Volatility, Growth and Financial Crises
This research group belongs to the IWH Research Cluster Financial Stability and Regulation. Against the backdrop of the latest crisis, the link between financial instability and growth is of particular interest in countries with highly developed financial systems. Financial development may dampen volatility if real sector shocks dominate, but it may also enhance volatility if financial shocks dominate. Thus, occasional financial crises may correspond to stronger long-term growth. However, fundamental mispricing and bubbles on asset markets may also create a link between financial stability and growth working in the opposite direction. Mispricing hampers growth by promoting inefficient allocations. The goal of this group is to explore the relationship between finance and growth by disentangling the fundamental links between financial volatility and macroeconomic dynamics. Thus, this group will contribute to the literature on quantitative macroeconomic models as well as the literature on early-warning tools, strengthening the IWH’s competences in the fields of macroeconomic modelling, forecasting and policy analysis.
IWH Data Project: Financial Stability Indicators in Europe
Research ClusterFinancial Stability and Regulation
01.2017 ‐ 12.2018
Early-warning Models for Systemic Banking Crises
German Research Foundation (DFG)
01.2018 ‐ 12.2018
International Monetary Policy Transmission
Optimizing Policymakers’ Loss Functions in Crisis Prediction: Before, Within or After?
in: Macroeconomic Dynamics, forthcoming
Early-warning models most commonly optimize signaling thresholds on crisis probabilities. The expost threshold optimization is based upon a loss function accounting for preferences between forecast errors, but comes with two crucial drawbacks: unstable thresholds in recursive estimations and an in-sample overfit at the expense of out-of-sample performance. We propose two alternatives for threshold setting: (i) including preferences in the estimation itself and (ii) setting thresholds ex-ante according to preferences only. Given probabilistic model output, it is intuitive that a decision rule is independent of the data or model specification, as thresholds on probabilities represent a willingness to issue a false alarm vis-à-vis missing a crisis. We provide simulated and real-world evidence that this simplification results in stable thresholds and improves out-of-sample performance. Our solution is not restricted to binary-choice models, but directly transferable to the signaling approach and all probabilistic early-warning models.
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
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.
Real Effective Exchange Rate Misalignment in the Euro Area: A Counterfactual Analysis
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.
Financial Constraints on Growth: Comparing the Balkans to Other Transition Economies
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.
Risk and Return - Is there an Unholy Cycle of Ratings and Yields?
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.
Did the Swiss Exchange Rate Shock Shock the Market?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 9, 2018
The Swiss National Bank abolished the exchange rate floor versus the Euro in January 2015. Based on a synthetic matching framework, we analyse the impact of this unexpected (and therefore exogenous) shock on the stock market. The results reveal a significant level shift (decline) in asset prices in Switzerland following the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate. While adjustments in stock market returns were most pronounced directly after the news announcement, the variance was elevated for some weeks, indicating signs of increased uncertainty and potentially negative consequences for the real economy.
On the Empirics of Reserve Requirements and Economic Growth
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2018
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 credit and GDP growth making use of Bayesian model averaging methods. In terms of credit growth, we can show that initial negative effects of higher reserve requirements (which are often reported in the literature) tend to be short-lived and turn positive in the longer run. In terms of GDP per capita growth, we find on average a negative but not robust effect of regulation in tranquil times, which is only partly offset by a positive but also not robust effect in crisis times.
Sovereign Stress, Banking Stress, and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism in the Euro Area
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2018
In this paper, we investigate to what extent sovereign stress and banking stress have contributed to the increase in the level and in the heterogeneity of non-financial firms’ financing costs in the Euro area during the European debt crisis and how both have affected the monetary transmission mechanism. Employing a large firm-level data set containing two million observations, we are able to identify the effect of government bond yield spreads (sovereign stress) and the share of non-performing loans (banking stress) on firms‘ financing costs in a panel model by assuming that idiosyncratic shocks to individual firms are uncorrelated with country-specific variables. We find that the two sources of stress have increased firms’ financing costs controlling for country and firm-specific factors. Moreover, we estimate both to have significantly impaired the monetary transmission mechanism.
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.