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


Why Do Banks Provide Leasing?

D. Bülbül Felix Noth M. Tyrell

in: Journal of Financial Services Research, No. 2, 2014


Banks are engaging in leasing activities at an increasing rate, which is demonstrated by aggregated data for both European and U.S. banking companies. However, little is known about leasing activities at the bank level. The contribution of this paper is the introduction of the nexus of leasing in banking. Beginning from an institutional basis, this paper describes the key features of banks’ leasing activities using the example of German regional banks. The banks in this sample can choose from different types of leasing contracts, providing the banks with a degree of leeway in conducting business with their clients. We find a robust and significant positive impact of banks’ leasing activities on their profitability. Specifically, the beneficial effect of leasing stems from commission business in which the bank acts as a middleman and is not affected by the potential defaults of customers.

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IT Use, Productivity, and Market Power in Banking

Michael Koetter Felix Noth

in: Journal of Financial Stability, No. 4, 2013


Information management is a core process in banking that can resolve information asymmetries and thereby help to mitigate competitive pressure. We test if the use of information technology (IT) contributes to bank output, and how IT-augmented bank productivity relates to differences in market power. Detailed bank-level information on the use of IT reveals a substantial upward bias in bank productivity estimates when ignoring banks’ IT expenditures. IT-augmented bank productivity correlates positively with Lerner markups. A mere increase in IT expenditures, however, reduces markups. Results hold across a range of bank output definitions and productivity estimation methods.

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Has Labor Income Become More Volatile? Evidence from International Industry-Level Data

Claudia M. Buch

in: German Economic Review, No. 4, 2013


Changes in labor market institutions and the increasing integration of the world economy may affect the volatility of capital and labor incomes. This article documents and analyzes changes in income volatility using data for 11 industrialized countries, 22 industries and 35 years (1970–2004). The article has four main findings. First, the unconditional volatility of labor income has declined in parallel to the decline in macroeconomic volatility. Second, the industry-specific, idiosyncratic component of labor income volatility has hardly changed. Third, cross-sectional heterogeneity is substantial. If anything, the labor incomes of high- and low-skilled workers have become more volatile relative to the volatility of capital incomes. Fourth, the volatility of labor income relative to the volatility of capital income declines in the labor share. Trade openness has no clear-cut impact.

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Default Options and Social Welfare: Opt In versus Opt Out

Jan Bouckaert Hans Degryse

in: Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics JITE, No. 3, 2013


We offer a social-welfare comparison of the two most prominent default options – opt in and opt out – using a two-period model of localized competition. We demonstrate that when consumers stick to the default option, the prevailing default policy shapes firms' ability to collect and use customer information, and affects their pricing strategy and entry decision differently. The free-entry analysis reveals that fewer firms enter under opt out as competition becomes harsher, and that opt out is the socially preferred default option.

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Financial Constraints of Private Firms and Bank Lending Behavior

Patrick Behr L. Norden Felix Noth

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, No. 9, 2013


We investigate whether and how financial constraints of private firms depend on bank lending behavior. Bank lending behavior, especially its scale, scope and timing, is largely driven by bank business models which differ between privately owned and state-owned banks. Using a unique dataset on private small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) we find that an increase in relative borrowings from local state-owned banks significantly reduces firms’ financial constraints, while there is no such effect for privately owned banks. Improved credit availability and private information production are the main channels that explain our result. We also show that the lending behavior of local state-owned banks can be sustainable because it is less cyclical and neither leads to more risk taking nor underperformance.

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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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