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


Interactions Between Bank Levies and Corporate Taxes: How is Bank Leverage Affected?

Franziska Bremus Kirsten Schmidt Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of Banking and Finance, No. 105874, September 2020


Regulatory bank levies set incentives for banks to reduce leverage. At the same time, corporate income taxation makes funding through debt more attractive. In this paper, we explore how regulatory levies affect bank capital structure, depending on corporate income taxation. Based on bank balance sheet data from 2006 to 2014 for a panel of EU-banks, our analysis yields three main results: The introduction of bank levies leads to lower leverage as liabilities become more expensive. This effect is weaker the more elevated corporate income taxes are. In countries charging very high corporate income taxes, the incentives of bank levies to reduce leverage turn insignificant. Thus, bank levies can counteract the debt bias of taxation only partially.

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Financial Incentives and Loan Officer Behavior: Multitasking and Allocation of Effort under an Incomplete Contract

Patrick Behr Alejandro H. Drexler Reint E. Gropp Andre Guettler

in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, No. 4, 2020


We investigate the implications of providing loan officers with a nonlinear compensation structure that rewards loan volume and penalizes poor performance. Using a unique data set provided by a large international commercial bank, we examine the main activities that loan officers perform: loan prospecting, screening, and monitoring. We find that when loan officers are at risk of losing their bonuses, they increase prospecting and monitoring. We further show that loan officers adjust their behavior more toward the end of the month when bonus payments are approaching. These effects are more pronounced for loan officers with longer tenures at the bank.

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Cross-border Transmission of Emergency Liquidity

Thomas Kick Michael Koetter Manuela Storz

in: Journal of Banking and Finance, April 2020


We show that emergency liquidity provision by the Federal Reserve transmitted to non-U.S. banking markets. Based on manually collected holding company structures, we identify banks in Germany with access to U.S. facilities. Using detailed interest rate data reported to the German central bank, we compare lending and borrowing rates of banks with and without such access. U.S. liquidity shocks cause a significant decrease in the short-term funding costs of the average German bank with access. This reduction is mitigated for banks with more vulnerable balance sheets prior to the inception of emergency liquidity. We also find a significant pass-through in terms of lower corporate credit rates charged for banks with the lowest pre-crisis leverage, US-dollar funding needs, and liquidity buffers. Spillover effects from U.S. emergency liquidity provision are generally confined to short-term rates.

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Foreign Bank Ownership and Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence

Manthos D. Delis Iftekhar Hasan Nikolaos Mylonidis

in: Applied Economics, No. 11, 2020


Using country-level panel data over 1995–2013 on within-country income inequality and foreign bank presence, this paper establishes a positive relation between the two, running from higher foreign bank presence to income inequality. Given that foreign bank participation increased by 62% over the period 1995 to 2013, our baseline results imply a 5.8% increase in the Gini coefficient on average over this period, ceteris paribus. These results are robust to the inclusion of country and year fixed effects and to the use of restrictions on foreign bank entry in the host countries as an instrumental variable. We show that this positive effect is channelled through the lack of greenfield entry and the associated lower levels of competition.

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Comparing Financial Transparency between For-profit and Nonprofit Suppliers of Public Goods: Evidence from Microfinance

John W. Goodell Abhinav Goyal Iftekhar Hasan

in: Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, January 2020


Previous research finds market financing is favored over relationship financing in environments of better governance, since the transaction costs to investors of vetting asymmetric information are thereby reduced. For industries supplying public goods, for-profits rely on market financing, while nonprofits rely on relationships with donors. This suggests that for-profits will be more inclined than nonprofits to improve financial transparency. We examine the impact of for-profit versus nonprofit status on the financial transparency of firms engaged with supplying public goods. There are relatively few industries that have large number of both for-profit and nonprofit firms across countries. However, the microfinance industry provides the opportunity of a large number of both for-profit and nonprofit firms in relatively equal numbers, across a wide array of countries. Consistent with our prediction, we find that financial transparency is positively associated with a for-profit status. Results will be of broad interest both to scholars interested in the roles of transparency and transaction costs on market versus relational financing; as well as to policy makers interested in the impact of for-profit on the supply of public goods, and on the microfinance industry in particular.

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Working Papers


Explaining Regional Disparities in Housing Prices Across German Districts

Lars Brausewetter Stephan L. Thomsen Johannes Trunzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2022


Over the last decade, German housing prices have increased unprecedentedly. Drawing on quality-adjusted housing price data at the district level, we document large and increasing regional disparities: Growth rates were higher in 1) the largest seven cities, 2) districts located in the south, and 3) districts with higher initial price levels. Indications of price bubbles are concentrated in the largest cities and in the purchasing market. Prices seem to be driven by the demand side: Increasing population density, higher shares of academically educated employees and increasing purchasing power explain our findings, while supply remained relatively constrained in the short term.

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Stress-ridden Finance and Growth Losses: Does Financial Development Break the Link?

Serafín Martínez-Jaramillo Ricardo Montañez-Enríquez Matias Ossandon Busch Manuel Ramos-Francia Anahí Rodríguez-Martínez José Manuel Sánchez-Martínez

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2022


Does financial development shield countries from the pass-through of financial shocks to real outcomes? We evaluate this question by characterising the probability density of expected GDP growth conditional on financial stability indicators in a panel of 28 countries. Our robust results unveil a non-linear nexus between financial stability and expected GDP growth, depending on countries’ degree of financial development. While both domestic and global financial factors affect expected growth, the effect of global factors is moderated by financial development. This result highlights a previously unexplored channel trough which financial development can break the link between financial (in)stability and GDP growth.

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Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Risk

Aleksandr Kazakov Michael Koetter Mirko Titze Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2022


We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks’ distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capitalised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies required to green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer Programmes.

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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: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2021


The bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD) regulates the bail-in hierarchy to resolve distressed banks without burdening tax payers. We exploit the staggered implementation of the BRRD across 15 European Union (EU) member states to identify banks’ capital cost and capital structure responses. In a first stage, we show that average capital costs of banks increased. WACC hikes are lowest in the core countries of the European Monetary Union (EMU) compared to formerly stressed EMU and non-EMU countries. This pattern is driven by changes in the relative WACC weight of equity in response to the BRRD, which indicates enhanced financial system resilience. In a second stage, we document asymmetric transmission patterns of banks’ capital cost changes on to corporates’ borrowing terms. Only EMU banks located in core countries that exhibit higher WACC are those that also increase firms’ borrowing cost and contract credit supply. Hence, the BRRD had unintended consequences for selected segments of the real economy.

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Financial Linkages and Sectoral Business Cycle Synchronisation: Evidence from Europe

Hannes Böhm Julia Schaumburg Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2020


We analyse whether financial integration between countries 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 1996-2017, we find that the spillover effects are positive on average but much larger during periods of financial stress, pointing towards stronger business cycle synchronisation. Dismantling GDP growth into value added growth of ten major industries, we observe that some sectors are strongly affected by positive spillovers (wholesale & retail trade, industrial production), others only to a weaker degree (agriculture, construction, finance), while more nationally influenced industries show no evidence for significant spillover effects (public administration, arts & entertainment, real estate).

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