Working papers

In-depth studies for experts

Our Working Paper Series (WPS) disseminates economic research relevant to the various tasks and functions of the ECB, and provides a conceptual and empirical basis for policy-making. The Working Papers constitute “work in progress”. They are published to stimulate discussion and contribute to the advancement of our knowledge of economic matters. They are addressed to experts, so readers should be knowledgeable in economics.

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No. 2244
18 February 2019
Credit, financial conditions and the business cycle in China

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers

E17 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

This paper presents empirical evidence of the role of financial conditions in China’s business cycle. We estimate a Bayesian-VAR for the Chinese economy, incorporating a financial conditions index for China that captures movements across a range of financial variables, including interest rates and interbank spreads, bond returns, and credit and equity flows. We impose sign restrictions on the impulse response functions to identify shocks to financial conditions and shocks to monetary policy. The model suggests that monetary policy, credit and financial conditions have played an important role in shaping China’s business cycle. Using conditional scenarios, we examine the role of credit in shaping economic outcomes in China over the past decade. Those scenarios underscore the important role of credit growth in supporting activity during the past decade, particularly the surge in credit following the global financial crisis in 2008. The financial tightening since the end of 2016 has contributed to a modest slowing of credit growth and activity.

No. 2243
18 February 2019
Monetary policy transmission to mortgages in a negative interest rate environment

Abstract

JEL Classification

E40 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→General

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

Do negative policy rates hinder banks’ transmission of monetary policy? To answer this question, we examine the behaviour of Italian mortgage lenders using a novel loan-level dataset. When policy rates turn negative, banks with higher ratios of retail overnight deposits to total assets charge more on new fixed rate mortgages. This suggests that the funding structure of banks may matter for the transmission of negative policy rates, especially for long-maturity illiquid assets. Nevertheless, the aggregate economic implications for households are small, suggesting that concerns about inefficient monetary policy transmission to households under modestly negative rates are likely overstated.

No. 2242
15 February 2019
The anatomy of the euro area interest rate swap market

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

Abstract

Using a novel regulatory dataset of fully identified derivatives transactions, this paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of the structure of the euro area interest rate swap (IRS) market after the start of the mandatory clearing obligation. Our dataset contains 1.7 million bilateral IRS transactions of banks and non-banks. Our key results are as follows: 1) The euro area IRS market is highly standardised and concentrated around the group of the G16 Dealers but also around a significant group of core ”intermediaries" (and major CCPs). 2) Banks are active in all segments of the IRS euro market, whereas non-banks are often specialised. 3) When using relative net exposures as a proxy for the “flow of risk" in the IRS market, we find that risk absorption takes place in the core as well as the periphery of the network. 4) Among the Basel III capital and liquidity ratios, the leverage ratio plays a key role in determining a bank's IRS trading activity. 5) Also, after mandatory central clearing, there is still a large dispersion in IRS transaction prices, which is partly determined by bank characteristics, such as the leverage ratio.

No. 2241
15 February 2019
Debt overhang, rollover risk, and corporate investment: evidence from the European crisis

Abstract

JEL Classification

E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems

F36 : International Economics→International Finance→Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill

Abstract

We quantify the role of financial factors behind the sluggish post-crisis performance of European firms. We use a firm-bank-sovereign matched database to identify separate roles for firm and bank balance sheet weaknesses arising from changes in sovereign risk and aggregate demand conditions. We find that firms with higher debt levels and a higher share of short-term debt reduce their investment more after the crisis. This negative effect is stronger for firms linked to weak banks with exposures to sovereign risk, signifying increased rollover risk. These financial channels explain about 60% of the decline in aggregate corporate investment.

No. 2240
14 February 2019
Breaking the shackles: Zombie firms, weak banks and depressed restructuring in Europe

Abstract

JEL Classification

D24 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Production, Cost, Capital, Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity, Capacity

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

L25 : Industrial Organization→Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior→Firm Performance: Size, Diversification, and Scope

O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence

Abstract

This paper explores the connection between ”zombie” firms (firms that would typically exit in a competitive market) and bank health and the consequences for aggregate productivity in 11 European countries. Controlling for cyclical effects, the results show that zombie firms are more likely to be connected to weak banks, suggesting that the zombie firm problem in Europe may at least partly stem from bank forbearance. The increasing survival of zombie firms congests markets and constrains the growth of more productive firms, to the detriment of aggregate productivity growth. Our results suggest that around one-third of the impact of zombie congestion on capital misallocation can be directly attributed to bank health and additional analysis suggests that this may partly be due to reduced availability of credit to healthy firms. Finally, improvements in bank health are more likely to be associated with a reduction in the prevalence of zombie firms in countries where insolvency regimes do not unduly inhibit corporate restructuring. Thus, leveraging the important complementarities between bank strengthening efforts and insolvency regime reform would contribute to breaking the shackles on potential growth in Europe.

