Research articles for the 2020-11-05

A Profit-to-Provisioning Approach to Setting the Countercyclical Capital Buffer: The Czech Example
Pfeifer, Lukáš,Hodula, Martin
Over the last few years, national macroprudential authorities have developed different strategies for setting the countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB) rate in the banking sector. The existing approaches are based on various indicators used to identify the current phase of the financial cycle. However, to our knowledge, there is no approach that directly takes into consideration banks’ prudential behavior over the financial cycle as well as cyclical risks in the banking sector. In this paper, we propose a new profit-to-provisioning approach that can be used in the macroprudential decision-making process. We construct a new set of indicators that largely capture the risk of cyclicality of profit and loan loss provisions. We argue that banks should conserve a portion of the cyclically overestimated profit (non-materialized expected loss) in their capital during a financial boom. We evaluate the performance of our newly proposed indicators using two econometric exercises. Overall, they exhibit good statistical properties, are relevant to the CCyB decision-making process, and may contribute to a more precise assessment of both systemic risk accumulation and risk materialization. We believe that the relevance of the profit-to-provisioning approach and the related set of newly proposed indicators increases under IFRS 9.

Active Risk Constraints for Regression Based Index Tracking
du Plooy, Simon
Regression based index tracking selects tracking portfolios based on the linear regression characteristics of the available assets. The approach is suited to Mixed Integer Linear Programs where the number of assets in the tracking portfolio is limited compared to the number of constituents in the benchmark portfolio. Current approaches do not account for the active risk of the tracking portfolio, resulting in concentrated portfolios with high tracking error. This paper considers two extensions, both a linear and quadratic formulation, to the current approaches. The resulting portfolios are more diversified, have lower tracking error and tracking difference, and have appropriate levels of beta.

Analyzing Credit Risk Transmission to the Non-Financial Sector in Europe: A Network Approach
Gross, Christian,Siklos, Pierre L.
We use a factor model and elastic net shrinkage to model a high-dimensional network of European CDS spreads. Our empirical approach allows us to assess the joint transmission of bank and sovereign risk to the non-financial corporate sector. Our findings identify a sectoral clustering in the CDS network, where financial institutions are in the center and non-financial entities as well as sovereigns are grouped around the financial center. The network has a geographical component reflected in different patterns of real-sector risk transmission across countries. Our framework also provides dynamic estimates of risk transmission, a useful tool for systemic risk monitoring.

Auctioning Annuities
Gaurab Aryal,Eduardo Fajnzylber,Maria F. Gabrielli,Manuel Willington

We use data on annuities to study and evaluate an imperfectly competitive market where firms have private information about their (annuitization) costs. Our data is from Chile, where the market is structured as first-price-auction-followed-by-bargaining, and where each retiree chooses a firm and an annuity contract to maximize her expected present discounted utility. We find that retirees with low savings have the highest information processing cost, and they also care about firms' risk-ratings the most. Furthermore, while almost 50% of retirees reveal that they do not value leaving bequests, the rest have heterogeneous preference for bequest that, on average, increases with their savings. On the supply side, we find that firms' annuitization costs vary across retirees, and the average costs increase with retirees' savings. If these costs were commonly known then the pensions would increase for everyone, but the increment would be substantial only for the high savers. Likewise, if we simplify the current pricing mechanism by implementing English auctions and "shutting down" the risk-ratings, then the pensions would increase, but again, mostly for the high savers.

Bank Asset Quality and Monetary Policy Pass-Through
Byrne, David,Kelly, Robert J.
The funding mix of European firms is weighted heavily towards bank credit, which underscores the importance of efficient pass-through of monetary policy actions to lending rates faced by firms. Euro area pass-through has shifted from being relatively homogenous to being fragmented and incomplete since the financial crisis. Distressed loan books are a crisis hangover with direct implications for profitability, hampering banks ability to supply credit and lower loan pricing in response to reductions in the policy rate. This paper presents a parsimonious model to decompose the cost of lending and highlight the role of asset quality in diminishing pass-through. Using bank-level data over the period 2008-2014, we empirically test the implications of the model. We show that a one percentage point increase in the impairment ratio lowering short run pass-through by 3 percent. We find that banks with severely impaired balance sheets do not adjust their loan pricing in response to changes in the policy rate at all. We derive a measure of the hidden bad loan problem, the NPL gap, which we define as the excess of non-performing loans over impaired loans. We show that it played a significant role in the fragmentation of euro area pass-through post-crisis.

Bank Capital Forbearance
Martynova, Natalya,Perotti, Enrico,Suarez, Javier
We analyze the strategic interaction between undercapitalized banks and a supervisor who may intervene by preventive recapitalization. Supervisory forbearance emerges because of a commitment problem, reinforced by fiscal costs and constrained capacity. Private incentives to comply are lower when supervisors have lower credibility, especially for highly levered banks. Less credible supervisors (facing higher cost of intervention) end up intervening more banks, yet producing higher forbearance and systemic costs of bank distress. Importantly, when public intervention capacity is constrained, private recapitalization decisions become strategic complements, leading to equilibria with extremely high forbearance and high systemic costs of bank failure.

Bank Resolution and Public Backstop in an Asymmetric Banking Union
Segura, Anatoli,Vicente, Sergio
This paper characterizes the optimal banking union with endogenous participation in a two-country economy in which domestic bank failures may be contemporaneous to sovereign crises, giving rise to risk-sharing motives to mutualize the funding of bail-outs. Raising public funds to conduct a bail-out entails the deadweight loss of distortionary taxation. Bank bail-ins create disruption costs in the economy. When country asymmetry is large, resolution policies exhibit reduced contributions to the public backstop and forbearance in early bank intervention in the fiscally stronger country, facilitating bail-outs in this country.

