Research articles for the 2021-07-09

An Agency Problem in the MBS Market and the Solicited Refinancing Channel of Large-Scale Asset Purchases
Kandrac, John,Schlusche, Bernd
In this paper, we document that mortgage-backed securities (MBS) held by the Federal Reserve exhibit faster principal prepayment rates than MBS held by the rest of the market. Next, we show that this stylized fact persists even when controlling for factors that affect prepayment behavior, and thus determine the MBS that are delivered to the Federal Reserve. After ruling out several potential explanations for this result, we provide evidence that points to an agency problem in the secondary market for MBS, which has not previously been documented, as the most likely explanation for the abnormal prepayment behavior of Federal Reserve-held MBS. This agency problem--a key feature of the MBS market--arises when originators of mortgages that underlie the MBS no longer share in the prepayment risk of the securities, thereby increasing incentives to solicit refinancing activity. Therefore, Federal Reserve MBS holdings acquired from originators as a result of large-scale asset purchases can help stimulate economic activity through a so-called \"solicited refinancing channel.\" Finally, we provide an estimate of the additional refinancing activity resulting from the solicited refinancing channel in the years after the Federal Reserve's first MBS purchase program, demonstrating that this channel conveyed savings on monthly mortgage payments to homeowners.

An Empirical Analysis of Futures Margin Changes: Determinants and Policy Implications
Abruzzo, Nicole,Park, Yang-Ho
Margin regulation raises two policy concerns. First, an alignment of margins to volatility can amplify procyclicality, leading to a build-up of excess leverage in good times and a forced deleverage in bad times. Second, competition among central counterparties (CCPs) can result in lower margin levels in order to attract more trading volume, which is referred to as a \"race to the bottom.\" Motivated by these issues, we empirically analyze the determinants of margin changes by using a data set of various futures margins from Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group. We first find that CME Group raises margins quickly following volatility spikes but does not immediately lower margins following volatility declines, implying that margin-induced procyclicality is more of a concern in recessions than in expansions. In addition, we find some evidence that the margin difference between CME Group and its competitor, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), is an important driver of margin changes after changes in other margin determinants are controlled for, implying that competition may be factored into margin setting.

Banks, Capital Flows and Financial Crises
Akinci, Ozge,Queraltó, Albert
This paper proposes a macroeconomic model with financial intermediaries (banks), in which banks face occasionally binding leverage constraints and may endogenously affect the strength of their balance sheets by issuing new equity. The model can account for occasional financial crises as a result of the nonlinearity induced by the constraint. Banks' precautionary equity issuance makes financial crises infrequent events occurring along with \"regular\" business cycle fluctuations. We show that an episode of capital infl ows and rapid credit expansion, triggered by low country interest rates, leads banks to endogenously decrease the rate of equity issuance, contributing to an increase in the likelihood of a crisis. Macroprudential policies directed at strengthening banks' balance sheets, such as capital requirements, are shown to lower the probability of financial crises and to enhance welfare.

Bubbles and Leverage: A Simple and Unified Approach
Bogusz, Theodore
In this paper, we lay out a simple framework that captures much of what the theoretical literature has to say about the role of credit in systemically important asset booms and busts. In addition, we suggest ways in which to incorporate physical investment in the bubble asset as well as monetary policy.

CEO Compensation: Evidence from the Field
Edmans, Alex,Gosling, Tom,Jenter, Dirk
We survey directors and investors on the objectives, constraints, and determinants of CEO pay. 67% of directors would sacrifice shareholder value to avoid controversy on CEO pay, implying they face significant constraints other than participation and incentive compatibility. These constraints lead to lower pay levels and more one-size-fits-all structures. Shareholders are the main source of constraints, suggesting directors and investors disagree on how to maximize value. Respondents view intrinsic motivation and reputation as stronger motivators than incentive pay. They believe pay matters to CEOs not to finance consumption, but because it affects perceptions of fairness. The need to fairly recognize the CEO’s contribution explains why flow pay responds to performance, even though CEOs’ equity holdings already provide substantial consumption incentives, and why peer firm pay matters beyond retention concerns. Fairness also matters to investors, with shareholder returns an important reference point. This causes CEO pay to be affected by external risks, in contrast to optimal risk sharing.