No. 2239
13 February 2019
Money markets, collateral and monetary policy

Abstract

JEL Classification

G10 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→General

G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

Abstract

Interbank money markets have been subject to substantial impairments in the recent decade, such as a decline in unsecured lending and substantial increases in haircuts on posted collateral. This paper seeks to understand the implications of these developments for the broader economy and monetary policy. To that end, we develop a novel general equilibrium model featuring heterogeneous banks, interbank markets for both secured and unsecured credit, and a central bank. The model features a number of occasionally binding constraints. The interactions between these constraints - in particular leverage and liquidity constraints - are key in determining macroeconomic outcomes. We find that both secured and unsecured money market frictions force banks to either divert resources into unproductive but liquid assets or to de-lever, which leads to less lending and output. If the liquidity constraint is very tight, the leverage constraint may turn slack. In this case, there are large declines in lending and output. We show how central bank policies which increase the size of the central bank balance sheet can attenuate this decline.

No. 2238
13 February 2019
America First? A US-centric view of global capital flows

Abstract

JEL Classification

F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration

F21 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→International Investment, Long-Term Capital Movements

F36 : International Economics→International Finance→Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

F42 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→International Policy Coordination and Transmission

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

Abstract

Both academic researchers and policymakers posit a unique role for the US in the inter-national financial system. This paper investigates the characteristics and determinants of US cross-border financial flows and examines how these contrast with those of the rest of the world. We analyse the relative importance of US, country-specific, and global variables as determinants of aggregate and bilateral US financial flows and as determinants of country-level cross-border financial flows excluding those directly involving the US. Our results indicate that variation in US variables – notably the VIX and US dollar exchange rate – has a quantitatively important influence on global financial flows, but mostly via US cross-border flows. Global and national risk indicators perform better in explaining “rest of the world” flows. Moreover, we find that the correlation between US and rest of the world flows peaks in periods of elevated uncertainty. We interpret our findings as evidence for the existence of a global financial cycle, only some of which is driven by policies and events in the US.

No. 2237
7 February 2019
Empowering central bank asset purchases: The role of financial policies

Abstract

JEL Classification

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

F40 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→General

Abstract

This paper contributes to the debate on the macroeconomic effectiveness of expansionary non-standard monetary policy measures in a regulated banking environment. Based on an estimated DSGE model, we explore the interactions between central bank asset purchases and bank capital-based financial policies (regulatory, supervisory or macroprudential) through its influence on bank risk-shifting motives. We find that weakly-capitalised banks display excessive risk-taking which reinforces the credit easing channel of central bank asset purchases, at the cost of higher bank default probability and risks to financial stability. In such a case, adequate bank capital demand through higher minimum capital requirements curtails the excessive credit origination and restores a more efficient propagation of central bank asset purchases. As supervisors can formulate further capital demands, uncertainty about the supervisory oversight provokes precautionary motives for banks. They build-up extra capital buffer attenuating non-standard monetary policy. Finally, in a weakly-capitalised banking system, countercyclical macroprudential policy attenuates banks risk-taking and dampens the excessive persistence of the non-standard monetary policy impulse. On the contrary, in a well-capitalised banking system, macroprudential policy should look through the effects of central bank asset purchases on bank capital position, as the costs in terms of macroeconomic stabilisation seem to outweigh the marginal financial stability benefits.

No. 2236
7 February 2019
Do reputable issuers provide better-quality securitizations?

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G24 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Investment Banking, Venture Capital, Brokerage, Ratings and Ratings Agencies

G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation

Abstract

We examine the link between issuer reputation and mortgage-backed security (MBS) performance using a sample of 4,247 European MBS issued between 1999 and 2007. We measure performance with credit rating downgrades and delinquencies and track their changes over the long term. We find that, overall, MBS sold by reputable issuers are collateralised by higher quality asset pools which have lower delinquency rates and are less likely to be downgraded. However, as credit standards declined during the boom period of 2005-2007, asset pools securitized by reputable issuers were of worse quality compared to those securitized by less reputable issuers. Therefore, reputation as a self-disciplining mechanism failed to incentivise the production of high quality securities during the credit boom.

