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


Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-run Panel Evidence from Germany

Claudia M. Buch Esteban Prieto

in: International Finance, No. 1, 2014


Higher capital features prominently in proposals for regulatory reform. But how does increased bank capital affect business loans? The real costs of increased bank capital in terms of reduced loans are widely believed to be substantial. But the negative real-sector implications need not be severe. In this paper, we take a long-run perspective by analysing the link between the capitalization of the banking sector and bank loans using panel cointegration models. We study the evolution of the German economy for the past 44 years. Higher bank capital tends to be associated with higher business loan volume, and we find no evidence for a negative effect. This result holds both for pooled regressions as well as for the individual banking groups in Germany.

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An Empirical Analysis of Legal Insider Trading in The Netherlands

Frank de Jong Jérémie Lefebvre Hans Degryse

in: De Economist, No. 1, 2014


In this paper, we employ a registry of legal insider trading for Dutch listed firms to investigate the information content of trades by corporate insiders. Using a standard event-study methodology, we examine short-term stock price behavior around trades. We find that purchases are followed by economically large abnormal returns. This result is strongest for purchases by top executives and for small market capitalization firms, which is consistent with the hypothesis that legal insider trading is an important channel through which information flows to the market. We analyze also the impact of the implementation of the Market Abuse Directive (European Union Directive 2003/6/EC), which strengthens the existing regulation in the Netherlands. We show that the new regulation reduced the information content of sales by top executives.

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Discussion of De Haas and Van Lelyveld

Hans Degryse

in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, s1 2014

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Is More Finance Better? Disentangling Intermediation and Size Effects of Financial Systems

Thorsten Beck Hans Degryse Christiane Kneer

in: Journal of Financial Stability, 2014


Financial systems all over the world have grown dramatically over recent decades. But is more finance necessarily better? And what concept of financial system – a focus on its size, including both intermediation and other auxiliary “non-intermediation” activities, or a focus on traditional intermediation activity – is relevant for its impact on real sector outcomes? This paper assesses the relationship between the size of the financial system and intermediation, on the one hand, and GDP per capita growth and growth volatility, on the other hand. Based on a sample of 77 countries for the period 1980–2007, we find that intermediation activities increase growth and reduce volatility in the long run. An expansion of the financial sectors along other dimensions has no long-run effect on real sector outcomes. Over shorter time horizons a large financial sector stimulates growth at the cost of higher volatility in high-income countries. Intermediation activities stabilize the economy in the medium run especially in low-income countries. As this is an initial exploration of the link between financial system indicators and growth and volatility, we focus on OLS regressions, leaving issues of endogeneity and omitted variable biases for future research.

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Financial Constraints and Foreign Direct Investment: Firm-level Evidence

Claudia M. Buch I. Kesternich A. Lipponer M. Schnitzer

in: Review of World Economics, No. 2, 2014


Low productivity is an important barrier to the cross-border expansion of firms. But firms may also need external finance to shoulder the costs of entering foreign markets. We develop a model of multinational firms facing real and financial barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI), and we analyze their impact on the FDI decision. Theoretically, we show that financial constraints can affect highly productive firms more than firms with low productivity because the former are more likely to expand abroad. We provide empirical evidence based on a detailed dataset of German domestic and multinational firms which contains information on parent-level financial constraints as well as on the location the foreign affiliates. We find that financial factors constrain firms’ foreign investment decisions, an effect felt in particular by firms most likely to consider investing abroad. The locational information in our dataset allows exploiting cross-country differences in contract enforcement. Consistent with theory, we find that poor contract enforcement in the host country has a negative impact on FDI decisions.

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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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