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 ClusterFinancial Stability and Regulation
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.
01.2015 ‐ 12.2017
Dynamic Interactions between Banks and the Real Economy
German Research Foundation (DFG)
National Culture and Risk-taking: Evidence from the Insurance Industry
in: Journal of Business Research, April 2019
The gravity of insurance within the financial sector is constantly increasing. Reasonably, after the events of the recent financial turmoil, the domain of research that examines the factors driving the risk-taking of this industry has been signified. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the interplay between national culture and risk of insurance firms. We quantify the cultural overtones, measuring national culture considering the dimensions outlined by the Hofstede model and risk-taking using the ‘Z-score’. In a sample consisting of 801 life and non-life insurance firms operating across 42 countries over the period 2007–2016, we find a strong and significant relationship among insurance firms' risk-taking and cultural characteristics, such as individualism, uncertainty avoidance and power distance. Results remain robust to a variety of firm and country-specific controls, alternative measures of risk, sample specifications and tests designed to alleviate endogeneity.
Elevated Uncertainty during the Financial Crisis: Do Effects on Subjective Well-being Differ across European Countries?
in: B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, No. 2, 2019
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 18 countries over the period 2000–2013. 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, unemployed, 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.
Drivers of Systemic Risk: Do National and European Perspectives Differ?
in: Journal of International Money and Finance, March 2019
With the establishment of the Banking Union, the European Central Bank has been granted the power to impose stricter regulations than the national regulator if systemic risks are not adequately addressed at the national level. We ask whether there is a cross-border externality in the sense that a bank’s systemic risk differs when applying a national versus a European perspective. On average, banks’ contribution to systemic risk is similar at the two regional levels, and so is the ranking of banks. Generally, larger banks and banks with a lower share of loans are more systemically important. The effects of these variables are qualitatively but not quantitatively similar at the national versus the European level.
Political Influence and Financial Flexibility: Evidence from China
in: Journal of Banking and Finance, February 2019
This paper investigates how political influence affects firms’ financial flexibility and speed of adjustment toward target leverage ratios. We find that at the macro level, firms in environments with high political advantages, proxied by provincial affiliations with heads of state as well as political status and party rank of provincial leaders, adjust faster. At the micro level, firms that are state-owned, have CPC members as executives, or bear low exposure to changes in political uncertainty adjust faster. When interacted, the micro-level political factors have more significant impact.
Banks Response to Higher Capital Requirements: Evidence from a Quasi-natural Experiment
in: Review of Financial Studies, No. 1, 2019
We study the impact of higher capital requirements on banks’ balance sheets and their transmission to the real economy. The 2011 EBA capital exercise is an almost ideal quasi-natural experiment to identify this impact with a difference-in-differences matching estimator. We find that treated banks increase their capital ratios by reducing their risk-weighted assets, not by raising their levels of equity, consistent with debt overhang. Banks reduce lending to corporate and retail customers, resulting in lower asset, investment, and sales growth for firms obtaining a larger share of their bank credit from the treated banks.
Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Stability
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 24, 2022
We use granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development program in German history to study whether government subsidies to firms affect the quantity and quality of bank lending. We combine the universe of recipient firms under the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures program (GRW) with their local banks during 1998-2019. The modalities of GRW subsidies to firms are determined at the EU level. Therefore, we use it to identify bank outcomes. Banks with relationships to more subsidized firms exhibit higher lending volumes without any significant differences in bank stability. Subsidized firms, in turn, borrow more indicating that banks facilitate regional economic development policies.
Climate Change-Related Regulatory Risks and Bank Lending
in: ECB Working Paper, No. 2670, 2022
We identify the effect of climate change-related regulatory risks on credit real-location. Our evidence suggests that effects depend borrower's region. Following an increase in salience of regulatory risks, banks reallocate credit to US firms that could be negatively impacted by regulatory interventions. Conversely, in Europe, banks lend more to firms that could benefit from environmental regulation. The effect is moderated by banks' own loan portfolio composition. Banks with a portfolio tilted towards firms that could be negatively a affected by environmental policies increasingly support these firms. Overall, our results indicate that financial implications of regulation associated with climate change appear to be the main drivers of banks' behavior.
Explaining Regional Disparities in Housing Prices Across German Districts
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.
Stress-ridden Finance and Growth Losses: Does Financial Development Break the Link?
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.
Do We Want These Two to Tango? On Zombie Firms and Stressed Banks in Europe
in: ECB Working Paper, 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.