoretical predictions that currently outstanding CoCo bonds create incentives for excessive risk-taking.

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Corporate Loan Spreads and Economic Activity

Anthony Saunders Alessandro Spina Sascha Steffen Daniel Streitz

in: SSRN Working Paper, 2021


We use secondary corporate loan-market prices to construct a novel loan-market-based credit spread. This measure has considerable predictive power for economic activity across macroeconomic outcomes in both the U.S. and Europe and captures unique information not contained in public market credit spreads. Loan-market borrowers are compositionally different and particularly sensitive to supply-side frictions as well as financial frictions that emanate from their own balance sheets. This evidence highlights the joint role of financial intermediary and borrower balance-sheet frictions in understanding macroeconomic developments and enriches our understanding of which type of financial frictions matter for the economy.

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Supranational Rules, National Discretion: Increasing versus Inflating Regulatory Bank Capital?

Reint E. Gropp Thomas Mosk Steven Ongena Ines Simac Carlo Wix

in: Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Papers, No. 15764, 2021


We study how higher capital requirements introduced at the supranational and implemented at the national level affect the regulatory capital of banks across countries. Using the 2011 EBA capital exercise as a quasi-natural experiment, we find that affected banks inflate their levels of regulatory capital without a commensurate increase in their book equity and without a reduction in bank risk. This observed regulatory capital inflation is more pronounced in countries where credit supply is expected to tighten. Our results suggest that national authorities forbear their domestic banks to meet supranational requirements, with a focus on short-term economic considerations.

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Flight from Safety: How a Change to the Deposit Insurance Limit Affects Households‘ Portfolio Allocation

H. Evren Damar Reint E. Gropp Adi Mordel

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.

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