Bitcoin's future carbon footprint
Shize Qin,Lena Klaaßen,Ulrich Gallersdörfer,Christian Stoll,Da Zhang

The carbon footprint of Bitcoin has drawn wide attention, but Bitcoin's long-term impact on the climate remains uncertain. Here we present a framework to overcome uncertainties in previous estimates and project Bitcoin's electricity consumption and carbon footprint in the long term. If we assume Bitcoin's market capitalization grows in line with the one of gold, we find that the annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin may increase from 50 to 400 TWh between 2020 and 2100. The future carbon footprint of Bitcoin strongly depends on the decarbonization pathway of the electricity sector. If the electricity sector achieves carbon neutrality by 2050, Bitcoin's carbon footprint has peaked already. However, in the business-as-usual scenario, emissions sum up to 2 gigatons until 2100, an amount comparable to 6% of global emissions in 2018. Therefore, we also discuss policy instruments to reduce Bitcoin's future carbon footprint.

Cyclical Investment Behavior Across Financial Institutions
Timmer, Yannick
This paper contrasts the investment behavior of different financial institutions in debt securities as a response to past returns. For identification, I use unique security-level data from the German Micro-database Securities Holdings Statistics. Banks and investment funds respond in a pro-cyclical manner to past security-specific holding period returns. In contrast, insurance companies and pension funds act counter-cyclically; they buy when returns have been negative and sell after high returns. The heterogeneous responses can be explained by differences in their balance sheet structure. I exploit within-sector variation in the financial constraint to show that tighter constraints are associated with relatively more pro-cyclical investment behavior.

Debt Holder Monitoring and Implicit Guarantees: Did the Brrd Improve Market Discipline?
Cutura, Jannic
This paper argues that the European Unions Banking Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) improved market discipline in the European bank market for unsecured debt. The different impact of the BRRD on bank bonds provides a quasi-natural experiment that allows to study the effect of the BRRD within banks using a difference-in-difference approach. Identification is based on the fact that (otherwise identical) bonds of a given bank maturing before 2016 are explicitly protected from BRRD bail-in. The empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that debt holders actively monitor banks and that the BRRD diminished bail-out expectations. Bank bonds subject to BRRD bail-in carry a 10 basis points bail-in premium in terms of the yield spread. While there is some evidence that the bail-in premium is more pronounced for non-GSIB banks and banks domiciled in peripheral European countries, weak capitalization is the main driver.

Do Information Contagion and Business Model Similarities Explain Bank Credit Risk Commonalities?
Wang, Dieter,Lelyveld, Iman van,Schaumburg, Julia
This paper revisits the credit spread puzzle for banks from the perspective of information contagion. The puzzle consists of two stylized facts: Structural determinants of credit risk not only have low explanatory power but also fail to capture common factors in the residuals. We reproduce the puzzle for European bank credit spreads and hypothesize that the puzzle exists because structural models ignore contagion effects. We therefore extend the structural approach to include information contagion through bank business model similarities. To capture this channel, we propose an intuitive measure for portfolio overlap and apply it to the complete asset holdings of the largest banks in the Eurozone. Incorporating this unique network information into the structural model increases explanatory power and removes a systemic common factor from the residuals. Furthermore, neglecting the network likely overstates the importance of structural determinants.

Economic Complexity and Growth: Can value-added exports better explain the link?
Philipp Koch

In economic literature, economic complexity is typically approximated on the basis of an economy's gross export structure. However, in times of ever increasingly integrated global value chains, gross exports may convey an inaccurate image of a country's economic performance since they also incorporate foreign value-added and double-counted exports. Thus, I introduce a new empirical approach approximating economic complexity based on a country's value-added export structure. This approach leads to substantially different complexity rankings compared to established metrics. Moreover, the explanatory power of GDP per capita growth rates for a sample of 40 lower-middle- to high-income countries is considerably higher, even if controlling for typical growth regression covariates.

Effectiveness of Policy and Regulation in European Sovereign Credit Risk Markets: A Network Analysis
Buse, Rebekka,Schienle, Melanie,Urban, Joerg
We study the impact of changes in regulations and policy interventions on systemic risk among European sovereign entities measured as volatility spillovers in respective credit risk markets. Our unique intraday CDS dataset allows for precise measurement of the effectiveness of these events in a network setting. In particular, it allows discerning interventions which entail significant changes in network cross-effects with appropriate bootstrap confidence intervals. We show that it was mainly regulatory changes with the ban of trading naked sovereign CDS in 2012 as well as the new ISDA regulations in 2014 which were most effective in reducing systemic risk. In comparison, we find that the effect of policy interventions was minor and generally not sustainable. In particular, they only had a significant impact when implemented for the first time and when targeting more than one country. For the volatility spillover channels, we generally find balanced networks with no fragmentation over time.

Electoral Cycles in Macroprudential Regulation
Müller, Karsten
Do politics matter for macroprudential policy? I show that changes to macroprudential regulation exhibit a predictable electoral cycle in the run-up to 221 elections across 58 countries from 2000 through 2014. Policies restricting mortgages and consumer credit are systematically less likely to be tightened before elections during credit booms and economic expansions. Consistent with theories of opportunistic political cycles, this pattern is stronger when election outcomes are uncertain or in countries where political interference is more likely. In contrast to monetary policy, I find limited evidence that central banks are uniquely insulated from political cycles in macroprudential policy. These results suggest that political pressures may limit the ability of regulators to “lean against the wind.”

