15.06.2021 • 16/2021
Increase in personal contacts spurs economic activity
This summer the economic outlook in Germany is bright. As the pandemic is in retreat, the restrictions that have hampered many service activities are likely to be gradually lifted, and a strong boost in private purchases can be expected. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that gross domestic product will increase by 3.9% in 2021 and by 4.0% in 2022. Production in East Germany is expected to increase by 3% in both years, respectively.
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What Drives the Commodity-Sovereign Risk Dependence in Emerging Market Economies?
Journal of International Money and Finance,
Using daily data for 34 emerging markets in the period 1994–2016, we find robust evidence that higher export commodity prices are associated with lower sovereign default risk, as measured by lower EMBI spreads. The economic effect is especially pronounced for heavy commodity exporters. Examining the drivers, we find that, first, commodity dependence is higher for countries that export large volumes of commodities, whereas other portfolio characteristics like volatility or concentration are less important. Second, commodity-sovereign risk dependence increases in times of recessions and expansionary U.S. monetary policy. Third, the importance of raw material prices for sovereign financing can likely be mitigated if a country improves institutions and tax systems, attracts FDI inflows, invests in manufacturing, machinery and infrastructure, builds up reserve assets and opens capital and trade accounts. Fourth, the country’s government indebtedness or amount of received development assistance appear to be only of secondary importance for commodity dependence.
What Does Peer-to-Peer Lending Evidence Say About the Risk-taking Channel of Monetary Policy?
Journal of Corporate Finance,
This paper uses loan application-level data from a peer-to-peer lending platform to study the risk-taking channel of monetary policy. By employing a direct ex-ante measure of risk-taking and estimating the simultaneous equations of loan approval and loan amount, we provide evidence of monetary policy's impact on a nonbank financial institution's risk-taking. We find that the search-for-yield is the main driving force of the risk-taking effect, while we do not observe consistent findings of risk-shifting from the liquidity change. Monetary policy easing is associated with a higher probability of granting loans to risky borrowers and greater riskiness of credit allocation. However, these changes do not necessarily relate to a larger loan amount on average.
01.02.2021 • 4/2021
During Corona, households are saving more – not for fear of unemployment but for lack of spending opportunities
During the Corona crisis, European households increased their savings dramatically. According to an analysis carried out by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), the increase in savings is largely due to the inability of households to consume in the face of government lockdown measures, rather than other factors such as economic uncertainty. IWH President Reint Gropp therefore sees potential for a significant catch-up effect in consumption as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
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Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle
Review of Economic Dynamics,
Can a model with limited labor market insurance explain standard macro and labor market data jointly? We construct a monetary model in which: i) the unemployed are worse off than the employed, i.e. unemployment is involuntary and ii) the labor force participation rate varies with the business cycle. To illustrate key features of our model, we start with the simplest possible framework. We then integrate the model into a medium-sized DSGE model and show that the resulting model does as well as existing models at accounting for the response of standard macroeconomic variables to monetary policy shocks and two technology shocks. In addition, the model does well at accounting for the response of the labor force and unemployment rate to these three shocks.
Switching to Good Policy? The Case of Central and Eastern European Inflation Targeters
The paper analyzes how actual monetary policy changed following the official adoption of inflation targeting in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland and how it affected the volatilities of important macroeconomic variables in the years thereafter. To disentangle the effects of the policy shift from exogenous changes in the volatilities of these variables, a Markov-switching dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is estimated that allows for regime switches in the policy parameters and the volatilities of shocks hitting the economies. Whereas estimation results reveal periods of high and low volatility for all three economies, the presence of different policy regimes is supported by the underlying data for the Czech Republic and Poland, only. In both economies, monetary policy switched from weak and unsystematic to strong and systematic responses to inflation dynamics. Simulation results suggest that the policy shifts of both central banks successfully reduced inflation volatility in the following years. The observed reduction in output volatility, on the other hand, is attributed more to a reduction in the size of external shocks.
Lending Effects of the ECB’s Asset Purchases
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Between 2010 and 2012, the European Central Bank absorbed €218 billion worth of government securities from five EMU countries under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP). Detailed security holdings data at the bank level affirms an effective lending stimulus due to the SMP. Exposed banks contract household lending, but increase commercial lending substantially. Holding non-SMP securities from stressed EMU countries amplifies the commercial lending response. The SMP also improved liquidity buffers and profitability without compromising credit quality.