Macroeconomic Effects from Sovereign Risk vs. Knightian Uncertainty
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper compares macroeconomic effects of Knightian uncertainty and risk using policy shocks for the case of Italy. Drawing on the ambiguity literature, I use changes in the bid-ask spread and mid-price of government bonds as distinct measures for uncertainty and risk. The identification exploits the quasi-pessimistic behavior under ambiguity-aversion and the dealer market structure of government bond markets, where dealers must quote both sides of the market. If uncertainty increases, ambiguity-averse dealers will quasi-pessimistically quote higher ask and lower bid prices – increasing the bid-ask spread. In contrast, a pure change in risk shifts the risk-compensating discount factor which is well approximated by the change in bond mid-prices. I evaluate economic effects of the two measures within an instrumental variable local projection framework. The main findings are threefold. First, the resulting shock time series for uncertainty and risk are uncorrelated with each other at the intraday level, however, upon aggregation to monthly level the measures become correlated. Second, uncertainty is an important driver of economic aggregates. Third, macroeconomic effects of risk and uncertainty are similar, except for the response of prices. While sovereign risk raises inflation, uncertainty suppresses price growth – a result which is in line with increased price rigidity under ambiguity.
14.12.2023 • 30/2023
Exports and private consumption weak ‒ Germany is waiting for an economic upturn
In the winter of 2023/2024, the German economy is still in a downturn. Parts of industry have lost competitiveness, real incomes have fallen in 2023 due to inflation, and there is uncertainty about the course of fiscal policy. However, rising real incomes and a slight increase in exports should cause a pickup from spring onwards. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) expects gross domestic product (GDP) to fall by 0.3% in 2023 and to expand by 0.5% in 2024 (East Germany: +0.5% and +0.7%). In September, the IWH forecast had assumed a decline of 0.5% for Germany in 2023 and expected growth of 0.9% for the coming year.
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To Securitize or To Price Credit Risk?
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis,
Do lenders securitize or price loans in response to credit risk? Exploiting exogenous variation in regional credit risk due to foreclosure law differences along US state borders, we find that lenders securitize mortgages that are eligible for sale to the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) rather than price regional credit risk. For non-GSE-eligible mortgages with no GSE buyback provision, lenders increase interest rates as they are unable to shift credit risk to loan purchasers. The results inform the debate surrounding the GSEs' buyback provisions, the constant interest rate policy, and show that underpricing regional credit risk increases the GSEs' debt holdings.
Hollywood, Wall Street, and Mistrusting Individual Investors
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
Individual investors reduce their trading activity in financial markets after the release of negatively biased Hollywood movies related to financial markets. These movies regularly depict financial markets and professionals active in them as marked by greed and corruption (Lichter et al. 1997). This decline in trading activity at the extensive margin comes together with depressed investor sentiment marked by higher likelihoods and volumes of selling than of buying transactions by those investors still active. Their avoidance of investing in and tendency to trade out of stocks related to companies in the financial industry, as well as their shift from actively managed mutual funds to passive vehicles (ETFs), provide evidence for the deterioration of investors’ trust in the financial industry and its managers. This channel is in line with existing literature on subjective beliefs in investment decisions and the impact of biased media coverage, such as the negative depiction of financial markets, shareholders, and managers in Hollywood movies.
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