Elements of Economics of Uncertainty and Time with Recursive Utility
Aase, Knut K.
We address how recursive utility affects important results in the theory of economics of uncertainty and time, as compared to the standard model, where the focus is on dynamic models in discrete time. Several puzzles associated with the standard theory are less puzzling with recursive utility, even if this type of preference representation seems close to the standard one at first sight. An inconsistency with the axioms behind the standard, separable and additive expected utility representation is pointed out and extended to also be relevant for recursive utility. The basic difference from the standard model is that recursive utility allows a form of separation of consumption substitution from risk aversion. This also means that the timing of resolution of uncertainty matters. In dynamic models, however, this turns out to be a rather crucial step.

Evaluating Macroprudential Policies
Buch, Claudia,Vogel, Edgar,Weigert, Benjamin
Macroprudential policy is a relatively new policy field. Its goal is to preserve financial stability and to prevent the build-up of systemic risk that may have adverse effects for the functioning of the financial system and for the real economy. New institutions have been tasked with the implementation of macroprudential policies, and new policy instruments have been introduced. Nonetheless, uncertainty about the state of the financial system and the effects and effectiveness of these policy instruments is high. This uncertainty entails two risks: the risk of acting too late (inaction bias) and the risk of choosing an inappropriate instrument or inadequate calibration. In this paper, we argue that both risks can be mitigated if macroprudential policy is embedded in a structured policy process. Such a policy process involves four steps: defining policy objectives for macroprudential policies, choosing intermediate objectives and appropriate indicators, linking instruments to these indicators through ex-ante evaluation studies, and analyzing the effects of these policies through ex-post evaluation studies. We argue that the infrastructure for this policy process can be further improved by providing data for policy evaluation, establishing or strengthening legal mandates for policy evaluation, establishing mechanisms for international cooperation, and building up repositories of evaluation studies.

Excursion Risk
Anna Ananova,Rama Cont,Renyuan Xu

The risk and return profiles of a broad class of dynamic trading strategies, including pairs trading and other statistical arbitrage strategies, may be characterized in terms of excursions of the market price of a portfolio away from a reference level. We propose a mathematical framework for the risk analysis of such strategies, based on a description in terms of price excursions, first in a pathwise setting, without probabilistic assumptions, then in a Markovian setting.

We introduce the notion of delta-excursion, defined as a path which deviates by delta from a reference level before returning to this level. We show that every continuous path has a unique decomposition into delta-excursions, which is useful for the scenario analysis of dynamic trading strategies, leading to simple expressions for the number of trades, realized profit, maximum loss and drawdown. As delta is decreased to zero, properties of this decomposition relate to the local time of the path.

When the underlying asset follows a Markov process, we combine these results with Ito's excursion theory to obtain a tractable decomposition of the process as a concatenation of independent delta-excursions, whose distribution is described in terms of Ito's excursion measure. We provide analytical results for linear diffusions and give new examples of stochastic processes for flexible and tractable modeling of excursions. Finally, we describe a non-parametric scenario simulation method for generating paths whose excursion properties match those observed in empirical data.

Exposition, Climax, Denouement: Life-Cycle Evaluation of the Recent Financial Crisis in the EU by Linking the Esrb Financial Crisis Database to the European Commission's Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure Scoreboard
Erhart, Szilard
The paper investigates the life-cycle of the 2008-2009 financial crisis by linking the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) Scoreboard of the European Commission to the crisis database of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). The novelty of the analysis is that early warning capacity of MIP indicators is empirically tested in case of various crisis events case by case (i) Currency/Balance-of-Payment/Capital flow events, (ii) Sovereign crisis events, (iii) Banking crisis events and (iv) Significant asset price corrections in EU Member States. Furthermore, we contribute to the literature by studying the predicting power of the MIP Scoreboard in the identification of the overheating in the economy in advance of crises (preventive arm of the MIP). We found that the predictive power of the MIP Scoreboard may be twice as high to capture sovereign and Currency/Balance-of-Payment/Capital flow type of crisis events than its power to capture a banking crisis or serious asset price corrections. We confirm the results of earlier empirical studies that some MIP indicators perform relatively well (current account and net international position) in all specifications. A simple composite indicator based on the threshold breaches of MIP Scoreboard Indicators, performed in most cases as good as the best individual indicator, and hence could be considered as an input to a simple, rule based and accountable decision making.

Fast and exact audit scheduling optimization
Jan Motl,Pavel Kordík

This article is concerned with the cost and time effective scheduling of financial auditors with Integer Linear Programming. The schedule optimization takes into account 13 different constraints, staff scarcity, frequent alterations of the input data with the need to minimize the changes in the generated schedule, and scaling issues. We compared two exact formulations of the problem and we found a multi-commodity network flow formulation to be 24 times faster than a three-dimensional formulation. The delivered implementation reduced time to the first schedule from 3 man-days to 1 hour and the schedule update time from 1 man-day to 4 minutes.

Fire-Sales in Frozen Markets
Ebrahimy, Ehsan
It is challenging to explain the collapse in the price of subprime mortgage-backed securities (MBS) during the Financial Crisis of 2008, using the existing models of fire sale. I present a model to demonstrate that fire sales may happen even when there is a relatively sizable pool of natural buyers and in the absence of asymmetric information, due to a coordination failure among buyers: buyers’ waiting to trade at a lower price tomorrow, can lead to a collapse in the price and trade volume today. In particular, I show that when trade is decentralized and participation is endogenous, a medium level of asset demand and liquidity needs that are expected to increase over time create complementarity among buyers’ decisions to wait. This complementarity makes competitive markets prone to coordination failures and fire sales accompanied by a collapse in the trade volume. Fire sales may also be inefficient. I also discuss various policy options to eliminate the risk of fire sales in such a setup.