No. 2235
4 February 2019
The link between labor cost and price inflation in the euro area

Abstract

JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital

E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation

Abstract

This paper documents, for the first time in a systematic manner, the link between labor cost and price inflation in the euro area. Using country and sector quarterly data over the period 1985Q1-2018Q1 we find a strong link between labor cost and price inflation in the four major economies of the euro area and across the three main sectors. The dynamic interaction between prices and wages is time-varying and depends on the state of the economy and on the shocks hitting the economy. Our results show that it is more likely that labor costs are passed on to price inflation with demand shocks than with supply shocks. However, the pass-through is systematically lower in periods of low inflation as compared to periods of high inflation. These results confirm that, under circumstances of predominantly demand shocks, labor cost increases will be passed on to prices. Coming from a period of low inflation, however, this pass-through could be moderate at least until inflation stably reaches a sustained path.

No. 2234
1 February 2019
Markets, banks, and shadow banks
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G23 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Non-bank Financial Institutions, Financial Instruments, Institutional Investors

G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation

Abstract

We analyze the effect of bank capital requirements on the structure and risk of a financial system where markets, regulated banks, and shadow banks coexist. Banks face a moral hazard problem in screening entrepreneurs' projects, and they choose whether to be regulated or not. If regulated, a supervisor certifies their capital; if not, they have to rely on more expensive private certification. Under both risk-insensitive and risk-sensitive requirements, safer entrepreneurs borrow from the market and riskier entrepreneurs borrow from banks. But risk-insensitive (sensitive) requirements are especially costly for relatively safe (risky) entrepreneurs, which may shift from regulated to shadow banks.

No. 2233
31 January 2019
A dynamic model of bank behaviour under multiple regulatory constraints

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation

G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill

Abstract

We develop a dynamic structural model of bank behaviour that provides a microeconomic foundation for bank capital and liquidity structures and analyses the effects of changes in regulatory capital and liquidity requirements as well as their interaction. Our findings suggest that adjustments in both types of requirements can have an impact on loan supply, with considerable heterogeneity across banks and over time. The model illustrates that banks' reactions depend on initial balance sheet conditions and reconciles evidence on short-term reductions in loan supply with findings suggesting that better capitalized banks are better able to lend in the medium- to long-term.

No. 2232
31 January 2019
From cash- to securities-driven euro area repo markets: the role of financial stress and safe asset scarcity

Abstract

JEL Classification

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

C38 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Classification Methods, Cluster Analysis, Principal Components, Factor Models

Abstract

Focussing on repo specialness premia, using ISIN-specific transaction-by-transaction data of one-day maturity repos, we document a gradual shift from cash- to securities-driven transactions in euro area repo markets over the period 2010-2018. Compared to earlier studies focussing only on specific sub-periods or market segments we extend, illustrate, and validate evidence on financial frictions that are relevant in driving repo premia: controlling for a comprehensive range of bond-market specific characteristics, we show that repo premia have been systematically affected by fragmentation in the sovereign space, bank funding stress, and safe asset scarcity. These channels exhibit very strong country-specific differences, as also reflected by large discrepancies in country-specific interest rates on General Collateral. To ensure robustness of our empirical findings, we apply panel econometric and data mining approaches in a complementary and mutually informative way.

No. 2231
30 January 2019
Do public wages in the euro area explain private wage developments? An empirical investigation

Abstract

JEL Classification

E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

J30 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→General

C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

C11 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General→Bayesian Analysis: General

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between public and private wages in the five largest euro area countries for the period 1997-2017. The analysis shows that there exists a positive and significant response of private wages to a public wage shock. This effect is found to be temporary and to differ across countries (positive and significant in France, Spain, Italy and non-significant in Germany and the Netherlands). Interestingly, the response of private wages is found to be asymmetric: a positive and statistically significant response is found in case of a positive shock to public wages, while no statistically significant effects are detected in case of a cut to public wages. As the public wage containment policies adopted during the sovereign debt crisis are expected to be gradually lifted in several euro area countries, the findings of this paper suggest that knock-on effects on private sector wages cannot be excluded in the years to come.

