Real and Financial Innovation
This research group contributes to the scientific literature in three main ways. First, it provides new ways to identify shocks to the financial sector in financial systems and analyses how these shocks affect intermediaries with regard to risk taking (stability), efficiency (productivity) and the market structure in banking markets in general. Second, the identified external shocks are central to measure effects that financial intermediaries have on the real sector of financial systems. Because financial intermediaries play a special role in financial systems and are subject to many regulations, it is very important to understand how, e.g., risk taking incentives or different competition structures in banking markets affect real sector outcome like sales, GDP growth or employment. Third, the group focuses on the effects of foreign banks in financial systems and specifically how shocks to these banks (e.g., via their holding companies during the recent financial crisis) affect activities (e.g., lending) in the host countries.
Research ClusterProductivity and Innovation
07.2016 ‐ 12.2018
Relationship Lenders and Unorthodox Monetary Policy: Investment, Employment, and Resource Reallocation Effects
We combine a number of unique and proprietary data sources to measure the impact of relationship lenders and unconventional monetary policy during and after the European sovereign debt crisis on the real economy. Establishing systematic links between different research data centers (Forschungsdatenzentren, FDZ) and central banks with detailed micro-level information on both financial and real activity is the stand-alone proposition of our proposal. The main objective is to permit the identification of causal effects, or their absence, regarding which policies were conducive to mitigate financial shocks and stimulate real economic activities, such as employment, investment, or the closure of plants.
01.2015 ‐ 12.2019
Interactions between Bank-specific Risk and Macroeconomic Performance
German Research Foundation (DFG)
Democracy and Credit
in: Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming
Does democratization reduce the cost of credit? Using global syndicated loan data from 1984 to 2014, we find that democratization has a sizable negative effect on loan spreads: a 1-point increase in the zero-to-ten Polity IV index of democracy shaves at least 19 basis points off spreads, but likely more. Reversals to autocracy hike spreads more strongly. Our findings are robust to the comprehensive inclusion of relevant controls, to the instrumentation with regional waves of democratization, and to a battery of other sensitivity tests. We thus highlight the lower cost of loans as one relevant mechanism through which democratization can affect economic development.
Borrowers Under Water! Rare Disasters, Regional Banks, and Recovery Lending
in: Journal of Financial Intermediation, forthcoming
We show that local banks provide corporate recovery lending to firms affected by adverse regional macro shocks. Banks that reside in counties unaffected by the natural disaster that we specify as macro shock increase lending to firms inside affected counties by 3%. Firms domiciled in flooded counties, in turn, increase corporate borrowing by 16% if they are connected to banks in unaffected counties. We find no indication that recovery lending entails excessive risk-taking or rent-seeking. However, within the group of shock-exposed banks, those without access to geographically more diversified interbank markets exhibit more credit risk and less equity capital.
Badly Hurt? Natural Disasters and Direct Firm Effects
in: Finance Research Letters, forthcoming
We investigate firm outcomes after a major flood in Germany in 2013. We robustly find that firms located in the disaster regions have significantly higher turnover, lower leverage, and higher cash in the period after 2013. We provide evidence that the effects stem from firms that already experienced a similar major disaster in 2002. Overall, our results document a positive net effect on firm performance in the direct aftermath of a natural disaster.
Enforcement of Banking Regulation and the Cost of Borrowing
in: Journal of Banking & Finance, 2019
We show that borrowing firms benefit substantially from important enforcement actions issued on U.S. banks for safety and soundness reasons. Using hand-collected data on such actions from the main three U.S. regulators and syndicated loan deals over the years 1997–2014, we find that enforcement actions decrease the total cost of borrowing by approximately 22 basis points (or $4.6 million interest for the average loan). We attribute our finding to a competition-reputation effect that works over and above the lower risk of punished banks post-enforcement and survives in a number of sensitivity tests. We also find that this effect persists for approximately four years post-enforcement.
How Do Banks React to Catastrophic Events? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina
in: Review of Finance, No. 1, 2019
This paper explores how banks react to an exogenous shock caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and how the structure of the banking system affects economic development following the shock. Independent banks based in the disaster areas increase their risk-based capital ratios after the hurricane, while those that are part of a bank holding company on average do not. The effect on independent banks mainly comes from the subgroup of highly capitalized banks. These independent and highly capitalized banks increase their holdings in government securities and reduce their total loan exposures to non-financial firms, while also increasing new lending to these firms. With regard to local economic development, affected counties with a relatively large share of independent banks and relatively high average bank capital ratios show higher economic growth than other affected counties following the catastrophic event.
Monetary Policy under the Microscope: Intra-bank Transmission of Asset Purchase Programs of the ECB
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 9, 2015
With a unique loan portfolio maintained by a top-20 universal bank in Germany, this study tests whether unconventional monetary policy by the European Central Bank (ECB) reduced corporate borrowing costs. We decompose corporate lending rates into refinancing costs, as determined by money markets, and markups that the bank is able to charge its customers in regional markets. This decomposition reveals how banks transmit monetary policy within their organizations. To identify policy effects on loan rate components, we exploit the co-existence of eurozone-wide security purchase programs and regional fiscal policies at the district level. ECB purchase programs reduced refinancing costs significantly, even in an economy not specifically targeted for sovereign debt stress relief, but not loan rates themselves. However, asset purchases mitigated those loan price hikes due to additional credit demand stimulated by regional tax policy and enabled the bank to realize larger economic margins.
Corporate Governance Structures and Financial Constraints in Multinational Enterprises – An Analysis in Selected European Transition Economies on the Basis of the IWH FDI Micro Database 2013 –
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2015
In our analysis, we consider the distribution of decision power over financing and investment between MNEs’ headquarters and foreign subsidiaries and its influence on the foreign affiliates’ financial restrictions. Our research results show that headquarters of multinational enterprises have not (yet) moved much decision power to their foreign subsidiaries at all. We use data from the IWH FDI Micro Database which contains information on corporate governance structures and financial restrictions of 609 enterprises with a foreign investor in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and East Germany. We match data from Bureau van Dijk’s AMADEUS database on financial characteristics. We find that a high concentration of decision power within the MNE’s headquarter implicates high financial restrictions within the subsidiary. Square term results show, however, that the effect of financial constraints within the subsidiary decreases and finally turns insignificant when decision power moves from headquarter to subsidiary. Thus, economic policy should encourage foreign investors in the case of foreign acquisition of local enterprises to leave decision power within the enterprise and in the case of Greenfield investment to provide the newly established subsidiaries with as much power over corporate governance structures as possible.