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 Cluster
Financial Stability and Regulation

Your contact

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz
Mitglied - Department Macroeconomics
Send Message +49 345 7753-744 Personal page


01.2018 ‐ 12.2018

International Monetary Policy Transmission

Deutsche Bundesbank

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz

01.2017 ‐ 12.2018

Early-warning Models for Systemic Banking Crises

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Professor Dr Gregor von Schweinitz

Refereed Publications


The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, 2018


Can a negative shock to sovereign ratings invoke a vicious cycle of increasing government bond yields and further downgrades, ultimately pushing a country toward default? The narratives of public and political discussions, as well as of some widely cited papers, suggest this possibility. In this paper, we will investigate the possible existence of such a vicious cycle. We find no evidence of a bad long-run equilibrium and cannot confirm a feedback loop leading into default as a transitory state for all but the very worst ratings. We use a bivariate semiparametric dynamic panel model to reproduce the joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields. The individual equations resemble Pesaran-type cointegration models, which allow for valid interference regardless of whether the employed variables display unit-root behavior. To incorporate most of the empirical features previously documented (separately) in the literature, we allow for different long-run relationships in both equations, nonlinearities in the level effects of ratings, and asymmetric effects in changes of ratings and yields. Our finding of a single good equilibrium implies the slow convergence of ratings and yields toward this equilibrium. However, the persistence of ratings is sufficiently high that a rating shock can have substantial costs if it occurs at a highly speculative rating or lower. Rating shocks that drive the rating below this threshold can increase the interest rate sharply, and for a long time. Yet, simulation studies based on our estimations show that it is highly improbable that rating agencies can be made responsible for the most dramatic spikes in interest rates.

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Real Effective Exchange Rate Misalignment in the Euro Area: A Counterfactual Analysis

Makram El-Shagi Axel Lindner Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Review of International Economics, No. 1, 2016


The European debt crisis has revealed severe imbalances within the Euro area, sparking a debate about the magnitude of those imbalances, in particular concerning real effective exchange rate misalignments. We use synthetic matching to construct a counterfactual economy for each member state in order to identify the degree of these misalignments. We find that crisis countries are best described as a combination of advanced and emerging economies. Comparing the actual real effective exchange rate with those of the counterfactuals gives evidence of misalignments before the outbreak of the crisis: all peripheral countries appear strongly and significantly overvalued.

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Financial Constraints on Growth: Comparing the Balkans to Other Transition Economies

Hubert Gabrisch

in: Eastern European Economics, No. 4, 2015


This article applies an adjusted growth diagnostic approach to identify the currently most binding constraint on financing growth in the West Balkan countries. Since this group of economies faces both structural and systemic transformation problems, the original supply-side approach might not be sufficient to detect the most binding constraint. The results of the analysis indicate that the binding constraint on credit and investment growth in the region is the high and increasing share of nonperforming loans, primarily in the household sector, due to policy failures. This article compares the Balkan countries to a group of advanced transition economies. Single-country and panel regressions indicate that demand-side factors do not play a constraining role on growth in the West Balkan countries, but they do in the advanced transition economies.

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Risk and Return - Is there an Unholy Cycle of Ratings and Yields?

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Economics Letters, 2015


After every major financial crisis, the question about the responsibility of the rating agencies resurfaces. Regarding government bonds, the most frequently voiced concern targeted “unreasonably” bad ratings that might trigger capital flights and increasing risk premia which sanction further rating downgrades. In this paper we develop a multivariate, nonparametric version of the Pesaran type cointegration model that allows for nonlinearities, to show that a unique equilibrium between ratings and sovereign yields exists. Therefore, we have to reject the concern that there is an unholy cycle leading to certain default in the long run.

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Spillover Effects among Financial Institutions: A State-dependent Sensitivity Value-at-Risk Approach

Z. Adams R. Füss Reint E. Gropp

in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, No. 3, 2014


In this paper, we develop a state-dependent sensitivity value-at-risk (SDSVaR) approach that enables us to quantify the direction, size, and duration of risk spillovers among financial institutions as a function of the state of financial markets (tranquil, normal, and volatile). For four sets of major financial institutions (commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds, and insurance companies) we show that while small during normal times, equivalent shocks lead to considerable spillover effects in volatile market periods. Commercial banks and, especially, hedge funds appear to play a major role in the transmission of shocks to other financial institutions.

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Working Papers

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