Regulation of International Financial Markets and International Banking

This research group analyses causes and consequences of banks' international activities and the regulatory framework they operate in.

Internationally active banks can facilitate an efficient international allocation of capital and provide channels for international risk sharing. But they can also be a source of financial instabilities themselves, thus contributing to international contagion and risk-shifting. This is one reason for the current re-regulation of international banking.

The research group contributes to the literature in three ways. First, the group empirically analyses the channels through which shocks are transmitted by internationally active banks. Second, the group analyses the build-up of aggregate imbalances in integrated banking markets and resulting consequences for the real economy. Third, the group analyses the impact of changes in banking supervision and regulation on (inter)national activities of banks, with a special focus on the European integration process.


IWH Data Project: International Banking Library

Research Cluster
Financial Stability and Regulation

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Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
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07.2017 ‐ 12.2022

The Political Economy of the European Banking Union

European Social Fund (ESF)

Causes of national differences in the implementation of the Banking Union and the resulting impact on financial stability.

see project's webpage

Professor Dr Lena Tonzer

01.2015 ‐ 12.2017

Dynamic Interactions between Banks and the Real Economy

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Professor Dr Felix Noth

Refereed Publications


Financial Linkages and Sectoral Business Cycle Synchronization: Evidence from Europe

Hannes Böhm Julia Schaumburg Lena Tonzer

in: IMF Economic Review, forthcoming


We analyze whether financial integration leads to converging or diverging business cycles using a dynamic spatial model. Our model allows for contemporaneous spillovers of shocks to GDP growth between countries that are financially integrated and delivers a scalar measure of the spillover intensity at each point in time. For a financial network of ten European countries from 1996 to 2017, we find that the spillover effects are positive on average and much larger during periods of financial stress, pointing towards stronger business cycle synchronization. Dismantling GDP growth into value added growth of ten major industries, we observe that spillover intensities vary significantly. The findings are robust to a variety of alternative model specifications.

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The Geography of Information: Evidence from the Public Debt Market

Bill Francis Iftekhar Hasan Maya Waisman

in: Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming


nWe investigate the link between the spatial concentration of firms in large, central metropolitans (i.e. urban agglomeration) and the cost of public corporate debt. Looking at bond issues over the period 1985–2014, we find that bonds issued by companies headquartered in urban agglomerates have lower at-issue yield spreads than bonds issued by firms based in remote, sparsely populated areas. Measures of the count of institutional bondholders in a firm’s vicinity confirm that the spatial cross-sectional variation in bond spreads is driven by the proximity of metropolitan firms to large concentrations of institutional investors. Our results are robust to controls for firm productivity and governance, analyst following, and exogenous shocks to institutional investor attention. The effect of headquarters location on bond spreads is especially pronounced for more difficult to value, speculative-grade bonds, bonds issued by smaller, less visible firms and bonds issued without protective covenants. Overall, we provide evidence that the geographical distribution of firms and investors generates a corresponding distribution of value-relevant, firm-level information that affects its cost of capital.

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Completing the European Banking Union: Capital Cost Consequences for Credit Providers and Corporate Borrowers

Michael Koetter Thomas Krause Eleonora Sfrappini Lena Tonzer

in: European Economic Review, September 2022


The bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD) regulates the bail-in hierarchy to resolve distressed banks in the European Union (EU). Using the staggered BRRD implementation across 15 member states, we identify banks’ capital cost responses and subsequent pass-through to borrowers towards surprise elements due to national transposition details. Average bank capital costs increase heterogeneously across countries with strongest funding cost hikes observed for banks located in GIIPS and non-EMU countries. Only banks in core E(M)U countries that exhibit higher funding costs increase credit spreads for corporate borrowers and contract credit supply. Tighter credit conditions are only passed on to more levered and less profitable firms. On balance, the national implementation of BRRD appears to have strengthened financial system resilience without a pervasive hike in borrowing costs.

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A Note of Caution on Quantifying Banks' Recapitalization Effects

Felix Noth Kirsten Schmidt Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, No. 4, 2022


Unconventional monetary policy measures like asset purchase programs aim to reduce certain securities' yield and alter financial institutions' investment behavior. These measures increase the institutions' market value of securities and add to their equity positions. We show that the extent of this recapitalization effect crucially depends on the securities' accounting and valuation methods, country-level regulation, and maturity structure. We argue that future research needs to consider these factors when quantifying banks' recapitalization effects and consequent changes in banks' lending decisions to the real sector.

