Does Export Openness Increase Firm-level Output Volatility?
There is a widespread concern that increased trade may lead to increased instability and thus risk at the firm level. Greater export openness can indeed affect firm-level volatility by changing the exposure and the reaction of firms to macroeconomic developments. The net effect is ambiguous from a theoretical point of view. This paper provides firm-level evidence on the link between openness and volatility. Using comprehensive data on more than 21,000 German manufacturing firms for the period 1980–2001, we analyse the evolution of firm-level output volatility and the link between volatility and export openness. Our paper has three main findings. First, firm-level output volatility is significantly higher than the level of aggregate volatility, but it displays similar patterns. Second, increased export openness lowers firm-level output volatility. This effect is primarily driven by variations along the extensive margin, i.e. by the distinction between exporters and non-exporters. Variations along the intensive margin, i.e. the volume of exports, tend to have a dampening impact on volatility as well. Third, small firms are more volatile than large firms.
Growth, Volatility, and Credit Market Imperfections: Evidence from German Firms
Journal of Economic Studies,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it studies whether output volatility and growth are linked at the firm-level, using data for German firms. Second, it explores whether the link between volatility and growth depends on the degree of credit market imperfections.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a novel firm-level dataset provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the so-called Financial Statements Data Pool. The dataset has time series observations for German firms for the period 1997-2004, and the authors use information on the debt-to-assets or leverage ratio of firms to proxy for credit-constraints at the firm-level. As additional proxies for the importance of credit market imperfections, we use information on the size and on the legal status of firms.
Findings – The authors find that higher volatility has a negative impact on growth for small and a positive impact for larger firms. Higher leverage is associated with higher growth. At the same time, there is heterogeneity in the determinants of growth across firms from different sectors and across firms with a different legal status.
Practical implications – While most traditional macroeconomic models assume that growth and volatility are uncorrelated, a number of microeconomic models suggest that the two may be linked. However, it is unclear whether the link is positive or negative. The paper presents additional evidence regarding this question. Moreover, understanding whether credit market conditions affect the link between volatility and growth is of importance for policy makers since it suggests a channel through which the credit market can have long-run welfare implications. The results stress the importance of firm-level heterogeneity for the effects and effectiveness of economic policy measures.
Originality/value – The paper has two main novel features. First, it uses a novel firm-level dataset to analyze the determinants of firm-level growth. Second, it analyzes the growth-volatility nexus using firm-level data. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper, which addresses the link between volatility, growth, and credit market imperfections using firm-level data.
Monetary Policy and Financial (In)stability: An Integrated Micro–Macro Approach
Journal of Financial Stability,
Evidence on central banks’ twin objective, monetary and financial stability, is scarce. We suggest an integrated micro–macro approach with two core virtues. First, we measure financial stability directly at the bank level as the probability of distress. Second, we integrate a microeconomic hazard model for bank distress and a standard macroeconomic model. The advantage of this approach is to incorporate micro information, to allow for non-linearities and to permit general feedback effects between financial distress and the real economy. We base the analysis on German bank and macro data between 1995 and 2004. Our results confirm the existence of a trade-off between monetary and financial stability. An unexpected tightening of monetary policy increases the probability of distress. This effect disappears when neglecting microeffects and non-linearities, underlining their importance. Distress responses are largest for small cooperative banks, weak distress events, and at times when capitalization is low. An important policy implication is that the separation of financial supervision and monetary policy requires close collaboration among members in the European System of Central Banks and national bank supervisors.
International Banking and the Allocation of Risk
IAW Discussion Paper No. 32,
Macroeconomic risks could magnify individual bank risk. Mitigating the influence of economy-wide risks on banks could therefore be very important to maintain a smooth-running banking system. In this paper, we explore the extent to which macroeconomic risks affect banks. We use a bank-level dataset on over 2,000 banks worldwide for the years 1995-2002 to study the effect of macroeconomic volatility, the openness of the banking system, and banking regulations on bank risks. Our measure of bank risk is the volatility of banks' pre-tax profits. We find that macroeconomic volatility increases banks' profit volatility and that international openness of the banking system lowers bank risk. We find no impact of banking regulation on profit volatility. Our findings suggest that if policymakers want to lower bank risk, they should seek to lower macroeconomic volatility as well as increase openness in the banking system.
