26.06.2019 • 14/2019
Study: How financial crises lower life satisfaction and how to prevent this
Financial crises not only result in severe disruptions to the economic system, they also affect people’s life satisfaction. A new study by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) shows that weaker members of society are more affected by increased uncertainty during crisis times, even if they may not be speculating on the stock market themselves. This could potentially also lower their propensity to consume, thereby intensifying the impact of a financial crisis. The study was recently published in “The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy”.
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Politics, Banks, and Sub-sovereign Debt: Unholy Trinity or Divine Coincidence?
Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper,
We exploit election-driven turnover in State and local governments in Germany to study how banks adjust their securities portfolios in response to the loss of political connections. We find that local savings banks, which are owned by their host county and supervised by local politicians, increase significantly their holdings of home-State sovereign bonds when the local government and the State government are dominated by different political parties. Banks' holdings of other securities, like federal bonds, bonds issued by other States, or stocks, are not affected by election outcomes. We argue that banks use sub-sovereign bond purchases to gain access to politically distant government authorities.
The Case for a European Rating Agency: Evidence from the Eurozone Sovereign Debt Crisis
Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money,
Politicians frequently voice that European bond issuers would benefit from the presence of a Europe-based rating agency. We take Fitch as a prototype for such an agency. With its ownership structure and a headquarter in London, Fitch is more European than Moody’s and S&P; during the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, it also issued more favorable ratings. Fitch’s rating actions, however, were largely ignored by the bond market. Our results thus cast doubt on the benefits of a European credit rating agency.
On the Risk of a Sovereign Debt Crisis in Italy
The intention for the Italian government to stimulate business activity via large increases in government spending is not in line with the stabilisation of the public debt ratio. Instead, if such policy were implemented, the risk of a sovereign debt crisis would be high. In this article, we analyse the capacity of the Italian economy to shoulder sovereign debt under different scenarios. We conclude that focusing on growth enhancing structural reforms, would allow for moderate increases in public expenditure.
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Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area and its Drivers
IWH Discussion Papers,
We isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel within the eurozone’s sovereign-bank-loop by exploiting the global, non-eurozone related variation in stock prices. We instrument banking sector stock returns in the eurozone with exposure-weighted stock market returns from non-eurozone countries and take further precautions to remove any eurozone crisis-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress, while economically relevant, is significantly smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on reverse causality and omitted variables in previous studies. Furthermore, we show that the spillover of bank distress is significantly stronger for countries with poorer macroeconomic performances, weaker financial sectors and financial regulation and during times of elevated political uncertainty.
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