No. 2230
30 January 2019
Some borrowers are more equal than others: bank funding shocks and credit reallocation

Abstract

JEL Classification

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the strategic lending decisions made by banks facing a negative funding shock. Using bank-firm level credit data, we show that banks reallocate credit within their loan portfolio in at least three different ways. First, banks reallocate to sectors where they have a high market share. Second, they also reallocate to sectors in which they are more specialized. Third, they reallocate credit towards low-risk firms. These reallocation effects are economically large. A standard deviation increase in sector market share, sector specialization or firm soundness reduces the transmission of the funding shock to credit supply by 22, 8 and 10%, respectively.

No. 2229
29 January 2019
Medium term treatment and side effects of quantitative easing: international evidence

Abstract

JEL Classification

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

F3 : International Economics→International Finance

Abstract

We use a cross-country sample of monthly observations for quantitative easing (QE) treatments in order to study the causal effect of such policies on a large set of economic and financial outcome variables. We address potential endogeneity by re-randomising the sample and applying the augmented inverse probability weighting (AIPW) estimator. Our results show that QE policies do affect the central bank balance sheet and asset prices, in particular long term yields, equity prices and exchange rates in the expected direction. Most importantly, we find that QE policies lead to a sustained rise in the CPI and in inflation expectations. However, our findings suggest that the main transmission channel does not appear to be stronger aggregate demand impacting inflation through the Phillips curve, but rather exchange rate depreciation. Finally, we do not find any evidence for side effects and increases in risk taking following QE, with real house prices and real credit not increasing or falling, and no downward effect on stock market volatility.

No. 2228
28 January 2019
When losses turn into loans: the cost of undercapitalized banks
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

G38 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Government Policy and Regulation

E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers

D24 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Production, Cost, Capital, Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity, Capacity

O47 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity→Measurement of Economic Growth, Aggregate Productivity, Cross-Country Output Convergence

Abstract

We provide evidence that a weak banking sector has contributed to low productivity growth following the European sovereign debt crisis. An unexpected increase in capital requirements for a subset of Portuguese banks in 2011 provides a natural experiment to study the effects of reduced bank capital adequacy on productivity. Affected banks respond not only by cutting back on lending but also by reallocating credit to firms in financial distress with prior underreported loan loss provisioning. We develop a method to detect when banks delay loss reporting using detailed loan-level data. We then show that the credit reallocation leads to a reallocation of production factors across firms. A partial equilibrium exercise suggests that the resulting increase in factor misallocation accounts for 20% of the decline in productivity in Portugal in 2012.

No. 2227
28 January 2019
Mind the gap: a multi-country BVAR benchmark for the Eurosystem projections

Abstract

JEL Classification

C52 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods

E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

Abstract

The Eurosystem staff forecasts are conditional on the financial markets, the global economy and fiscal policy outlook, and include expert judgement. We develop a multi-country BVAR for the four largest countries of the euro area and we show that it provides accurate conditional forecasts of policy relevant variables such as, for example, consumer prices and GDP. The forecasting accuracy and the ability to mimic the path of the Eurosystem projections suggest that the model is a valid benchmark to assess the consistency of the projections with the conditional assumptions. As such, the BVAR can be used to identify possible sources of judgement, based on the gaps between the Eurosystem projections and the historical regularities captured by the model.

No. 2226
25 January 2019
Money, credit, monetary policy and the business cycle in the euro area: what has changed since the crisis?

Abstract

JEL Classification

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

C51 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Construction and Estimation

Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between the business cycle and financial intermediation in the euro area. We establish stylized facts and study their stability during the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis. Long-term interest rates have been exceptionally high and long-term loans and deposits exceptionally low since the Lehman collapse. Instead, short-term interest rates and short-term loans and deposits did not show abnormal dynamics in the course of the financial and sovereign debt crisis.

No. 2225
25 January 2019
Risk endogeneity at the lender/investor-of-last-resort

Abstract

JEL Classification

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

C33 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Panel Data Models, Spatio-temporal Models

Abstract

We address the question to what extent a central bank can de-risk its balance sheet by unconventional monetary policy operations. To this end, we propose a novel risk measurement framework to empirically study the time-variation in central bank portfolio credit risks associated with such operations. The framework accommodates a large number of bank and sovereign counterparties, joint tail dependence, skewness, and time-varying dependence parameters. In an application to selected items from the consolidated Eurosystem's weekly balance sheet between 2009 and 2015, we find that unconventional monetary policy operations generated beneficial risk spill-overs across monetary policy operations, causing overall risk to be nonlinear in exposures. Some policy operations reduced rather than increased overall risk.

