Volatility, Growth and Financial Crises
This research group analyses the build-up of financial vulnerabilities and real consequences of financial crises. Different policy shocks and the causal reaction of macroeconomic aggregates are identified. Early-warning models describe the cyclical nature of financial vulnerabilities.
IWH Data Project: Financial Stability Indicators in Europe
Research ClusterFinancial Stability and Regulation
01.2018 ‐ 12.2018
International Monetary Policy Transmission
01.2017 ‐ 12.2018
Early-warning Models for Systemic Banking Crises
German Research Foundation (DFG)
Drawing Conclusions from Structural Vector Autoregressions Identified on the Basis of Sign Restrictions
in: Journal of International Money and Finance, December 2020
This paper discusses the problems associated with using information about the signs of certain magnitudes as a basis for drawing structural conclusions in vector autoregressions. We also review available tools to solve these problems. For illustration we use Dahlhaus and Vasishtha’s (2019) study of the effects of a U.S. monetary contraction on capital flows to emerging markets. We explain why sign restrictions alone are not enough to allow us to answer the question and suggest alternative approaches that could be used.
Trade Effects of Silver Price Fluctuations in 19th-Century China: A Macro Approach
in: China Economic Journal, 2020
We assess the role of silver price fluctuations in Chinese trade and GDP during the late Qing dynasty, when China still had a bimetallic (silver/copper) monetary system, in which silver was mostly used for international trade. Using a structural VAR (SVAR) with blockwise recursive identification, we identify the impact of silver price shocks on the Chinese economy from 1867, when trade data became available, to 1910, one year before the Qing dynasty collapsed. We find that silver price shocks had a sizable impact on both imports and exports but only a very minor effect on the trade balance, only a marginal impact on growth, and almost no effect on domestic prices. Stronger effects were partly mitigated by inelastic export quantities. Generally, the effect of silver price shocks, while considerable, was only short-lived, displaying no persistence in either direction. We find that the bimetallic system in Qing China might have mitigated a potential positive effect of silver depreciation but did not reverse the effect, which – contrary to claims made in the previous literature – was responsible for neither the worsening trade balance nor the inflation and the quickly increasing imports that occurred during our sample period.
Does Machine Learning Help us Predict Banking Crises?
in: Journal of Financial Stability, December 2019read publication
On the Empirics of Reserve Requirements and Economic Growth
in: Journal of Macroeconomics, June 2019
Reserve requirements, as a tool of macroprudential policy, have been increasingly employed since the outbreak of the great financial crisis. We conduct an analysis of the effect of reserve requirements in tranquil and crisis times on long-run growth rates of GDP per capita and credit (%GDP) making use of Bayesian model averaging methods. Regulation has on average a negative effect on GDP in tranquil times, which is only partly offset by a positive (but not robust effect) in crisis times. Credit over GDP is positively affected by higher requirements in the longer run.
Structural Interpretation of Vector Autoregressions with Incomplete Identification: Revisiting the Role of Oil Supply and Demand Shocks
in: American Economic Review, No. 5, 2019
Traditional approaches to structural vector autoregressions (VARs) can be viewed as special cases of Bayesian inference arising from very strong prior beliefs. These methods can be generalized with a less restrictive formulation that incorporates uncertainty about the identifying assumptions themselves. We use this approach to revisit the importance of shocks to oil supply and demand. Supply disruptions turn out to be a bigger factor in historical oil price movements and inventory accumulation a smaller factor than implied by earlier estimates. Supply shocks lead to a reduction in global economic activity after a significant lag, whereas shocks to oil demand do not.
Inflation Dynamics During the Financial Crisis in Europe: Cross-sectional Identification of Long-run Inflation Expectations
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 10, 2017
We investigate drivers of Euro area inflation dynamics using a panel of regional Phillips curves and identify long-run inflation expectations by exploiting the crosssectional dimension of the data. Our approach simultaneously allows for the inclusion of country-specific inflation and unemployment-gaps, as well as time-varying parameters. Our preferred panel specification outperforms various aggregate, uni- and multivariate unobserved component models in terms of forecast accuracy. We find that declining long-run trend inflation expectations and rising inflation persistence indicate an altered risk of inflation expectations de-anchoring. Lower trend inflation, and persistently negative unemployment-gaps, a slightly increasing Phillips curve slope and the downward pressure of low oil prices mainly explain the low inflation rate during the recent years.
Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Rational Inattention of Rating Agencies
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2017
Sovereign ratings have frequently failed to predict crises. However, the literature has focused on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. We fill this gap by explicitly differentiating between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. Thereby, we account for rational inattention of rating agencies that exists due to costs of reassessment. Exploiting information of rating announcements, we show that (i) the proposed differentiation significantly improves estimation; (ii) rating agencies consider many nonfundamental factors in their reassessment decision; (iii) markets only react to ratings providing new information; (iv) developed countries get preferential treatment.
Much Ado About Nothing: Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields in the OECD
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 22, 2016
In this paper, we propose a new method to assess the impact of sovereign ratings on sovereign bond yields. We estimate the impulse response of the interest rate, following a change in the rating. Since ratings are ordinal and moreover extremely persistent, it proves difficult to estimate those impulse response functions using a VAR modeling ratings, yields and other macroeconomic indicators. However, given the highly stochastic nature of the precise timing of ratings, we can treat most rating adjustments as shocks. We thus no longer rely on a VAR for shock identification, making the estimation of the corresponding IRFs well suited for so called local projections – that is estimating impulse response functions through a series of separate direct forecasts over different horizons. Yet, the rare occurrence of ratings makes impulse response functions estimated through that procedure highly sensitive to individual observations, resulting in implausibly volatile impulse responses. We propose an augmentation to restrict jointly estimated local projections in a way that produces economically plausible impulse response functions.
Exit Expectations and Debt Crises in Currency Unions
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2015
Membership in a currency union is not irreversible. Exit expectations may emerge during sovereign debt crises, because exit allows countries to reduce their liabilities through a currency redenomination. As market participants anticipate this possibility, sovereign debt crises intensify. We establish this formally within a small open economy model of changing policy regimes. The model permits explosive dynamics of debt and sovereign yields inside currency unions and allows us to distinguish between exit expectations and those of an outright default. By estimating the model on Greek data, we quantify the contribution of exit expectations to the crisis dynamics during 2009 to 2012.
Flight Patterns and Yields of European Government Bonds
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 10, 2013
The current European Debt Crisis has led to a reinforced effort to identify the sources of risk and their influence on yields of European Government Bonds. Until now, the potentially nonlinear influence and the theoretical need for interactions reflecting flight-to-quality and flight-to-liquidity has been widely disregarded. I estimate government bond yields of the Euro-12 countries without Luxembourg from May 2003 until December 2011. Using penalized spline regression, I find that the effect of most explanatory variables is highly nonlinear. These nonlinearities, together with flight patterns of flight-to-quality and flight-to-liquidity, can explain the co-movement of bond yields until September 2008 and the huge amount of differentiation during the financial and the European debt crisis without the unnecessary assumption of a structural break. The main effects are credit risk and flight-to-liquidity, while the evidence for the existence of flight-to-quality and liquidity risk (the latter measured by the bid-ask spread and total turnover of bonds) is comparably weak.