Inflation and relative price variability in the euro area: evidence from a panel threshold model
Bundesbank Discussion Paper, No. 14/2006,
In recent macroeconomic theory, relative price variability (RPV) generates the
central distortions of inflation. This paper provides first evidence on the empirical
relation between inflation and RPV in the euro area focusing on threshold effects
of inflation. We find that expected inflation significantly increases RPV if inflation
is either very low (below -1.38% p.a.) or very high (above 5.94% p.a.). In the
intermediate regime, however, expected inflation has no distorting effects which
supports price stability as an outcome of optimal monetary policy.
Original Sin - Analysing Its Mechanics and a proposed Remedy in a Simple Macroeconomic Model
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyses the problem of “original sin“ (the fact that the currency of an emerging market economy usually cannot be used to borrow abroad) in a simple thirdgeneration model of currency crises. The approach differs from alternative frameworks by explicitly modeling the price setting behavior of firms if prices are sticky and the future exchange rate is uncertain. Monetary policy optimally trades off effects on price competitiveness and on debt burdens of firms. It is shown that the proposal by Eichengreen and Hausmann of creating an artificial basket currency as denominator of debt is attractive as a provision against contagion.
Determinants of employment - the macroeconomic view
Schriften des IWH,
The weak performance of the German labour market over the past years has led to a significant unemployment problem. Currently, on average 4.5 mio. people are without a job contract, and a large part of them are long-term unemployed. A longer period of unemployment reduces their employability and aggravates the problem of social exclusion.
The factors driving the evolution of employment have been recently discussed on the workshop Determinanten der Beschäftigung – die makroökonomische Sicht organized jointly by the IAB, Nuremberg, and the IWH, Halle. The present volume contains the papers and proceedings to the policy oriented workshop held in November 2004, 15-16th. The main focus of the contributions is twofold. First, macroeconomic conditions to stimulate output and employment are considered. Second, the impacts of the increasing tax wedge between labour costs and the take home pay are emphasized. In particular, the role of the contributions to the social security system is investigated.
In his introductory address, Ulrich Walwei (IAB) links the unemployment experience to the modest path of economic growth in Germany. In addition, the low employment intensity of GDP growth and the temporary standstill of the convergence process of the East German economy have contributed to the weak labour market performance. In his analysis, Gebhard Flaig (ifo Institute, München) stresses the importance of relative factor price developments. A higher rate of wage growth leads to a decrease of the employment intensity of production, and correspondingly to an increase of the threshold of employment. Christian Dreger (IWH) discusses the relevance of labour market institutions like employment protection legislation and the structure of the wage bargaining process on the labour market outcome. Compared to the current setting, policies should try to introduce more flexibility in labour markets to improve the employment record. The impact of interest rate shocks on production is examined by the paper of Boris Hofmann (Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt). According to the empirical evidence, monetary policy cannot explain the modest economic performance in Germany. György Barabas and Roland Döhrn (RWI Essen) have simulated the effects of a world trade shock on output and employment. The relationships have been fairly stable over the past years, even in light of the increasing globalization. Income and employment effects of the German tax reform in 2000 are discussed by Peter Haan and Viktor Steiner (DIW Berlin). On the base of a microsimulation model, household gains are determined. Also, a positive relationship between wages and labour supply can be established. Michael Feil und Gerd Zika (IAB) have examined the employment effects of a reduction of the contribution rates to the social security system. To obtain robust results, the analysis is done under alternative financing scenarios and with different macroeconometric models. The impacts of allowances of social security contributions on the incentives to work are discussed by Wolfgang Meister and Wolfgang Ochel (ifo München). According to their study, willingness to work is expected to increase especially at the lower end of the income distribution. The implied loss of contributions could be financed by higher taxes.
An Eastern Enlargement of the EU: Macroeconomic Effects in new Member States
Europe Asia Studies,
Macroeconomic Employment Effects of CIM Application
CIM: Revolution in Progress. Proceedings of the Finals IIASA Conference on Computer Integrated Manufacturing: Technologies, Organizations, and People in Transition,