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 Cluster
Productivity and Innovation

Your contact

Professor Dr Felix Noth
Professor Dr Felix Noth
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
Send Message +49 345 7753-702


07.2016 ‐ 12.2018

Relationship Lenders and Unorthodox Monetary Policy: Investment, Employment, and Resource Reallocation Effects

Leibniz Association

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.

Professor Michael Koetter, PhD
Professor Dr Steffen Müller

01.2015 ‐ 12.2019

Interactions between Bank-specific Risk and Macroeconomic Performance

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Professor Dr Felix Noth

Refereed Publications


Enhancing Market Power by Reducing Switching Costs

Jan Bouckaert Hans Degryse Thomas Provoost

in: Economics Letters, No. 3, 2012


A proportional decrease in switching costs increases competition and social welfare. However, a lump-sum decrease in switching costs softens competition and does not invariably increase social welfare.

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Rules versus Discretion in Loan Rate Setting

Geraldo Cerqueiro Hans Degryse Steven Ongena

in: Journal of Financial Intermediation, No. 4, 2011


Loan rates for seemingly identical borrowers often exhibit substantial dispersion. This paper investigates the determinants of the dispersion in interest rates on loans granted by banks to small and medium sized enterprises. We associate this dispersion with the loan officers’ use of “discretion” in the loan rate setting process. We find that “discretion” is most important if: (i) loans are small and unsecured; (ii) firms are small and opaque; (iii) the firm operates in a large and highly concentrated banking market; and (iv) the firm is distantly located from the lender. Consistent with the proliferation of information-technologies in the banking industry, we find a decreasing role for “discretion” over time in the provision of small credits to opaque firms. While widely used in the pricing of loans, “discretion” plays only a minor role in the decisions to grant loans.

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Staying, Dropping, or Switching: The Impacts of Bank Mergers on Small Firms

Hans Degryse Nancy Masschelein Janet Mitchell

in: Review of Financial Studies, No. 4, 2011


Assessing the impacts of bank mergers on small firms requires separating borrowers with single versus multiple banking relationships and distinguishing the three alternatives of “staying,” “dropping,” and “switching” of relationships. Single-relationship borrowers who “switch” to another bank following a merger will be less harmed than those whose relationship is “dropped” and not replaced. Using Belgian data, we find that single-relationship borrowers of target banks are more likely than other borrowers to be dropped. We track postmerger performance and show that many dropped target-bank borrowers are harmed by the merger. Multiple-relationship borrowers are less harmed, as they can better hedge against relationship discontinuations.

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Cross-border Exposures and Financial Contagion

Hans Degryse Muhammad Ather Elahi Maria Fabiana Penas

in: International Review of Finance, No. 2, 2010


Integrated financial markets provide opportunities for expansion and improved risk sharing, but also pose threats of contagion risk through cross-border exposures. This paper examines cross-border contagion risk over the period 1999–2006. To that purpose we use aggregate cross-border exposures of 17 countries as reported in the Bank for International Settlements Consolidated Banking Statistics. We find that a shock that affects the liabilities of one country may undermine the stability of the entire financial system. Particularly, a shock wiping out 25% (35%) of US (UK) cross-border liabilities against non-US (non-UK) banks could lead to bank contagion eroding at least 94% (45%) of the recipient countries' banking assets. We also find that since 2006 a shock to Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia affects most countries. Our simulations also reveal that the ‘speed of propagation of contagion’ has increased in recent years resulting in a higher number of directly exposed banking systems. Finally, we find that contagion is more widespread in geographical proximities.

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The Impact of Bank and Non-bank Financial Institutions on Local Economic Growth in China

Xiaoqiang Cheng Hans Degryse

in: Journal of Financial Services Research, No. 2, 2010


This paper provides evidence on the relationship between finance and growth in a fast growing country, such as China. Employing data of 27 Chinese provinces over the period 1995–2003, we study whether the financial development of two different types of financial institutions — banks and non-banks — have a (significantly different) impact on local economic growth. Our findings indicate that banking development shows a statistically significant and economically more pronounced impact on local economic growth.

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Working Papers


Cultural Resilience and Economic Recovery: Evidence from Hurricane Katrina

Iftekhar Hasan Stefano Manfredonia Felix Noth

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 16, 2020


This paper investigates the critical role of culture for economic recovery after natural disasters. Using Hurricane Katrina as our laboratory, we find a significant adverse treatment effect for plant-level productivity. However, local religious adherence and larger shares of ancestors with disaster experiences mutually mitigate this detrimental effect from the disaster. Religious adherence further dampens anxiety after Hurricane Katrina, which potentially spur economic recovery. We also detect this effect on the aggregate county level. More religious counties recover faster in terms of population, new establishments, and GDP.

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Trade Shocks, Credit Reallocation and the Role of Specialisation: Evidence from Syndicated Lending

Isabella Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 15, 2020


This paper provides evidence that banks cut lending to US borrowers as a consequence of a trade shock. This adverse reaction is stronger for banks with higher ex-ante lending to US industries hit by the trade shock. Importantly, I document large heterogeneity in banks‘ reaction depending on their sectoral specialisation. Banks shield industries in which they are specialised in and at the same time reduce the availability of credit to industries they are not specialised in. The latter is driven by low-capital banks and lending to firms that are themselves hit by the trade shock. Banks‘ adjustments have adverse real effects.

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Spillovers of Asset Purchases Within the Real Sector: Win-Win or Joy and Sorrow?

Talina Sondershaus

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 22, 2019


Events which have an adverse or positive effect on some firms can disseminate through the economy to firms which are not directly affected. By exploiting the first large sovereign bond purchase programme of the ECB, this paper investigates whether more lending to some firms spill over to firms in the surroundings of direct beneficiaries. Firms operating in the same industry and region invest less and reduce employment. The paper shows the importance to consider spillover effects when assessing unconventional monetary policies: Differences between treatment and control groups can be entirely attributed to negative effects on the control group.

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Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness Against Your Customers: Cultural Norms and the Volkswagen Scandal

Iftekhar Hasan Felix Noth Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 21, 2019


This paper investigates whether cultural norms shaped by religion drive consumer decisions after a corporate scandal. We exploit the unexpected notice of violation by the US Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015, accusing the car producer Volkswagen (VW) to have used software to manipulate car emission values during test phases. Using a difference-in-difference model, we show that new registrations of VW (diesel) cars decline significantly in German counties with a high share of Protestants following the VW scandal. Our results suggest that the enforcement culture rooted in Protestantism affects consumer decisions and penalises corporate fraud.

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Do Asset Purchase Programmes Shape Industry Dynamics? Evidence from the ECB's SMP on Plant Entries and Exits

Manfred Antoni Michael Koetter Steffen Müller Talina Sondershaus

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 12, 2019


Asset purchase programmes (APPs) may insulate banks from having to terminate relationships with unproductive customers. Using administrative plant and bank data, we test whether APPs impinge on industry dynamics in terms of plant entry and exit. Plants in Germany connected to banks with access to an APP are approximately 20% less likely to exit. In particular, unproductive plants connected to weak banks with APP access are less likely to close. Aggregate entry and exit rates in regional markets with high APP exposures are also lower. Thus, APPs seem to subdue Schumpeterian cleansing mechanisms, which may hamper factor reallocation and aggregate productivity growth.

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