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


Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Financial Performance: The Mediating Role of Productivity

Iftekhar Hasan Nada Kobeissi Liuling Liu Haizhi Wang

in: Journal of Business Ethics, No. 3, 2018


This study treats firm productivity as an accumulation of productive intangibles and posits that stakeholder engagement associated with better corporate social performance helps develop such intangibles. We hypothesize that because shareholders factor improved productive efficiency into stock price, productivity mediates the relationship between corporate social and financial performance. Furthermore, we argue that key stakeholders’ social considerations are more valuable for firms with higher levels of discretionary cash and income stream uncertainty. Therefore, we hypothesize that those two contingencies moderate the mediated process of corporate social performance with financial performance. Our analysis, based on a comprehensive longitudinal dataset of the U.S. manufacturing firms from 1992 to 2009, lends strong support for these hypotheses. In short, this paper uncovers a productivity-based, context-dependent mechanism underlying the relationship between corporate social performance and financial performance.

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When Arm’s Length is too Far: Relationship Banking over the Credit Cycle

Thorsten Beck Hans Degryse Ralph De Haas Neeltje van Horen

in: Journal of Financial Economics, No. 1, 2018


We conduct face-to-face interviews with bank CEOs to classify 397 banks across 21 countries as either relationship or transaction lenders. We then use the geographic coordinates of these banks’ branches and of 14,100 businesses to analyze how the lending techniques of banks in the vicinity of firms are related to credit constraints at two contrasting points of the credit cycle. We find that while relationship lending is not associated with credit constraints during a credit boom, it alleviates such constraints during a downturn. This positive role of relationship lending is stronger for small and opaque firms and in regions with a more severe economic downturn. Moreover, our evidence suggests that relationship lending mitigates the impact of a downturn on firm growth and does not constitute evergreening of loans.

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Politically Connected Firms in Poland and Their Access to Bank Financing

Iftekhar Hasan Krzysztof Jackowicz Oskar Kowalewski Łukasz Kozłowski

in: Communist and Post-Communist Studies, No. 4, 2017


This paper characterizes politically connected firms and their access to bank financing. We determine that the relationship between political connections and access to long-term bank loans is weaker in Poland than in other emerging economies. The most probable explanation for this result is related to the instability of the political climate in Poland. We find that only certain kinds of political connections, such as recent connections, positively influenced access to bank financing during the sample period from 2001 to 2011. Moreover, we obtain also some evidence that the value of political connections increased during the 2007 crisis period and onward.

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Bank Financing, Institutions and Regional Entrepreneurial Activities: Evidence from China

Iftekhar Hasan Nada Kobeissi Haizhi Wang Mingming Zhou

in: International Review of Economics & Finance, November 2017


We investigate the effects of bank financing on regional entrepreneurial activities in China. We present contrasting findings on the role of quantity vs. quality of bank financing on small business formation in China: while we document a consistent, significantly positive relationship between the quality of bank financing and new venture formation, we find that the quantity of supplied credit is insignificant. We report that formal institutions are positively correlated to regional entrepreneurial activities, and informal institutions substitute formal institutions. Our findings also reveal that the institutional environment tends to supplement bank financing in promoting regional entrepreneurial activities.

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Bank Overall Financial Strength: Islamic Versus Conventional Banks

Michael Doumpos Iftekhar Hasan Fotios Pasiouras

in: Economic Modelling, 2017


A number of recent studies compare the performance of Islamic and conventional banks with the use of individual financial ratios or efficiency frontier techniques. The present study extends this strand of the literature, by comparing Islamic banks, conventional banks, and banks with an Islamic window with the use of a bank overall financial strength index. This index is developed with a multicriteria methodology that allows us to aggregate various criteria capturing bank capital strength, asset quality, earnings, liquidity, and management quality in controlling expenses. We find that banks differ significantly in terms of individual financial ratios; however, the difference of the overall financial strength between Islamic and conventional banks is not statistically significant. This finding is confirmed with both univariate comparisons and in multivariate regression estimations. When we look at the bank financial strength within regions, we find that conventional banks outperform both the Islamic banks and the banks with Islamic window in the case of Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council; however, Islamic banks perform better in the MENA and Senegal region. Second stage regressions also reveal that the bank overall financial strength index is influenced by various country-specific attributes. These include control of corruption, government effectiveness, and operation in one of the seven countries that are expected to drive the next big wave in Islamic finance.

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Working Papers


Cultural Norms and Corporate Fraud: Evidence from the Volkswagen Scandal

Iftekhar Hasan Felix Noth Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 24, 2020


We investigate whether cultural norms shaped by religion drive consumer decisions after a corporate scandal. We exploit the notice of violation by the US Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015 accusing Volkswagen (VW) of using software to manipulate car emission values during test phases. We show that new registrations of VW cars decline significantly in German counties with a high share of Protestants following the VW scandal. Our findings document that the enforcement culture in Protestantism facilitates penalising corporate fraud. We corroborate this channel with a survey documenting that Protestants respond significantly different to fraud but not to environmental issues.

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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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