Central Clearing and Systemic Liquidity Risk
Kingsley, G. Thomas,Nesmith, Travis D.,Paulson, Anna L.,Prono, Todd
By stepping between bilateral counterparties, a central counterparty (CCP) transforms credit exposure. CCPs generally improve financial stability. Nevertheless, large CCPs are by nature concentrated and interconnected with major global banks. Moreover, although they mitigate credit risk, CCPs create liquidity risks, because they rely on participants to provide cash. Such requirements increase with both market volatility and default; consequently, CCP liquidity needs are inherently procyclical. This procyclicality makes it more challenging to assess CCP resilience in the rare event that one or more large financial institutions default. Liquidity-focused macroprudential stress tests could help to assess and manage this systemic liquidity risk.

Collective Reputations, Trust Premium, and Corporate Misconduct
Chan, Konan,Lin, Tse-Chun,Kong, De-Rong
We examine the relationship between collective country reputations and foreign stock returns following news of corporate scandals. We find that investors punish not only the scandalous foreign firm but also other firms from the same country of origin, especially those coming from more trustworthy countries. The effect is more salient for firms with more imperfect information as measured by higher information asymmetry, lower reporting quality, and higher bankruptcy risk. Our findings suggest that investors incorporate a trust premium into stock prices based on foreign firms’ country-of-origin. However, they reclaim such a premium when a country’s trustworthiness is compromised by its affinity firm’s misconduct. Overall, we provide novel evidence that collective country reputations affect the pricing of foreign firms listed on the U.S. stock market.

Credit in a Crisis: Effects of the Fed's Corporate Bond Market Intervention
Haque, Sharjil,Varghese, Richard
We estimate the causal effects of the Federal Reserve’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities (SMCCF) on corporate bond market liquidity, cost of credit and bond price. Controlling for flight-to-quality induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, we find the SMCCF reduced trade-weighted average bid-ask spreads by 16 basis points and bond yield by 32 basis points but had negligible effect on prices of eligible bonds compared to ineligible bonds. When we refine this analysis using a credit-rating matched difference-in-differences specification, the reduction in bond yield is much larger and we also find a 1.9 percentage point increase in prices on eligible bonds. Finally, we also document that the improvements in liquidity condition and bond price was driven by the announcement of the facilities, while bond yield was driven down by actual purchases of eligible securities. Our results confirm the Fed's intervention helped restore financial stability in the U.S. corporate bond market following disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crowding Out Effects of Refinancing on New Purchase Mortgages
Sharpe, Steven A.,Sherlund, Shane M.
We present evidence that binding mortgage processing capacity constraints reduce mortgage originations to borrowers of low to modest credit quality. Mortgage processing capacity constraints typically bind when the demand for mortgage refinancing shifts outward, usually because of lower mortgage rates. As a result, high capacity utilization leads mortgage lenders to ration mortgage credit, completing mortgages that require less underwriting resources, and are thus less costly, to produce. This is hypothesized to have a particularly adverse impact on the ability of low- to modest-credit-quality borrowers to obtain mortgages. What is more, we show that, by lowering capacity utilization, a rise in interest rates can, under certain circumstances, induce an increase in mortgage originations to borrowers of low to modest credit quality. In particular, we find fairly large effects for purchasing borrowers of modest credit quality, in which we find that a decrease in capacity utilization of 4 applications per mortgage employee (similar to that observed from 2012 to 2013) could result in increased purchase mortgage originations, as the relaxed capacity constraint at least partially offsets the higher cost of mortgage credit.

