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


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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Enforceability of Noncompetition Agreements and Firm Innovation: Does State Regulation Matter?

Desheng Yin Iftekhar Hasan Nada Kobeissi Haizhi Wang

in: Innovation, No. 2, 2017


In this study, we examine how noncompetition agreements and the mobility of human capital – a core asset of any firm – affect innovations of publicly traded firms in the United States. We find that firms in states with stricter noncompetition enforcement have fewer patent applications. We also examine patent forward citations and find that tougher enforcement of such contracts is associated with less innovative patents. Notably, we find that stronger enforcement of noncompetition agreements impedes innovation for firms facing intense industry labor mobility. High-powered, equity-based compensation positively moderates the relationship between noncompetition enforcement and innovation, but only for the quality of innovation.

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Working Papers


Politics, Banks, and Sub-sovereign Debt: Unholy Trinity or Divine Coincidence?

Michael Koetter Alexander Popov

in: Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper, No. 53, 2018


We exploit election-driven turnover in State and local governments in Germany to study how banks adjust their securities portfolios in response to the loss of political connections. We find that local savings banks, which are owned by their host county and supervised by local politicians, increase significantly their holdings of home-State sovereign bonds when the local government and the State government are dominated by different political parties. Banks' holdings of other securities, like federal bonds, bonds issued by other States, or stocks, are not affected by election outcomes. We argue that banks use sub-sovereign bond purchases to gain access to politically distant government authorities.

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May the Force Be with You: Exit Barriers, Governance Shocks, and Profitability Sclerosis in Banking

Michael Koetter Carola Müller Felix Noth Benedikt Fritz

in: Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper, No. 49, 2018


We test whether limited market discipline imposes exit barriers and poor profitability in banking. We exploit an exogenous shock to the governance of government-owned banks: the unification of counties. County mergers lead to enforced government-owned bank mergers. We compare forced to voluntary bank exits and show that the former cause better bank profitability and efficiency at the expense of riskier financial profiles. Regarding real effects, firms exposed to forced bank mergers borrow more at lower cost, increase investment, and exhibit higher employment. Thus, reduced exit frictions in banking seem to unleash the economic potential of both banks and firms.

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Basel III Capital Requirements and Heterogeneous Banks

Carola Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 14, 2018


I develop a theoretical model to investigate the effect of simultaneous regulation with a leverage ratio and a risk-weighted ratio on banks‘ risk taking and banking market structure. I extend a portfolio choice model by adding heterogeneity in productivity among banks. Regulators face a trade-off between the efficient allocation of resources and financial stability. In an oligopolistic market, risk-weighted requirements incentivise banks with high productivity to lend to low-risk firms. When a leverage ratio is introduced, these banks lose market shares to less productive competitors and react with risk-shifting into high-risk loans. While average productivity in the low-risk market falls, market shares in the high-risk market are dispersed across new entrants with high as well as low productivity.

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Banks Fearing the Drought? Liquidity Hoarding as a Response to Idiosyncratic Interbank Funding Dry-ups

Helge Littke Matias Ossandon Busch

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 12, 2018


Since the global financial crisis, economic literature has highlighted banks’ inclination to bolster up their liquid asset positions once the aggregate interbank funding market experiences a dry-up. To this regard, we show that liquidity hoarding and its detrimental effects on credit can also be triggered by idiosyncratic, i.e. bankspecific, interbank funding shocks with implications for monetary policy. Combining a unique data set of the Brazilian banking sector with a novel identification strategy enables us to overcome previous limitations for studying this phenomenon as a bankspecific event. This strategy further helps us to analyse how disruptions in the bank headquarters’ interbank market can lead to liquidity and lending adjustments at the regional bank branch level. From the perspective of the policy maker, understanding this market-to-market spillover effect is important as local bank branch markets are characterised by market concentration and relationship lending.

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Flooded Through the Back Door: Firm-level Effects of Banks‘ Lending Shifts

Oliver Rehbein

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2018


I show that natural disasters transmit to firms in non-disaster areas via their banks. This spillover of non-financial shocks through the banking system is stronger for banks with less regulatory capital. Firms connected to a disaster-exposed bank with below median capital reduce their employment by 11% and their fixed assets by 20% compared to firms in the same region without such a bank during the 2013 flooding in Germany. Relationship banking and higher firm capital also mitigate the effects of such negative cross-regional spillovers.

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