Gap-Filling Government Debt Maturity Choice
Eidam, Frederik
Do governments strategically choose debt maturity to fill supply gaps across maturities? Building on a new panel data set of more than 9,000 individual Eurozone government debt issues between 1999 and 2015, I find that governments increase long-term debt issues following periods of low aggregate Eurozone long-term debt issuance, and vice versa. This gap-filling behaviour is more pronounced for (1) less financially constrained and (2) higher rated governments. Using the ECB’s three-year LTRO in 2011-2012 as an event study, I find that core governments filled the supply gap of longer maturity debt, which resulted from peripheral governments accommodating banks’ short-term debt demand for “carry trades”. This gap-filling implies that governments act as macro-liquidity providers across maturities, thereby adding significant risk absorption capacity to government bond markets.

Has Regulatory Capital Made Banks Safer? Skin in the Game vs Moral Hazard
Dautović, Ernest
The paper evaluates the impact of macroprudential capital regulation on bank capital, risk taking behaviour, and solvency. The identification relies on an exogenous policy change in bank-level capital requirements across systemically important banks in Europe. A one percentage point hike in capital requirements leads to an average CET1 capital level increase of 13 percent improving their loss absorption capacity. The paper does not find evidence of costs due to reduction in assets. The paper documents robust evidence on the existence of substitution effects toward riskier assets. Consistently with arguments on agency costs and gambling for resurrection, the risk taking behavior is predominantly driven by large and less profitable banks. Large wholesale funded banks show less risk taking. In terms of overall impact on solvency, the higher risk taking crowds-out the positive effect of increased capital.

How Effective are Sovereign Bond-Backed Securities as a Spillover Prevention Device?
Cronin, David,Dunne, Peter G.
Brunnermeier et al. (2017) propose the introduction of sovereign bond-backed securities (SBBS) in the euro area. It and other papers address how the securitisation would insulate senior security holders from actual default-related losses. This article generalises the assessment by using the VAR-based Diebold & Yilmaz (2012) spillover index methodology to assess potential attenuation of the spillover of shocks in holding-period returns across asset markets from the introduction of SBBS. This is made possible by employing SBBS yields estimated from historical euro area member state sovereign bond yields using Monte Carlo methods, as described in Schönbucher (2003). The econometric results show that (i) SBBS tranching protects senior SBBS holders by reducing the spillover of shocks from the higher-risk peripheral member states to it; (ii) spillovers from high risk sovereigns to a weighted portfolio are much higher than those to the senior SBBS; (iii) a smaller junior SBBS tranche, and the introduction of a mezzanine security, reduces spillover from it to the senior SBBS; and (iv) rolling window analysis indicates that the spillover of shocks from the junior tranche to the senior tranche declines during a period of financial stress.

Insurers as Asset Managers and Systemic Risk
Ellul, Andrew,Jotikasthira, Chotibhak,Kartasheva, Anastasia V.,Lundblad, Christian T.,Wagner, Wolf
Financial intermediaries often provide guarantees that resemble out-of-the-money put options, exposing them to tail risk. Using the U.S. life insurance industry as a laboratory, we present a model in which variable annuity (VA) guarantees and associated hedging operate within the regulatory capital framework to create incentives for insurers to overweight illiquid bonds (“reach-for-yield”). We then calibrate the model to insurer-level data, and show that the VA-writing insurers’ collective allocation to illiquid bonds exacerbates system-wide fire sales in the event of negative asset shocks, plausibly erasing up to 20-70% of insurers’ equity capital.

Interactions between Bank Levies and Corporate Taxes: How is the Bank Leverage Affected?
Bremus, Franziska,Schmidt, Kirsten,Tonzer, Lena
Regulatory bank levies set incentives for banks to reduce leverage. At the same time, corporate income taxation makes funding through debt more attractive. In this paper, we explore how regulatory levies affect bank capital structure, depending on corporate income taxation. Based on bank balance sheet data from 2006 to 2014 for a panel of EU-banks, our analysis yields three main results: The introduction of bank levies leads to lower leverage as liabilities become more expensive. This effect is weaker the more elevated corporate income taxes are. In countries charging very high corporate income taxes, the incentives of bank levies to reduce leverage turn ineffective. Thus, bank levies can counteract the debt bias of taxation only partially.

Interest Rate-Growth Differentials on Government Debt: An Empirical Investigation for the Euro Area
Checherita-Westphal, Cristina D.,Semeano, João Domingues
The interest rate-growth differential (

Is Collusion-Proof Procurement Expensive?
Gaurab Aryal,Maria F. Gabrielli

Collusion among bidders adversely affects procurement cost and in some cases efficiency, and it seems collusion is more prevalent that we would like. Statistical methods of detecting collusion just using bid data, in a hope to deter future collusion, is perilous, and access to additional data is rare and often always after the fact. In this paper, we estimate the extra cost of implementing a new procurement rule proposed by Chen and Micali [2012] that is robust to collusion and always guarantees the efficient outcome. The rule requires bidders to report their coalition and to ensure incentive-compatibility, the mechanism allows them to attain rents. We estimate this rent using data from California highway construction and find it to be anywhere between 1.6% to 5%. Even after we factor in the marginal excess burden of taxes needed to finance these rents, the cost ranges between 2.08% and 6.5%, suggesting that there is a room to think about running this new auction, suggesting we should consider this auction.

Lending Standards and Output Growth
Kirti, Divya
While some credit booms are followed by economic underperformance, many are not. Can lending standards help separate good credit booms from bad credit booms contemporaneously? To observe lending standards internationally, I use information from primary debt capital markets. I construct the high-yield (HY) share of bond issuance for a panel of 38 countries. The HY share is procyclical, suggesting that lending standards in bond markets are extrapolative. Credit booms with deteriorating lending standards (rising HY share) are followed by lower GDP growth in the subsequent three to four years. Such booms deserve attention from policy makers.