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Firm-specific Forecast Errors and Asymmetric Investment Propensity

Manuel Buchholz Lena Tonzer Julian Berner

in: Economic Inquiry, No. 2, 2022


This paper analyzes how firm-specific forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011 relate to firms' investment propensity. Our findings reveal that asymmetries arise depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines if the realized situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust investment if the realized situation is better than expected suggesting that the uncertainty component of the forecast error counteracts good surprises of unexpectedly favorable business conditions. This asymmetric mechanism can be one explanation behind slow recovery following crises.

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Working Papers


Do We Want These Two to Tango? On Zombie Firms and Stressed Banks in Europe

Manuela Storz Michael Koetter Ralph Setzer Andreas Westphal

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2017


We show that the speed and type of corporate deleveraging depends on the interaction between corporate and financial sector health. Based on granular bank-firm data pertaining to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from five stressed and two non-stressed euro area economies, we show that “zombie” firms generally continued to lever up during the 2010–2014 period. Whereas relationships with stressed banks reduce SME leverage on average, we also show that zombie firms that are tied to weak banks in euro area periphery countries increase their indebtedness even further. Sustainable economic recovery therefore requires both: deleveraging of banks and firms.

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Inside Asset Purchase Programs: The Effects of Unconventional Policy on Banking Competition

Michael Koetter Natalia Podlich Michael Wedow

in: ECB Working Paper Series, No. 2017, 2017


We test if unconventional monetary policy instruments influence the competitive conduct of banks. Between q2:2010 and q1:2012, the ECB absorbed Euro 218 billion worth of government securities from five EMU countries under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP). Using detailed security holdings data at the bank level, we show that banks exposed to this unexpected (loose) policy shock mildly gained local loan and deposit market shares. Shifts in market shares are driven by banks that increased SMP security holdings during the lifetime of the program and that hold the largest relative SMP portfolio shares. Holding other securities from periphery countries that were not part of the SMP amplifies the positive market share responses. Monopolistic rents approximated by Lerner indices are lower for SMP banks, suggesting a role of the SMP to re-distribute market power differentially, but not necessarily banking profits.

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Uncertainty, Financial Crises, and Subjective Well-being

Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2017


This paper focuses on the effect of uncertainty as reflected by financial market variables on subjective well-being. The analysis is based on Eurobarometer surveys, covering 20 countries over the period from 2000 to 2013. Individuals report lower levels of life satisfaction in times of higher uncertainty approximated by stock market volatility. This effect is heterogeneous across respondents: The probability of being unsatisfied is higher for respondents who are older, less educated, and live in one of the GIIPS countries of the euro area. Furthermore, higher uncertainty in combination with a financial crisis increases the probability of reporting low values of life satisfaction.

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To Separate or not to Separate Investment from Commercial Banking? An Empirical Analysis of Attention Distortion under Multiple Tasks

Reint E. Gropp K. Park

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2016


In the wake of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, a number of policy reports (Vickers, Liikanen, Volcker) proposed to separate investment banking from commercial banking to increase financial stability. This paper empirically examines one theoretical justification for these proposals, namely attention distortion under multiple tasks as in Holmstrom and Milgrom (1991). Universal banks can be viewed as combining two different tasks (investment banking and commercial banking) in the same organization. We estimate pay-performance sensitivities for different segments within universal banks and for pure investment and commercial banks. We show that the pay-performance sensitivity is higher in investment banking than in commercial banking, no matter whether it is organized as part of a universal bank or in a separate institution. Next, the paper shows that relative pay-performance sensitivities of investment and commercial banking are negatively related to the quality of the loan portfolio in universal banks. Depending on the specification, we obtain a reduction in problem loans when investment banking is removed from commercial banks of up to 12 percent. We interpret the evidence to imply that the higher pay-performance sensitivity in investment banking directs the attention of managers away from commercial banking within universal banks, consistent with Holmstrom and Milgrom (1991). Separation of investment banking and commercial banking may indeed be associated with a reduction in risk in commercial banking.

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Friend or Foe? Crowdfunding Versus Credit when Banks are Stressed

Daniel Blaseg Michael Koetter

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2015


Does bank instability push borrowers to use crowdfunding as a source of external finance? We identify stressed banks and link them to a unique, manually constructed sample of 157 new ventures seeking equity crowdfunding. The sample comprises projects from all German equity crowdfunding platforms since 2011, which we compare with 200 ventures that do not use crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is significantly more likely for new ventures that interact with stressed banks. Innovative funding is thus particularly relevant when conventional financiers are facing crises. But crowdfunded ventures are generally also more opaque and risky than new ventures that do not use crowdfunding.

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