Exploring the Economic Convergence in the EU New Member States by Using Nonparametric Models
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyzes the process of real economic convergence in the New Member States (NMS) bein g formerly centrally planned economies, using nonparametric methods instead of conventional parametric measurement tools like beta and sigma models. This methodological framework allows the examining of the relative income distribution in different periods of time, the number of modes of the density distribution, the existence of “convergence clubs” in the distribution and the hypothesis of convergence at a single point in time. The modality tests (e.g. the ASH-WARPing procedure) and stochastic kernel are nonparametric techniques used in the empirical part of the study to examine the income distribution in the NMS area. Additionally, random effects panel regressions are used, but only for comparison reasons. The main findings of the paper are the bimodality of the income density distribution over time and across countries, and the presence of convergence clubs in the income distribution from 1995 to 2008. The findings suggest a lack of absolute convergence in the long term (1995-2008) and also when looking only from 2003 onwards. The paper concludes that, in comparison with the parametrical approach, the nonparametric one gives a deeper, real and richer perspective on the process of real convergence in the NMS area.
Banking Integration, Bank Stability, and Regulation: Introduction to a Special Issue of the International Journal of Central Banking
International Journal of Central Banking,
The link between banking integration and financial stability has taken center stage in the wake of the current financial crisis. To what extent is the banking system in Europe integrated? What role has the introduction of the common currency played in this context? Are integrated banking markets more vulnerable to contagion and financial instability? Does the fragmented regulatory framework in Europe pose special problems in resolving bank failures? What policy reforms may become necessary? These questions are of considerable policy interest as evidenced by the extensive discussions surrounding the design and implementation of a new regulatory regime and by the increasing attention coming from academia.
Contestability, Technology and Banking
ZEW Discussion Papers, No. 09-007,
We estimate the effect of internet penetration on retail bank margins in the euro area. Based on an adapted Baumol  type contestability model, we argue that the internet has reduced sunk costs and therefore increased contestability in retail banking. We test this conjecture by estimating the model using semi-aggregated data for a panel of euro area countries. We utilise time series and cross-sectional variation in internet penetration. We find support for an increase in contestability in deposit markets, and no effect for loan markets. The paper suggests that for time and savings deposits, the presence of brick and mortar bank branches may no longer be of first order importance for the assessment of the competitive structure of the market.
Growth, Volatility, and Credit Market Imperfections: Evidence from German Firms
Journal of Economic Studies,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it studies whether output volatility and growth are linked at the firm-level, using data for German firms. Second, it explores whether the link between volatility and growth depends on the degree of credit market imperfections.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a novel firm-level dataset provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the so-called Financial Statements Data Pool. The dataset has time series observations for German firms for the period 1997-2004, and the authors use information on the debt-to-assets or leverage ratio of firms to proxy for credit-constraints at the firm-level. As additional proxies for the importance of credit market imperfections, we use information on the size and on the legal status of firms.
Findings – The authors find that higher volatility has a negative impact on growth for small and a positive impact for larger firms. Higher leverage is associated with higher growth. At the same time, there is heterogeneity in the determinants of growth across firms from different sectors and across firms with a different legal status.
Practical implications – While most traditional macroeconomic models assume that growth and volatility are uncorrelated, a number of microeconomic models suggest that the two may be linked. However, it is unclear whether the link is positive or negative. The paper presents additional evidence regarding this question. Moreover, understanding whether credit market conditions affect the link between volatility and growth is of importance for policy makers since it suggests a channel through which the credit market can have long-run welfare implications. The results stress the importance of firm-level heterogeneity for the effects and effectiveness of economic policy measures.
Originality/value – The paper has two main novel features. First, it uses a novel firm-level dataset to analyze the determinants of firm-level growth. Second, it analyzes the growth-volatility nexus using firm-level data. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper, which addresses the link between volatility, growth, and credit market imperfections using firm-level data.
In which Ways do Universities React to New Technologies? The Case of Photovoltaics
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Universities can be conceived as actors in regional innovative systems with the functions to make available new knowledge for a region, to contribute to the human capital formation by teaching, and to the extension of the knowledge by research. These functions are in particular important concerning the adaptation of new technologies, e.g. photovoltaics. 89 German universities – amongst them 65 universities of applied sciences – meanwhile offer 171 full-time study courses with a degree oriented to photovoltaics. Each federal state has at least one university location offering such degrees. A certain spatial concentration of courses can be shown for Saxony, for the Ruhr Area and for the Rhine Main Region. Almost 90% of the degrees are offered by faculties of engineering. 43% of the universities with degrees in photovoltaics have successfully applied for research grants from the photovoltaics research programs of the federal government. These numbers show a spatial concentration of research in the South whereas the photovoltaics industry is concentrated in the East of Germany. This distribution indicates that the research opportunities tied to the photovoltaics industry are not in the Eastern part of Germany. Further research will have to pay more attention to the role of research institutes.
Why do we have an interbank money market?
IWH Discussion Papers,
The interbank money market plays a key role in the execution of monetary policy. Hence, it is important to know the functioning of this market and the determinants of the interbank money market rate. In this paper, we develop an interbank money market model with a heterogeneous banking sector. We show that besides for balancing daily liquidity fluctuations banks participate in the interbank market because they have different marginal costs of obtaining funds from the central bank. In the euro area, which we refer to, these cost differences occur because banks have different marginal cost of collateral which they need to hold to obtain funds from the central bank. Banks with relatively low marginal costs act as intermediaries between the central bank and banks with relatively high marginal costs. The necessary positive spread between the interbank market rate and the central bank rate is determined by transaction costs and credit risk in the interbank market, total liquidity needs of the banking sector, costs of obtaining funds from the central bank, and the distribution of the latter across banks.
Bank Concentration and Retail Interest Rates
Journal of Banking & Finance,
The recent wave of mergers in the euro area raises the question whether the increase in concentration has offset the increase in competition in European banking through deregulation. We test this question by estimating a simple Cournot model of bank pricing. We construct country and product specific measures of bank concentration and find that for loans and demand deposits increasing concentration may have resulted in less competitive pricing by banks, whereas for savings and time deposits, the model is rejected, suggesting increases in contestability and/or efficiency in these markets. Finally, the paper discusses some implications for tests of the effect of concentration on monetary policy transmission.