Liquidity and Mispricing
Huber, Daniel
I document a strong liquidity premium in long/short portfolio returns based on the Stambaugh, Yu, and Yuan (2015) mispricing score. This premium can be mainly attributed to arbitrage asymmetry among very illiquid stocks. To explore this relation in greater detail, I analyze the effect of liquidity shocks on the magnitude of mispricing. In the overall sample, negative liquidity shocks lead to an increase in mispricing. Controlling for the state of the economy by means of the cross-sectional empirical distribution function of liquidity shocks measured on firm level, in a neutral market environment both negative and positive liquidity shocks lead to an increase in mispricing. In a strong market environment only negative liquidity shocks cause an increase in mispricing. In a weak market environment, the magnitude of mispricing is not affected by liquidity shocks of either direction. Liquidity and liquidity shocks manifest as strong predictors of future returns, controlling for individual mispricing components as well as composite mispricing. These findings suggest that liquidity is an important determinant of mispricing in international equity markets.

Macroprudential Policy Spillovers and International Banking - Taking the Gravity Approach
Norring, Anni
In this paper I study how the effects of nationally implemented macroprudential policy spill across borders via international lending. For a set of 157 countries, I estimate a gravity model applied to international banking where the use of different macroprudential policy measures enter as friction variables. My findings support the existence of cross-border spillovers from macroprudential policy. Moreover, I find that the overall effect from more macroprudential regulation is highly dependent on the income group of the countries in which banks operate: The effect is of opposite sign for advanced and for emerging economies. I argue that the difference may tell of banks having more opportunities for regulatory arbitrage in emerging market economies.

Optimally Solving Banks’ Legacy Problems
Segura, Anatoli,Suarez, Javier
We characterize policy interventions directed to minimize the cost to the deposit guarantee scheme and the taxpayers of banks with legacy problems. Non-performing loans (NPLs) with low and risky returns create a debt overhang that induces bank owners to forego profitable lending opportunities. NPL disposal requirements can restore the incentives to undertake new lending but, as they force bank owners to absorb losses, can also make them prefer the bank being resolved. For severe legacy problems, combining NPL disposal requirements with positive transfers is optimal and involves no conflict between minimizing the cost to the authority and maximizing overall surplus.

Pockets of Risk in European Housing Markets: Then and Now
Kelly, Jane,Le Blanc, Julia,Lydon, Reamonn
Using household survey data, we document evidence of a loosening of credit standards in Euro area countries that experienced a property price boom-and-bust cycle. Borrowers in these countries exhibited significantly higher loan-to-value (LTV) and loan-to-income (LTI) ratios in the run up to the financial crisis, and an increasing tendency towards longer-term loans compared to borrowers in other countries. In recent years, despite the long period of historically low interest rates and substantial house price increases in some countries, we do not find similar credit easing as before the crisis. Instead, we find evidence of a considerable change in borrower characteristics since 2010: new borrowers are older and have higher incomes than before the crisis.

Positive Liquidity Spillovers from Sovereign Bond-Backed Securities
Dunne, Peter G.
This paper contributes to the debate concerning the benefits and disadvantages of introducing a European Sovereign Bond-Backed Securitisation (SBBS) to address the need for a common safe asset that would break destabilising bank-sovereign linkages. The analysis focuses on assessing the effectiveness of hedges incurred while making markets in individual euro area sovereign bonds by taking offsetting positions in one or more of the SBBS tranches. Tranche yields are estimated using a simulation approach. This involves the generation of sovereign defaults and allocation of the combined credit risk premium of all the sovereigns, at the end of each day, to the SBBS tranches according to the seniority of claims under the proposed securitisation. Optimal hedging with SBBS is found to reduce risk exposures substantially in normal market conditions. In volatile conditions, hedging is not very effective but leaves dealers exposed to mostly idiosyncratic risks. These remaining risks largely disappear if dealers are diversified in providing liquidity across country-specific secondary markets and SBBS tranches. Hedging each of the long positions in a portfolio of individual sovereigns results in a risk exposure as low as that borne by holding the safest individual sovereign bond (the Bund).

Preventing COVID-19 Fatalities: State versus Federal Policies
Jean-Paul Renne,Guillaume Roussellet,Gustavo Schwenkler

Are COVID-19 fatalities large when a federal government does not impose containment policies and instead allow states to implement their own policies? We answer this question by developing a stochastic extension of a SIRD epidemiological model for a country composed of multiple states. Our model allows for interstate mobility. We consider three policies: mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, and interstate travel bans. We fit our model to daily U.S. state-level COVID-19 death counts and exploit our estimates to produce various policy counterfactuals. While the restrictions imposed by some states inhibited a significant number of virus deaths, we find that more than two-thirds of U.S. COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented by late September 2020 had the federal government imposed federal mandates as early as some of the earliest states did. Our results highlight the need for early actions by a federal government for the successful containment of a pandemic.

Reconstructing and Stress Testing Credit Networks
Ramadiah, Amanah,Caccioli, Fabio,Fricke, Daniel
Financial networks are an important source of systemic risk, but often only partial network information is available. In this paper, we use data on bank-firm credit relationships in Japan and conduct a horse race between different network reconstruction methods in terms of their ability to reproduce the actual credit networks. We then compare the different reconstruction methods in terms of their implied systemic risk levels. In most instances we find that the observed credit network significantly displays the highest systemic risk level. Lastly, we explore different policies to improve the robustness of the system.

Regulating Financial Networks Under Uncertainty
Ramírez, Carlos A.
I study the problem of regulating a network of interdependent financial institutions that is prone to contagion when there is uncertainty regarding its precise structure. I show that such uncertainty reduces the scope for welfare-improving interventions. While improving network transparency potentially reduces this uncertainty, it does not always lead to welfare improvements. Under certain conditions, regulation that reduces the risk-taking incentives of a small set of institutions can improve welfare. The size and composition of such a set crucially depend on the interplay between (i) the (expected) susceptibility of the network to contagion, (ii) the cost of improving network transparency, (iii) the cost of regulating institutions, and (iv) investors’ preferences.

