Democracy and Credit
Journal of Financial Economics,
Does democratization reduce the cost of credit? Using global syndicated loan data from 1984 to 2014, we find that democratization has a sizable negative effect on loan spreads: a 1-point increase in the zero-to-ten Polity IV index of democracy shaves at least 19 basis points off spreads, but likely more. Reversals to autocracy hike spreads more strongly. Our findings are robust to the comprehensive inclusion of relevant controls, to the instrumentation with regional waves of democratization, and to a battery of other sensitivity tests. We thus highlight the lower cost of loans as one relevant mechanism through which democratization can affect economic development.
Resolving the Missing Deflation Puzzle
CEPR Discussion Papers 13690,
We propose a resolution of the missing deflation puzzle. Our resolution stresses the importance of nonlinearities in price- and wage-setting when the economy is exposed to large shocks. We show that a nonlinear macroeconomic model with real rigidities resolves the missing deflation puzzle, while a linearized version of the same underlying nonlinear model fails to do so. In addition, our nonlinear model reproduces the skewness of inflation and other macroeconomic variables observed in post-war U.S. data. All told, our results caution against the common practice of using linearized models to study inflation and output dynamics.
04.04.2019 • 9/2019
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2019: Significant cooling of the economy – Political risks high
Berlin, April 4 – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have revised their forecasts for economic growth in 2019 significantly downward. They expect Germany’s gross domestic product to increase by 0.8%. This is more than one percentage point less than in autumn 2018, when the forecast was still for 1.9% growth. In contrast, the institutes confirm their previous forecast for the year 2020: gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.8%. These are the results of the Joint Economic Forecast for spring 2019, which will be presented in Berlin on Thursday.
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Should We Use Linearized Models To Calculate Fiscal Multipliers?
Journal of Applied Econometrics,
We calculate the magnitude of the government consumption multiplier in linearized and nonlinear solutions of a New Keynesian model at the zero lower bound. Importantly, the model is amended with real rigidities to simultaneously account for the macroeconomic evidence of a low Phillips curve slope and the microeconomic evidence of frequent price changes. We show that the nonlinear solution is associated with a much smaller multiplier than the linearized solution in long-lived liquidity traps, and pin down the key features in the model which account for the di¤erence. Our results caution against the common practice of using linearized models to calculate scal multipliers in long-lived liquidity traps.
24.04.2017 • 22/2017
Higher capital requirements: It’s the firms that end up suffering
61 European banks were scheduled to increase their capital cover by 2012 to provide a sufficient buffer for future crises. As the study by the research group chaired by Reint E. Gropp at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association shows, the banks did implement these requirements – not by raising their levels of equity, but by reducing their credit supply. This resulted in lower firm, investment, and sales growth for firms which obtained a larger share of their bank credit from these banks.
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The Macroeconomic Risks of Undesirably Low Inflation
European Economic Review,
This paper investigates the macroeconomic risks associated with undesirably low inflation using a medium-sized New Keynesian model. We consider different causes of persistently low inflation, including a downward shift in long-run inflation expectations, a fall in nominal wage growth, and a favorable supply-side shock. We show that the macroeconomic effects of persistently low inflation depend crucially on its underlying cause, as well as on the extent to which monetary policy is constrained by the zero lower bound. Finally, we discuss policy options to mitigate these effects.
03.05.2016 • 20/2016
Are Lacking Structural Reforms in the Financial Sector the Underlying Reason for the German Criticism of the ECB?
The major reason for the intense criticism of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) low-interest-rate policy may be the lack of structural reforms in the German banking system. The resulting persistent fragmentation increases the banking sector’s vulnerability to the low-interest-rate environment. Hence, parts of the banking sector, due to their strong ties to politicians, appear to have successfully influenced public opinion against the ECB.
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Censored Fractional Response Model: Estimating Heterogeneous Relative Risk Aversion of European Households
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper estimates relative risk aversion using the observed shares of risky assets and characteristics of households from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey of the European Central Bank. Given that the risky share is a fractional response variable belonging to [0, 1], this paper proposes a censored fractional response estimation method using extremal quantiles to approximate the censoring thresholds. Considering that participation in risky asset markets is costly, I estimate both the heterogeneous relative risk aversion and participation cost using a working sample that includes both risky asset holders and non-risky asset holders by treating the zero risky share as the result of heterogeneous self-censoring. Estimation results show lower participation costs and higher relative risk aversion than what was previously estimated. The estimated median relative risk aversions of eight European countries range from 4.6 to 13.6. However, the results are sensitive to households’ perception of the risky asset market return and volatility.
Understanding the Great Recession
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics,
We argue that the vast bulk of movements in aggregate real economic activity during the Great Recession were due to financial frictions. We reach this conclusion by looking through the lens of an estimated New Keynesian model in which firms face moderate degrees of price rigidities, no nominal rigidities in wages, and a binding zero lower bound constraint on the nominal interest rate. Our model does a good job of accounting for the joint behavior of labor and goods markets, as well as inflation, during the Great Recession. According to the model the observed fall in total factor productivity and the rise in the cost of working capital played critical roles in accounting for the small drop in inflation that occurred during the Great Recession.
Estimating Monetary Policy Rules when the Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates is Approached
Kiel Working Papers, No. 1898,
Monetary policy rule parameters estimated with conventional estimation techniques can be severely biased if the estimation sample includes periods of low interest rates. Nominal interest rates cannot be negative, so that censored regression methods like Tobit estimation have to be used to achieve unbiased estimates. We use IV-Tobit regression to estimate monetary policy responses for Japan, the US and the Euro area. The estimation results show that the bias of conventional estimation methods is sizeable for the inflation response parameter, while it is very small for the output gap response and the interest rate smoothing parameter. We demonstrate how IV-Tobit estimation can be used to study how policy responses change when the zero lower bound is approached. Further, we show how one can use the IV-Tobit approach to distinguish between desired policy responses, that the central bank would implement if there was no zero lower bound, and the actual ones and provide estimates of both.