The Political Setting of Social Security Contributions in Europe in the Business Cycle
IWH Discussion Papers,
Social security revenues are influenced by business cycle movements. In order to
support the working of automatic stabilizers it would be necessary to calculate social insurance contribution rates independently from the state of the business cycle. This paper investigates whether European countries set social contribution rates according to such a rule. By means of VAR estimations, country-specific effects can be analyzed – in contrast to earlier studies which used a panel design. As a result, some countries under investigation seem to vary their social contribution rates in a procyclical way.
Should We Trust in Leading Indicators? Evidence from the Recent Recession
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper analyzes leading indicators for GDP and industrial production in Germany. We focus on the performance of single and pooled leading indicators during the pre-crisis and crisis period using various weighting schemes. Pairwise and joint significant tests are used to evaluate single indicator as well as forecast combination methods. In addition, we use an end-of-sample instability test to investigate the stability of forecasting models during the recent financial crisis. We find in general that only a small number of single indicator models were performing well before the crisis. Pooling can substantially increase the reliability of leading indicator forecasts. During the crisis the relative performance of many leading indicator models increased. At short horizons, survey indicators perform best, while at longer horizons financial indicators, such as term spreads and risk spreads, improve relative to the benchmark.
Three methods of forecasting currency crises: Which made the run in signaling the South African currency crisis of June 2006?
IWH Discussion Papers,
In this paper we test the ability of three of the most popular methods to forecast the South African currency crisis of June 2006. In particular we are interested in the out-ofsample performance of these methods. Thus, we choose the latest crisis to conduct an out-of-sample experiment. In sum, the signals approach was not able to forecast the outof- sample crisis of correctly; the probit approach was able to predict the crisis but just with models, that were based on raw data. Employing a Markov-regime-switching approach also allows to predict the out-of-sample crisis. The answer to the question of which method made the run in forecasting the June 2006 currency crisis is: the Markovswitching approach, since it called most of the pre-crisis periods correctly. However, the “victory” is not straightforward. In-sample, the probit models perform remarkably well and it is also able to detect, at least to some extent, out-of-sample currency crises before their occurrence. It can, therefore, not be recommended to focus on one approach only when evaluating the risk for currency crises.
Rating Agency Actions and the Pricing of Debt and Equity of European Banks: What Can we Infer About Private Sector Monitoring of Bank Soundness?
The recent consultative papers by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has raised the possibility of an explicit role for external rating agencies in the assessment of the credit risk of banks’ assets, including interbank claims. Any judgement on the merits of this proposal calls for an assessment of the information contained in credit ratings and its relationship to other publicly available information on the financial health of banks and borrowers. We assess this issue via an event study of rating change announcements by leading international rating agencies, focusing on rating changes for European banks for which data on bond and equity prices are available. We find little evidence of announcement effects on bond prices, which may reflect the lack of liquidity in bond markets in Europe during much of our sample period. For equity prices, we find strong effects of ratings changes, although some of our results may suffer from contamination by contemporaneous news events. We also test for pre-announcement and post-announcement effects, but find little evidence of either. Overall, our results suggest that ratings agencies may perform a useful role in summarizing and obtaining non-public information on banks and that monitoring of banks’ risk through bond holders appears to be relatively limited in Europe. The relatively weak monitoring by bondholders casts some doubt on the effectiveness of a subordinated debt requirement as a supervisory tool in the European context, at least until bond markets are more developed.