Regulating the Doom Loop
Alogoskoufis, Spyros,Langfield, Sam
Euro area governments have committed to break the doom loop between bank risk and sovereign risk. But policymakers have not reached consensus on whether and how to reform the regulatory treatment of banks’ sovereign exposures. To inform policy discussions, this paper simulates portfolio reallocations by euro area banks under scenarios for regulatory reform. Simulations highlight a tension in regulatory design between concentration and credit risk. An area-wide low-risk assetâ€"created by pooling and tranching cross-border portfolios of government debt securitiesâ€" would resolve this tension by expanding the portfolio opportunity set. Banks could therefore reinvest into an asset that has both low concentration and low credit risk.

Resolving a Non-Performing Loan Crisis: The Ongoing Case of the Irish Mortgage Market
McCann, Fergal
The Irish banking system has in recent years experienced a large build-up in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) during the crisis followed by a sharp reduction in the 2013-2017 period. In this article I present a recent history of the ongoing resolution of the mortgage arrears crisis in Ireland. Using a large and close to exhaustive panel data set of Irish mortgages from 2008 to 2016, I present a number of new findings on loan transitions between delinquency states, the importance of legacy effects of the crisis in explaining recent entry to arrears, the role of mortgage modification in the reduction in arrears balances, the extent of borrower-lender engagement and the financial vulnerability that remains in pockets of the Irish mortgage market.

Rethinking Capital Regulation: The Case for a Dividend Prudential Target
Muñoz, Manuel
The paper investigates the effectiveness of dividend-based macroprudential rules in complementing capital requirements to promote bank soundness and sustained lending over the cycle. First, some evidence on bank dividends and earnings in the euro area is presented. When shocks hit their profits, banks adjust retained earnings to smooth dividends. This generates bank equity and credit supply volatility. Then, a DSGE model with key financial frictions and a banking sector is developed to assess the virtues of what shall be called dividend prudential targets. Welfare-maximizing dividend-based macroprudential rules are shown to have important properties: (i) they are effective in smoothing the financial and the business cycle by means of less volatile bank retained earnings, (ii) they induce welfare gains associated to a Basel III-type of capital regulation, (iii) they mainly operate through their cyclical component, ensuring that long-run dividend payouts remain unaffected, (iv) they are flexible enough so as to allow bank managers to optimally deviate from the target (conditional on the payment of a sanction), and (v) they are associated to a sanctions regime that acts as an insurance scheme for the real economy.

Rewriting History II: The (Un)Predictable Past of ESG Ratings
Berg, Florian,Fabisik, Kornelia,Sautner, Zacharias
The explosion in ESG research has lead to a strong reliance on ESG rating providers. We document widespread changes to the historical ratings of Refinitiv ESG, formerly ASSET4, a key rating provider. Across two downloads in 2018 and 2020, we document large rewritings in ESG ratings, which are systematic and partially related to firm characteristics. The retrospective rating changes have important implications for researchers and investment professionals. Depending on whether the original or rewritten data are used, rankings and classifications of firms into ESG quantiles change. We demonstrate that these changes affect tests that relate ESG ratings to stock returns.

Rule-based Strategies for Dynamic Life Cycle Investment
T.R.B. den Haan,K.W. Chau,M. van der Schans,C.W. Oosterlee

In this work, we consider rule-based investment strategies for managing a defined contribution saving scheme under the Dutch pension fund testing model. We found that dynamic rule-based investment can outperform traditional static strategies, by which we mean that the pensioner can achieve the target retirement income with higher probability and limit the shortfall when target is not met. In comparison with the popular dynamic programming technique, the rule-based strategy has a more stable asset allocation throughout time and avoid excessive transactions, which may be hard to explain to the investor. We also study a combined strategy of rule based target and dynamic programming in this work. Another key feature of this work is that there is no risk-free asset under our setting, instead, a matching portfolio is introduced for the investor to avoid unnecessary risk.

Securisation Special Purpose Entities, Bank Sponsors and Derivatives
Fiedor, Pawel,Killeen, Neill
This paper documents the use of derivatives by securitisation special purpose entities (SPEs), also known as financial vehicle corporations (FVCs), domiciled in Ireland using transaction-level data established by the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. We show that these entities primarily engaged in interest rate derivatives over the period of 2015-2017. We find that larger entities that already engage in international capital markets are more likely to have derivative exposures. We also show that entities sponsored by banks and non-bank financial institutions are relatively more likely to engage in derivative markets. The characteristics of these bank sponsors are important in determining SPEs' engagement in derivative markets. SPEs' heavy reliance on debt finance coupled with their strong interconnectedness with bank sponsors underscores the importance of continuous monitoring and macroprudential surveillance of their derivative activities.

Shadow Banking and Financial Stability Under Limited Deposit Insurance
Voellmy, Lukas
I study the relation between shadow banking and financial stability in an economy in which banks are susceptible to self-fulfilling runs and in which government-backed deposit insurance is limited. Shadow banks issue only uninsured deposits while commercial banks issue both insured and uninsured deposits. The effect of shadow banking on financial stability is ambiguous and depends on the (exogenous) upper limit on insured deposits. If the upper limit on insured deposits is high, then the presence of a shadow banking sector is detrimental to financial stability; shadow banking creates systemic instability that would not be present if all deposits were held in the commercial banking sector. In contrast, if the upper limit on insured deposits is low, then the presence of a shadow banking sector is beneficial from a financial stability perspective; shadow banks absorb uninsured (and uninsurable) deposits from the commercial banking sector, thereby shielding commercial banks from runs. While runs may occur in the shadow banking sector, the situation without shadow banks and a larger amount of uninsured deposits held at commercial banks is worse.

