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


Cross-border Interbank Networks, Banking Risk and Contagion

Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of Financial Stability, 2015


Recent events have highlighted the role of cross-border linkages between banking systems in transmitting local developments across national borders. This paper analyzes whether international linkages in interbank markets affect the stability of interconnected banking systems and channel financial distress within a network consisting of banking systems of the main advanced countries for the period 1994–2012. Methodologically, I use a spatial modeling approach to test for spillovers in cross-border interbank markets. The results suggest that foreign exposures in banking play a significant role in channeling banking risk: I find that countries that are linked through foreign borrowing or lending positions to more stable banking systems abroad are significantly affected by positive spillover effects. From a policy point of view, this implies that in stable times, linkages in the banking system can be beneficial, while they have to be taken with caution in times of financial turmoil affecting the whole system.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Bank Productivity and Internationalization Decisions

Claudia M. Buch C. T. Koch Michael Koetter

in: Journal of Banking and Finance, No. 42, 2014


Differences in firm-level productivity explain international activities of non-financial firms quite well. We test whether differences in bank productivity determine international activities of banks. Based on a dataset that allows tracking banks across countries and across different modes of foreign entry, we model the ordered probability of maintaining a commercial presence abroad and the volume of banks’ international assets empirically. Our research has three main findings. First, more productive banks are more likely to enter foreign markets in increasingly complex modes. Second, more productive banks also hold larger volumes of foreign assets. Third, higher risk aversion renders entry less likely, but it increases the volume of foreign activities conditional upon entry.

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The Impact of Public Guarantees on Bank Risk-taking: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Reint E. Gropp C. Gruendl Andre Guettler

in: Review of Finance, No. 2, 2014


In 2001, government guarantees for savings banks in Germany were removed following a lawsuit. We use this natural experiment to examine the effect of government guarantees on bank risk-taking. The results suggest that banks whose government guarantee was removed reduced credit risk by cutting off the riskiest borrowers from credit. Using a difference-in-differences approach we show that none of these effects are present in a control group of German banks to whom the guarantee was not applicable. Furthermore, savings banks adjusted their liabilities away from risk-sensitive debt instruments after the removal of the guarantee, while we do not observe this for the control group. We also document that yield spreads of savings banks’ bonds increased significantly right after the announcement of the decision to remove guarantees, while the yield spread of a sample of bonds issued by the control group remained unchanged. The evidence implies that public guarantees may be associated with substantial moral hazard effects.

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Do Banks Benefit from Internationalization? Revisiting the Market Power–Risk Nexus

Claudia M. Buch C. T. Koch Michael Koetter

in: Review of Finance, No. 4, 2013


We analyze the impact of bank internationalization on domestic market power (Lerner index) and risk for German banks. Risk is measured by the official declaration of regulatory authorities that a bank is distressed. We distinguish the volume of foreign assets, the number of foreign countries, and different modes of foreign entry. Our analysis has three main results. First, higher market power is associated with lower risk. Second, holding assets in many countries reduce market power at home, but banks with a higher share of foreign assets exhibit higher market power. Third, bank internationalization is only weakly related to bank risk.

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Initial Evidence from a New Database on Capital Market Restrictions

Makram El-Shagi

in: Panoeconomicus, No. 3, 2012


One of the key obstacles to the empirical analysis of capital controls has been the unavailability of a detailed set of indicators for controls that cover a broad set of countries over a range of years. In this paper, we propose a new set of indicators derived from the Annual Reports on Exchange Arrangements and Export Restrictions. Contrary to most earlier attempts to construct control indicators from this source, our set of indices allows one to analyze the control intensity separately for inflow, outflow and repatriation controls. An additional set of indicators features information on the institutional design of controls. At first glance, the data show that the financial crisis caused a surge in capital market restrictions, most notably concerning the derivatives market. This reflex, which is not justified by the scarce empirical evidence on the success of controls, shows the importance of having a valid measure to allow an econometrically sound policy evaluation in this field. The data are available from the author upon request.

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Working Papers


Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Stability

Aleksandr Kazakov Michael Koetter Mirko Titze Lena Tonzer

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.

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Climate Change-Related Regulatory Risks and Bank Lending

Isabella Müller Eleonora Sfrappini

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.

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

Manuela Storz Michael Koetter Ralph Setzer Andreas Westphal

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.

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