Natural Disasters and Bank Stability: Evidence from the U.S. Financial System
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
We show that weather-related natural disasters in the United States significantly weaken the financial stability of banks with business activities in affected regions. This is reflected in higher probabilities of default, lower z-scores, higher non-performing assets ratios, higher foreclosure ratios, lower returns on assets and lower equity ratios of affected banks in the years following a natural disaster. The effects are economically relevant and highlight the financial vulnerability of banks and their borrowers despite insurances and public aid programs.
Research Profiles of the IWH Departments All doctoral students are allocated to one...
Three Research Clusters ...
Financing Choice and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from Brazil
Journal of Economic Growth,
We study how financing non-traditional local activities, conceived here as a proxy for activity diversification, is associated with economic growth. We use municipality-level data from Brazil, a country with large geographical, social, and economic disparities observed across its more than 5500 municipalities. We find that finance to non-traditional local activities associates with higher municipal economic growth, suggesting a positive externality between the non-traditional and traditional sectors. Using large natural disasters in Brazil as sources of unexpected negative events, we find that this association between financing non-traditional local activities and economic growth becomes negative in times of distress. We find that traditional local sectors are more affected than non-traditional sectors following a natural disaster. Precisely because of the non-traditional sector’s dependence on the traditional sector, our results suggest that municipalities should restrengthen their traditional activities during adverse conditions.
Cultural Resilience, Religion, and Economic Recovery: Evidence from the 2005 Hurricane Season
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper investigates the critical role of religion in the economic recovery after high-impact natural disasters. Exploiting the 2005 hurricane season in the southeast United States, we document that establishments in counties with higher religious adherence rates saw a significantly stronger recovery in terms of productivity for 2005-2010. Our results further suggest that a particular religious denomination does not drive the effect. We observe that different aspects of religion, such as adherence, shared experiences from ancestors, and institutionalised features, all drive the effect on recovery. Our results matter since they underline the importance of cultural characteristics like religion during and after economic crises.
Borrowers Under Water! Rare Disasters, Regional Banks, and Recovery Lending
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
We show that local banks provide corporate recovery lending to firms affected by adverse regional macro shocks. Banks that reside in counties unaffected by the natural disaster that we specify as macro shock increase lending to firms inside affected counties by 3%. Firms domiciled in flooded counties, in turn, increase corporate borrowing by 16% if they are connected to banks in unaffected counties. We find no indication that recovery lending entails excessive risk-taking or rent-seeking. However, within the group of shock-exposed banks, those without access to geographically more diversified interbank markets exhibit more credit risk and less equity capital.
Badly Hurt? Natural Disasters and Direct Firm Effects
Finance Research Letters,
We investigate firm outcomes after a major flood in Germany in 2013. We robustly find that firms located in the disaster regions have significantly higher turnover, lower leverage, and higher cash in the period after 2013. We provide evidence that the effects stem from firms that already experienced a similar major disaster in 2002. Overall, our results document a positive net effect on firm performance in the direct aftermath of a natural disaster.
How Do Banks React to Catastrophic Events? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina
Review of Finance,
This paper explores how banks react to an exogenous shock caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and how the structure of the banking system affects economic development following the shock. Independent banks based in the disaster areas increase their risk-based capital ratios after the hurricane, while those that are part of a bank holding company on average do not. The effect on independent banks mainly comes from the subgroup of highly capitalized banks. These independent and highly capitalized banks increase their holdings in government securities and reduce their total loan exposures to non-financial firms, while also increasing new lending to these firms. With regard to local economic development, affected counties with a relatively large share of independent banks and relatively high average bank capital ratios show higher economic growth than other affected counties following the catastrophic event.
Taken by Storm: Business Financing and Survival in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Journal of Economic Geography,
We use Hurricane Katrina’s damage to the Mississippi coast in 2005 as a natural experiment to study business survival in the aftermath of a capital-destruction shock. We find very low survival rates for businesses that incurred physical damage, particularly for small firms and less-productive establishments. Conditional on survival, larger and more-productive businesses that rebuilt their operations hired more workers than their smaller and less-productive counterparts. Auxiliary evidence from the Survey of Business Owners suggests that the differential size effect is tied to the presence of financial constraints, pointing to a socially inefficient level of exits and to distortions of allocative efficiency in response to this negative shock. Over time, the size advantage disappeared and market mechanisms seem to prevail.