Short-Term Trading Strategy on G10 Currencies
Agrawal, Dhruv
This paper presents research on a profitable trading strategy for G10 currencies. We will devise trading strategies by considering realistic trading scenarios, analyze the performance of such strategies on out of sample data, identify the risks of these trading strategies, explain why the trading strategy works, and summarize and draw conclusions. We will use technical indicators like Moving average (MA), Exponentially-weighted moving average, Ichimoku, Relative strength index, stochastic oscillators, Williams %R, Commodity Channel Index, and Bollinger bands. We will also use fundamental indicators like interest rate differentials from one currency to another.We will build a machine learning based model as it would be better equipped to build dynamic trading rules to capture profitable trading opportunities. We used an ensemble of machine learning algorithms - logistic regression with four principal components, and a voter classifier with random forest, extremely randomized trees, logistic regression with 4 principal components from the features, and support vector machine with 4 principal components from the features, giving 27% and 27% annualized returns, and 1.47 and 1.60 Sharpe ratio respectively.

Social Media and Political Contributions: The Impact of New Technology on Political Competition
Maria Petrova,Ananya Sen,Pinar Yildirim

Political campaigns are among the most sophisticated marketing exercises in the United States. As part of their marketing communication strategy, an increasing number of politicians adopt social media to inform their constituencies. This study documents the returns from adopting a new technology, namely Twitter, for politicians running for Congress by focusing on the change in campaign contributions received. We compare weekly donations received just before and just after a politician opens a Twitter account in regions with high and low levels of Twitter penetration, controlling for politician-month fixed effects. Specifically, over the course of a political campaign, we estimate that the differential effect of opening a Twitter account in regions with high vs low levels of Twitter penetration amounts to an increase of 0.7-2% in donations for all politicians and 1-3.1% for new politicians, who were never elected to the Congress before. In contrast, the effect of joining Twitter for experienced politicians remains negligibly small. We find some evidence consistent with the explanation that the effect is driven by new information about the candidates, e.g., the effect is primarily driven by new donors rather than past donors, by candidates without Facebook accounts and tweeting more informatively. Overall, our findings imply that social media can intensify political competition by lowering costs of disseminating information for new entrants to their constituents and thus may reduce the barriers to enter politics.

Softening the Blow: U.S. State-Level Banking Deregulation and Sectoral Reallocation after the China Trade Shock
Hoffmann, Mathias,Ruslanova, Lilia
U.S. state-level banking deregulation during the 1980’s mitigated the impact of the China trade shock (CTS) on local economies (states and commuting zones) a decade later, in the 1990s. Local economies, where local banking markets opened up earlier, were also effectively financially more integrated by the 1990’s and saw smaller declines in house prices, wages, and income following the CTS. We explain this pattern in a theoretical model that emphasizes the stabilizing effect of financial integration on demand for housing and on housing prices: faced with an adverse shock to their region’s terms-of-trade (i.e. the CTS), households in more open states can more easily access credit to smooth consumption. This stabilizes consumer demand for housing, keeps the relative price of housing up, stabilizes wages in the non-tradable sector and thus facilitates the sectoral reallocation of labor away from import-exposed manufacturing towards the housing sector. This in turn stabilizes income and consumption. We corroborate these predictions of our model in state- and commuting zone level data. Then, using granular bank-county-level data, we show that household consumption smoothing in response to the CTS was easier in financially open areas, because geographically diversified banks were more elastic in their lending response to household’s increased demand for credit. Our findings highlight the importance of household access to finance in the adjustment to asymmetric terms-of-trade shocks in monetary unions.

Strategic Temporal Immediacy: How a Subtle Change to Managers’ Language and the Use of Video in Earnings Conference Calls Jointly Impact Investors’ Willingness to Invest
Jackson, Scott C.,Piercey, M. David,Wang, Elaine
This study investigates how a subtle change to a CEO’s language in earnings conference calls can impact investors’ willingness to invest. Specifically, without changing the substance of the events described in a company’s earnings guidance, CEOs can alter the temporal immediacy of their language (i.e., changing the tense of verbs and active vs. passive voice) to make good news seem more immediate and bad news seem more distant. We demonstrate in an experiment that a CEO’s use of this simple persuasion tactic can successfully impact investors’ willingness to invest. However, as video communication of earnings conference calls has become more popular, our study also investigates this persuasion tactic in both text and video formats. Consistent with our predictions, we find that video communication of an earnings conference call attenuates the effect of this persuasion tactic. In addition, we find that video can also lower investors’ willingness to invest further if the CEO conveys additional nonverbal cues of egotism that may be difficult to consciously prevent. Together, we find that strategic temporal immediacy can persuade investors without altering the substance of the disclosure, but that video communication can undo those persuasion tactics, and has the potential to further damage perceptions of the CEO if managers behave egotistically. Our findings have important implications for investors, managers, and regulators.

Structural Credit Ratios
Bianchi, Benedetta
This paper studies the relation between the credit-to-GDP ratio and macroeconomic trends. We estimate a long run equation on a sample of EU countries; our findings suggest that the macroeconomic factors with which the credit ratio associates most strongly are economic development, the investment share in GDP, and inflation. We then obtain projections for past and future trends. First, we study the evolution of the credit ratio in the past. We find that most of the increase starting in 1985 is associated with economic development and falling inflation, while the decrease of investment may have slowed down this trend. Second, we offer a forward-looking estimate of the structural credit ratio, defined as the long run, or sustainable, component. We offer band estimates based on two alternative assumptions on future economic outcomes, which can be interpreted as a structural and a cyclical view of current macroeconomic dynamics. Estimates of structural credit ratios based on this method are useful to policy makers having to decide on the activation of the countercyclical capital buffer, especially when assessing the sustainability of credit growth.

