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


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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