Cross-country Evidence on the Relationship between Regulations and the Development of the Life Insurance Sector
Using a global sample, this study sketches the impact of insurance regulations on the life insurance sector, revealing a significant negative association between supervisory control on policy conditions of life annuities as well as pension products and the development of the industry. A similar inverse relation is observed between the index of capital requirements and insurance development. These results hold when we control for demographic factors, economic factors, religious inclination, culture, as well as for other relevant regulations. We also find some evidence that while the overall supervisory power does not matter, the ability to intervene at an early stage could have a positive effect on insurance development. Additionally, the impact of some regulations appears to differ between advanced and developing countries.
National Culture and Housing Credit
Journal of Empirical Finance,
Using a sample of around 30 countries over the period 2001–2015, this study provides evidence that deeply rooted cultural differences are significantly associated with the use of mortgage debt. More detailed, we find that power distance and uncertainty avoidance have a negative impact on the value of the total outstanding residential loans to GDP. This finding is robust across various specifications and the use of alternative measures of mortgage debt. In contrast, trust has a positive and robust impact on all the measures of mortgage debt. Other dimensions of national culture like long-term orientation, individualism, and indulgence, also appear to matter; however, their impact depends on the control variables and the employed measure of mortgage debt.
12.02.2020 • 2/2020
Causes of populism: IWH begins international research project
Is the increasing strength of populist parties due to economic causes? The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) is set to play a leading role in scrutinising this controversial question with immediate effect, together with researchers from England, Scotland and the Czech Republic. The Volkswagen Foundation is funding this interdisciplinary project to the tune of almost one million euro for four years.
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Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness Against Your Customers: Cultural Norms and the Volkswagen Scandal
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper investigates whether cultural norms shaped by religion drive consumer decisions after a corporate scandal. We exploit the unexpected notice of violation by the US Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015, accusing the car producer Volkswagen (VW) to have used software to manipulate car emission values during test phases. Using a difference-in-difference model, we show that new registrations of VW (diesel) cars decline significantly in German counties with a high share of Protestants following the VW scandal. Our results suggest that the enforcement culture rooted in Protestantism affects consumer decisions and penalises corporate fraud.
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National Culture and Risk-taking: Evidence from the Insurance Industry
Journal of Business Research,
The gravity of insurance within the financial sector is constantly increasing. Reasonably, after the events of the recent financial turmoil, the domain of research that examines the factors driving the risk-taking of this industry has been signified. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the interplay between national culture and risk of insurance firms. We quantify the cultural overtones, measuring national culture considering the dimensions outlined by the Hofstede model and risk-taking using the ‘Z-score’. In a sample consisting of 801 life and non-life insurance firms operating across 42 countries over the period 2007–2016, we find a strong and significant relationship among insurance firms' risk-taking and cultural characteristics, such as individualism, uncertainty avoidance and power distance. Results remain robust to a variety of firm and country-specific controls, alternative measures of risk, sample specifications and tests designed to alleviate endogeneity.
‘And Forgive Us Our Debts’: Do Christian Moralities Influence Over-indebtedness of Individuals?
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyses whether Christian moralities and rules formed differently by Catholics and Protestants impact the likelihood of households to become overindebted. We find that over-indebtedness is lower in regions in which Catholics outweigh Protestants, indicating that Catholics‘ forgiveness culture and a stricter enforcement of rules by Protestants serve as explanations for our results. Our results provide evidence that religion affects the financial situations of individuals and show that even 500 years after the split between Catholics and Protestants, the differences in the mind-sets of both denominations play an important role for situations of severe financial conditions.