No. 2224
16 January 2019
CoMap: mapping contagion in the euro area banking sector

Abstract

JEL Classification

D85 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Network Formation and Analysis: Theory

G17 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Financial Forecasting and Simulation

G33 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Bankruptcy, Liquidation

L14 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Transactional Relationships, Contracts and Reputation, Networks

Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to investigate and model the network of euro area banks’ large exposures within the global banking system. Drawing on a unique dataset, the paper documents the degree of interconnectedness and systemic risk of the euro area banking system based on bilateral linkages. We then develop a Contagion Mapping (CoMap) methodology to study contagion potential of an exogenous default shock via counterparty credit and funding risks. We construct contagion and vulnerability indices measuring respectively the systemic importance of banks and their degree of fragility. Decomposing the results into the respective contributions of credit and funding shocks provides insights to the nature of contagion which can be used to calibrate bank-specific capital and liquidity requirements and large exposures limits. We find that tipping points shifting the euro area banking system from a less vulnerable state to a highly vulnerable state are a non-linear function of the combination of network structures and bank-specific characteristics.

No. 2223
16 January 2019
Leaning against the wind: macroprudential policy and the financial cycle

Abstract

JEL Classification

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

Abstract

Should monetary policy lean against financial stability risks? This has been a subject of fierce debate over the last decades. We contribute to the debate about “leaning against the wind” (LAW) along three lines. First, we evaluate the cost and benefits of LAW using the Svensson (2017) framework for the euro area and find that the costs outweigh the benefits. Second, we extend the framework to address a critique that Svensson does not consider the lower frequency financial cycle. Third, we use this extended framework to assess the costs and benefits of monetary and macroprudential policy. We find that macroprudential policy has net marginal benefits in addressing risks to financial stability in the euro area, whereas monetary policy has net marginal costs. This would suggest that an active use of macroprudential policies targeting financial stability risks would alleviate the burden on monetary policy to “lean against the wind”.

No. 2222
15 January 2019
On the retirement effect of inheritance: heterogeneity and the role of risk aversion

Abstract

JEL Classification

J14 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demographic Economics→Economics of the Elderly, Economics of the Handicapped, Non-Labor Market Discrimination

J26 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Demand and Supply of Labor→Retirement, Retirement Policies

Abstract

This paper provides new insights on the effect of inheritance receipt on retirement. We build on lifelong information on inheritances received and labor market transitions available for respondents of the French Wealth Survey. This feature allows us to compare current retirement rates among current and future inheritors. Chances of current retirement are 40% higher among current inheritors than among individuals who will inherit in the next two years, but there is substantial heterogeneity in this effect across socio-demographic groups. The effect is also stronger for individuals with a higher risk aversion, which we interpret with a simple theoretical model.

No. 2221
15 January 2019
Interest rates and foreign spillovers

Abstract

JEL Classification

C3 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables

G2 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services

Abstract

We show that medium-term interest rates in the euro area, Japan, UK and US are affected by domestic and foreign shocks. We find that US rates are the main source of spillovers globally and are less exposed to foreign shocks. Foreign spillovers to European rates were negligible only during the sovereign debt crisis and the introduction of more aggressive monetary policies by the ECB. We identify causal relations among asset prices through structural vector autoregressions (SVAR) and magnitude restrictions. We use preliminary regressions on event days to estimate key parameters employed to constrain the structural parameter space of the SVAR.

No. 2220
11 January 2019
Attenuating the forward guidance puzzle: implications for optimal monetary policy

Abstract

JEL Classification

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination

Abstract

We examine the implications of less powerful forward guidance for optimal policy using a sticky-price model with an effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates as well as a discounted Euler equation and Phillips curve. When the private-sector agents discount future economic conditions more in making their decisions today, an announced cut in future interest rates becomes less effective in stimulating current economic activity. While the implication of such discounting for optimal policy depends on its degree, we find that, under a wide range of plausible degrees of discounting, it is optimal for the central bank to compensate for the reduced effect of a future rate cut by keeping the policy rate at the ELB for longer.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the papers are published in the name of the author(s). Their views do not necessarily reflect those of the ECB.