The New Europe
The new Europe The financial crisis is largely over, yet confidence in the ECB and EU...
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Journal of Banking & Finance,
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.
Does Machine Learning Help us Predict Banking Crises? ...
Works Councils and Other Plant-specific Forms of Employee Participation – Substitutes or Complements?
Using data from the IAB Establishment Panel (2004-2013), this paper analyses the incidence, development and interdependence of works councils and other, typically managementinitiated forms of employee participation (such as round tables) in Germany. In the private sector, the incidence of works councils and other forms of participation is similar, but in very few establishments both bodies exist simultaneously. Econometric analyses based on recursive probit models indicate that partly different factors explain the existence of works councils and other forms of participation. Both bodies correlate negatively with respect to their incidence, foundation, and dissolution. This suggests that there exists a predominantly substitutive relationship between works councils and other forms of employee participation.
Qual VAR Revisited: Good Forecast, Bad Story
Journal of Applied Economics,
Due to the recent financial crisis, the interest in econometric models that allow to incorporate binary variables (such as the occurrence of a crisis) experienced a huge surge. This paper evaluates the performance of the Qual VAR, originally proposed by Dueker (2005). The Qual VAR is a VAR model including a latent variable that governs the behavior of an observable binary variable. While we find that the Qual VAR performs reasonable well in forecasting (outperforming a probit benchmark), there are substantial identification problems even in a simple VAR specification. Typically, identification in economic applications is far more difficult than in our simple benchmark. Therefore, when the economic interpretation of the dynamic behavior of the latent variable and the chain of causality matter, use of the Qual VAR is inadvisable.
Sign Restrictions, Structural Vector Autoregressions, and Useful Prior Information
This paper makes the following original contributions to the literature. (i) We develop a simpler analytical characterization and numerical algorithm for Bayesian inference in structural vector autoregressions (VARs) that can be used for models that are overidentified, just‐identified, or underidentified. (ii) We analyze the asymptotic properties of Bayesian inference and show that in the underidentified case, the asymptotic posterior distribution of contemporaneous coefficients in an n‐variable VAR is confined to the set of values that orthogonalize the population variance–covariance matrix of ordinary least squares residuals, with the height of the posterior proportional to the height of the prior at any point within that set. For example, in a bivariate VAR for supply and demand identified solely by sign restrictions, if the population correlation between the VAR residuals is positive, then even if one has available an infinite sample of data, any inference about the demand elasticity is coming exclusively from the prior distribution. (iii) We provide analytical characterizations of the informative prior distributions for impulse‐response functions that are implicit in the traditional sign‐restriction approach to VARs, and we note, as a special case of result (ii), that the influence of these priors does not vanish asymptotically. (iv) We illustrate how Bayesian inference with informative priors can be both a strict generalization and an unambiguous improvement over frequentist inference in just‐identified models. (v) We propose that researchers need to explicitly acknowledge and defend the role of prior beliefs in influencing structural conclusions and we illustrate how this could be done using a simple model of the U.S. labor market.
Should I Stay or Should I Go? Bank Productivity and Internationalization Decisions
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Differences in firm-level productivity explain international activities of non-financial firms quite well. We test whether differences in bank productivity determine international activities of banks. Based on a dataset that allows tracking banks across countries and across different modes of foreign entry, we model the ordered probability of maintaining a commercial presence abroad and the volume of banks’ international assets empirically. Our research has three main findings. First, more productive banks are more likely to enter foreign markets in increasingly complex modes. Second, more productive banks also hold larger volumes of foreign assets. Third, higher risk aversion renders entry less likely, but it increases the volume of foreign activities conditional upon entry.
Forecast Dispersion, Dissenting Votes, and Monetary Policy Preferences of FOMC Members: The Role of Individual Career Characteristics and Political Aspects
Using data from 1992 to 2001, we study the impact of members’ economic forecasts on the probability of casting dissenting votes in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Employing standard ordered probit techniques, we find that higher individual inflation and real GDP growth forecasts (relative to the committee’s median) significantly increase the probability of dissenting in favor of tighter monetary policy, whereas higher individual unemployment rate forecasts significantly decrease it. Using interaction models, we find that FOMC members with longer careers in government, industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or on the staff of the Board of Governors are more focused on output stabilization, while FOMC members with longer careers in the financial sector or on the staffs of regional Federal Reserve Banks are more focused on inflation stabilization. We also find evidence that politics matters, with Republican appointees being much more focused on inflation stabilization than Democratic appointees. Moreover, during the entire Clinton administration ‘natural’ monetary policy preferences of Bank presidents and Board members for inflation and output stabilization were more pronounced than under periods covering the administrations of both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively.