14.02.2023 • 4/2023
Study on Europe's top bankers: Risky business despite bonus cap
Ten years ago, the EU Parliament decided to cap the flexible remuneration of bank managers. But the cap on bonuses misses its target: Managers of systemically important European banks take high risks without changes, shows a study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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The Geography of Information: Evidence from the Public Debt Market
Journal of Economic Geography,
nWe investigate the link between the spatial concentration of firms in large, central metropolitans (i.e. urban agglomeration) and the cost of public corporate debt. Looking at bond issues over the period 1985–2014, we find that bonds issued by companies headquartered in urban agglomerates have lower at-issue yield spreads than bonds issued by firms based in remote, sparsely populated areas. Measures of the count of institutional bondholders in a firm’s vicinity confirm that the spatial cross-sectional variation in bond spreads is driven by the proximity of metropolitan firms to large concentrations of institutional investors. Our results are robust to controls for firm productivity and governance, analyst following, and exogenous shocks to institutional investor attention. The effect of headquarters location on bond spreads is especially pronounced for more difficult to value, speculative-grade bonds, bonds issued by smaller, less visible firms and bonds issued without protective covenants. Overall, we provide evidence that the geographical distribution of firms and investors generates a corresponding distribution of value-relevant, firm-level information that affects its cost of capital.
The Disciplining Effect of Supervisory Scrutiny in the EU-wide Stress Test
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Relying on confidential supervisory data related to the 2016 EU-wide stress test, this paper presents novel empirical evidence that supervisory scrutiny associated to stress testing has a disciplining effect on bank risk. We find that banks that participated in the 2016 EU-wide stress test subsequently reduced their credit risk relative to banks that were not part of this exercise. Relying on new metrics for supervisory scrutiny that measure the quantity, potential impact, and duration of interactions between banks and supervisors during the stress test, we find that the disciplining effect is stronger for banks subject to more intrusive supervisory scrutiny during the exercise. We also find that a strong risk management culture is a prerequisite for the supervisory scrutiny to be effective. Finally, we show that a similar disciplining effect is not exerted neither by higher capital charges nor by more transparency and related market discipline induced by the stress test.
20.12.2022 • 31/2022
No deep recession despite energy crisis and rise in interest rates
High energy prices and deteriorating financial conditions are weighing on the German economy. However, the period of weakness over the winter is likely to be moderate, partly because the energy price brakes are supporting private incomes. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that due to the recovery from the pandemic in the first three quarters, gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have increased by 1.8% in 2022. Due to high energy prices, however, GDP will slightly decline in the winter months and stagnate on average in 2023. Inflation will fall from 7.8% in 2022 to 6.5% in 2023.
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Physical Climate Change and the Sovereign Risk of Emerging Economies
Journal of Economic Structures,
I show that rising temperatures can detrimentally affect the sovereign creditworthiness of emerging economies. To this end, I collect long-term monthly temperature data of 54 emerging markets. I calculate a country’s temperature deviation from its historical average, which approximates present-day climate change trends. Running regressions from 1994m1 to 2018m12, I find that higher temperature anomalies lower sovereign bond performances (i.e., increase sovereign risk) significantly for countries that are warmer on average and have lower seasonality. The estimated magnitudes suggest that affected countries likely face significant increases in their sovereign borrowing costs if temperatures continue to rise due to climate change. However, results indicate that stronger institutions can make a country more resilient towards temperature shocks, which holds independent of a country’s climate.
Automation with Heterogeneous Agents: The Effect on Consumption Inequality
IWH Discussion Papers,
In this paper, I study technological change as a candidate for the observed increase in consumption inequality in the United States. I build an incomplete market model with educational choice combined with a task-based model on the production side. I consider two channels through which technology affects inequality: the skill that an agent can supply in the labor market and the level of capital she owns. In a quantitative analysis, I show that (i) the model replicates the increase in consumption inequality between 1981 and 2008 in the US (ii) educational choice and the return to wealth are quantitatively important in explaining the increase in consumption inequality.
Real Estate Transaction Taxes and Credit Supply
IWH Discussion Papers,
We exploit staggered real estate transaction tax (RETT) hikes across German states to identify the effect of house price changes on mortgage credit supply. Based on approximately 33 million real estate online listings, we construct a quarterly hedonic house price index (HPI) between 2008:q1 and 2017:q4, which we instrument with state-specific RETT changes to isolate the effect on mortgage credit supply by all local German banks. First, a RETT hike by one percentage point reduces HPI by 1.2%. This effect is driven by listings in rural regions. Second, a 1% contraction of HPI induced by an increase in the RETT leads to a 1.4% decline in mortgage lending. This transmission of fiscal policy to mortgage credit supply is effective across almost the entire bank capitalization distribution.
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