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


The Impact of Fixed Exchange Rates on Fiscal Discipline

Makram El-Shagi

in: Scottish Journal of Political Economy, No. 5, 2011


In this paper, it is shown that, contrary to standard arguments, fiscal discipline is not substantially enhanced by a fixed exchange rate regime. This study is based on data from 116 countries collected from 1975 to 2004 and uses various estimation techniques for dynamic panel data, in particular a GMM estimation in the tradition Arellano and Bover (1995) and Blundell and Bond (1998). Contrary to previous papers on this topic, the present paper takes into account that the consequences of a new exchange rate regime do not necessarily fully manifest immediately.

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The Role of Rating Agencies in Financial Crises: Event Studies from the Asian Flu

Makram El-Shagi

in: Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2010


Based on case studies from countries that have been hit hardest by the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the present paper shows that the accusation that sovereign ratings led to a severe acceleration of the crisis is unconvincing and that the empirical method often used to support accusations against rating agencies is inappropriate for the problem under analysis. Rather, it must be emphasised that ratings were downgraded in most countries very shortly before the end of the crisis. In some countries, the ratings were even further downgraded after the end of the crisis as countries started to recover. This is not in line with the thesis that the crisis was accelerated by rating agencies.

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Capital Controls and International Interest Rate Differentials

Makram El-Shagi

in: Applied Economics, 2010


Since the Asian crises it is often taken as granted that capital markets have significant functional deficits. Often these deficits are believed to be so very strong that the ability of free capital markets to guarantee a more or less correct international allocation of capital is denied. It is argued that speculation dominates capital markets so much that capital allocation is purely random. This is one of the major arguments backing the present trend to re-establish capital controls, which emerged after the capital market distortions observed during the Asian flu. In the present article it is shown that capital markets, while certainly prone to many distortions, are well capable of roughly guiding capital to the proper place. Though allocation is not model-like perfect, this steals the thunder from the idea, that closed or government-guided capital markets were able to perform better.

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Working Papers


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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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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