Systemic Illiquidity in the Interbank Network
Ferrara, Gerardo,Langfield, Sam,Liu, Zijun,Ota, Tomohiro
We study systemic illiquidity using a unique dataset on banks’ daily cash flows, short-term interbank funding and liquid asset buffers. Failure to roll-over short-term funding or repay obligations when they fall due generates an externality in the form of systemic illiquidity. We simulate a model in which systemic illiquidity propagates in the interbank funding network over multiple days. In this setting, systemic illiquidity is minimised by a macroprudential policy that skews the distribution of liquid assets towards banks that are important in the network.

The Cyclicality in Sicr: Mortgage Modelling Under IFRS 9
Gaffney, Edward ,McCann, Fergal
Banks must make forward-looking provisions for loan losses under new international accounting standards introduced in 2018. In Europe, banks will assign performing exposures to a new “Stage 2” category with a higher provisioning penalty, if they have experienced significant increase in credit risk (SICR). We use a loan-level credit risk model and Irish residential mortgage panel data to assign performing loans into the appropriate stage. Using this technique, we characterise approximately 30 per cent of the performing Irish mortgage portfolio at end-2015 as Stage 2.We then calculate backward-looking, static estimations of Stage 2 mortgages between 2008 and 2015. This exercise suggests that loan stage assignment can be highly pro-cyclical. The share of Stage 2 among performing mortgages rises during the economic downturn to peak in 2013, after which large transitions are assigned from Stage 2 into lower-risk performing loans, as the economy improves.

The Effect of Possible EU Diversification Requirements on the Risk of Banks' Sovereign Bond Portfolios
Craig, Ben R.,Giuzio, Margherita,Paterlini, Sandra
Recent policy discussion includes the introduction of diversification requirements for sovereign bond portfolios of European banks. In this paper, we evaluate the possible effects of these constraints on risk and diversification in the sovereign bond portfolios of the major European banks. First, we capture the dependence structure of European countries' sovereign risks and identify the common factors driving European sovereign CDS spreads by means of an independent component analysis. We then analyze the risk and diversification in the sovereign bond portfolios of the largest European banks and discuss the role of “home bias”, i.e., the tendency of banks to concentrate their sovereign bond holdings in their domicile country. Finally, we evaluate the effect of diversification requirements on the tail risk of sovereign bond portfolios and quantify the system-wide losses in the presence of fire-sales. Under our assumptions about how banks respond to the new requirements, demanding that banks modify their holdings to increase their portfolio diversification may mitigate fire-sale externalities, but may be ineffective in reducing portfolio risk, including tail risk.

The Effects of Capital Requirements on Good and Bad Risk-Taking
Pancost, N. Aaron,Robatto, Roberto
We study optimal capital requirement regulation in a dynamic quantitative model in which nonfinancial firms, as well as households, hold deposits. Firms hold deposits for precautionary reasons and to facilitate the acquisition of production inputs. Our theoretical analysis identifies a novel general equilibrium channel that operates through firms’ deposits and mitigates the cost of increasing capital requirements. We calibrate our model and find that the optimal capital requirement is 18.7% but only 13.6% in a comparable model in which only households hold deposits. Our novel channel accounts for most of the difference.

The Network of Firms Implied by the News
Schwenkler, Gustavo,Zheng, Hannan
We show that the news is a rich source of data on distressed firm links that drive firm-level and aggregate risks. The news tends to report about links in which a less popular firm is distressed and may contaminate a more popular firm. This constitutes a contagion channel that yields predictable returns and downgrades. Shocks to the degree of news-implied firm connectivity predict increases in aggregate volatilities, credit spreads, and default rates, and declines in output. To obtain our results, we propose a machine learning methodology that takes text data as input and outputs a data-implied firm network.

The Role of Contagion in the Transmission of Financial Stress
Herculano, Miguel
I examine the relevance of contagion in explaining financial distress in the US banking system by identifying the component of bank level probabilities that is due to contagion. Identification is achieved after controlling for macrofinancial and bank specific shocks that have similar consequences to contagion. I use a Bayesian spatial autoregressive model that allows for time-dependent network interactions, and find that bank default likelihoods depend, to a large extent, on peer effects that account on average for approximately 35 per cent of total distress. Furthermore, I find evidence of significant heterogeneity amongst banks and some institutions to be systemically more important that others, in terms of peer effects.

Use of Credit Default Swaps by Ucits Funds: Evidence from EU Regulatory Data
Braunsteffer, Achim,Guagliano, Claudia,Kenny, Oisin,Mazzacurati, Julien
Using a sample of more than 18,000 Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities,or UCITS, this paper aims to provide a first overview of the use of credit default swaps by EU UCITSfunds. We show that UCITS funds only account for a small share of the overall EU credit derivativesmarket. The CDS market is highly concentrated, with thirteen large dealers acting as counterparty to thevast majority of CDS transactions that involve UCITS funds. The use of CDS by UCITS is mainlyconcentrated in fixed-income funds and funds that rely on so-called alternative strategies. Funds that useCDS tend to be much larger on average. The analysis also reveals three salient features in the UCITSfunds’ use of CDS. Firstly, funds with directional strategies, such as fixed-income and allocation funds (ormixed funds), are on aggregate net sellers of CDS. Secondly, a large majority of CDS underlyings areindices, from which funds can gain exposure to multiple entities at once within one sector or region.Lastly, most sovereign single-name CDS are written on emerging market issuers, highlighting the rolethat these instruments can play in facilitating access to less liquid markets.