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Asymmetric Investment Responses to Firm-specific Uncertainty
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyzes how firm-specific uncertainty affects firms’ propensity to invest. We measure firm-specific uncertainty as firms’ absolute forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011. In line with the literature, our empirical findings reveal a negative impact of firm-specific uncertainty on investment. However, further results show that the investment response is asymmetric, depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines significantly if the realized situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust their investment if the realized situation is better than expected, which suggests that the uncertainty effect counteracts the positive effect due to unexpectedly favorable business conditions. This can be one explanation behind the phenomenon of slow recovery in the aftermath of financial crises. Additional results show that the forecast error is highly concurrent with an ex-ante measure of firm-specific uncertainty we obtain from the survey data. Furthermore, the effect of firm-specific uncertainty is enforced for firms that face a tighter financing situation.
Macroeconomic Factors and Microlevel Bank Behavior
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking,
We analyze the link between banks and the macroeconomy using a model that extends a macroeconomic VAR for the U.S. with a set of factors summarizing conditions in about 1,500 commercial banks. We investigate how macroeconomic shocks are transmitted to individual banks and obtain the following main findings. Backward-looking risk of a representative bank declines, and bank lending increases following expansionary shocks. Forward-looking risk increases following an expansionary monetary policy shock. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity in the transmission of macroeconomic shocks, which is due to bank size, capitalization, liquidity, risk, and the exposure to real estate and consumer loans.
Macroeconomic Factors and Micro-Level Bank Risk
Bundesbank Discussion Paper 20/2010,
The interplay between banks and the macroeconomy is of key importance for financial and economic stability. We analyze this link using a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) which extends a standard VAR for the U.S. macroeconomy. The model includes GDP growth, inflation, the Federal Funds rate, house price inflation, and a set of factors summarizing conditions in the banking sector. We use data of more than 1,500 commercial banks from the U.S. call reports to address the following questions. How are macroeconomic shocks transmitted to bank risk and other banking variables? What are the sources of bank heterogeneity, and what explains differences in individual banks’ responses to macroeconomic shocks? Our paper has two main findings: (i) Average bank risk declines, and average bank lending increases following expansionary shocks. (ii) The heterogeneity of banks is characterized by idiosyncratic shocks and the asymmetric transmission of common shocks. Risk of about 1/3 of all banks rises in response to a monetary loosening. The lending response of small, illiquid, and domestic banks is relatively large, and risk of banks with a low degree of capitalization and a high exposure to real estate loans decreases relatively strongly after expansionary monetary policy shocks. Also, lending of larger banks increases less while risk of riskier and domestic banks reacts more in response to house price shocks.
Can Korea Learn from German Unification?
IWH Discussion Papers,
We first analyze pre-unification similarities and differences between the two Germanys and the two Koreas in terms of demographic, social, political and economic status. An important issue is the degree of international openness. “Stone-age” type communism of North Korea and the seclusion of the population prevented inner-Korean contacts and contacts with rest of the world. This may create enormous adjustment costs if institutions, especially informal institutions, change. We go on by showing how transition and integration interact in a potential unification process based on the World Bank Revised Minimum Standard Model (RMSM) and on the Salter-Swan-Meade model. In doing so, we relate the macro and external impacts on an open economy to its macro-sectoral structural dynamics. The findings suggest that it is of utmost importance to relate microeconomic policies to the macroeconomic ties and side conditions for both parts of the country. Evidence from Germany suggests that the biggest general error in unification was neglecting these limits, especially limitations to policy instruments. Econometric analysis supports these findings. In the empirical part, we consider unification as an “investment” and track down the (by-and-large immediate to medium-term) costs and the (by-and-large long-term) benefits of retooling a retarded communist economy. We conclude that, from a South-Korean
perspective, the Korean unification will become relatively much more expensive than the German unification and, thus, not only economic, but to a much larger degree political considerations must include the tying of neighboring countries into the convergence process. We finally provide, 62 years after Germany’s division and 20 years after unification, an outlook on the strength of economic inertia in order to show that it may take much more than a generation to compensate the damage inflicted by the communist system.