Defragmenting Markets: Evidence from Agency MBS
Liu, Haoyang,Song, Zhaogang,Vickery, James I.
Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have historically traded in separate forward markets. We study the consequences of this fragmentation, showing that market liquidity endogenously concentrated in Fannie Mae MBS, leading to higher issuance and trading volume, lower transaction costs, higher security prices, and a higher rate of return on securitization for Fannie Mae. We then analyze a change in market design â€" the Single Security Initiative â€" which consolidated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac MBS trading into a single market in June 2019. We find that consolidation increased the liquidity and prices of Freddie Mac MBS without measurably reducing liquidity for Fannie Mae; this was in part achieved by aligning characteristics of the underlying MBS pools issued by the two agencies. Prices partially converged prior to the consolidation event, in anticipation of future liquidity. Consolidation increased Freddie Mac’s fee income by enabling it to remove discounts that previously compensated loan sellers for lower liquidity

End of the Line: Behavior of Heloc Borrowers Facing Payment Changes
Johnson, Kathleen,Sarama, Robert F.
An important question in the household finance literature is whether a change in required debt payments affects borrower behavior. One challenge in this literature has been identifying whether higher default rates observed after an increase in debt payments stem from the inability of borrowers to pay the higher amount, or the attrition of better borrowers in advance of the payment change. A related question is whether the higher default rate is a result of specific features of the debt product, or the type of borrower who chooses the product. We address both of these questions as they relate to a scheduled increase in payments on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Many existing HELOCs are structured such that when they reach the end of the draw period, they convert from open-ended, non-amortizing lines of credit to closed-end, amortizing loans. We compare the performance of HELOCs reaching end of draw with those not reaching end of draw and find that HELOCs that reach end of draw have a significantly higher cumulative default rate in the following months. We also show that, at end of draw, borrowers who have a HELOC with a balloon feature are more likely to have lower credit scores and higher LTVs than borrowers who have HELOCs with longer amortization periods. However, even controlling for borrower and loan characteristics, HELOCs with a balloon payment are more likely to default. This result provides evidence that HELOC defaults can be influenced both by the features of the product and the characteristics of borrowers who choose those features.

Fast Computation of Securities Financing Loss Distribution in Joint Lognormal Credit and Jump Diffusion Asset Model
Lou, Wujiang
At the core of securities financing transaction modeling is computing the distribution of the borrower default contingent market losses. Typically, the borrower’s credit spread is modeled after the lognormal model and the asset price dynamics is governed by a correlated jump diffusion model. While essential and realistic, this type of joint spread and asset model requires intensive numerical computation, often via the Monte Carlo simulation. This paper applies the Karhunen-Loeve decomposition of the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process in such a cross-asset setting. It is shown that the first few orders of the decomposition can produce accurate repo and securities lending haircuts. A fast numerical approximation to the loss distribution is thus developed at a small fractional cost of the simulation method.

Firm Entry and Employment Dynamics in the Great Recession
Siemer, Michael
The 2007-2009 recession is characterized by: a large drop in employment, an unprecedented decline in firm entry, and a slow recovery. Using confidential firm-level data, I show that financial constraints reduced employment growth in small relative to large firms by 4.8 to 10.5 percentage points. The effect of financial constraints is robust to controlling for aggregate demand and is particularly strong in small young firms. I show in a heterogeneous firms model with endogenous firm entry and financial constraints that a large financial shock results in a long-lasting recession caused by a \"missing generation\" of entrants.

Flights to Safety
Baele, Lieven,Bekaert, Geert,Inghelbrecht, Koen,Wei, Min
Using only daily data on bond and stock returns, we identify and characterize flight to safety (FTS) episodes for 23 countries. On average, FTS days comprise less than 3% of the sample, and bond returns exceed equity returns by 2.5 to 4%. The majority of FTS events are country-specific not global. FTS episodes coincide with increases in the VIX and the Ted spread, decreases in consumer sentiment indicators and appreciations of the Yen, Swiss franc, and US dollar. The financial, basic materials and industrial industries under-perform in FTS episodes, but the telecom industry outperforms. Money market instruments, corporate bonds, and commodity prices (with the exception of metals, including gold) face abnormal negative returns in FTS episodes. Hedge funds, especially those belonging to the \"event-driven\" styles, display negative FTS betas, after controlling for standard risk factors. Liquidity deteriorates on FTS days both in the bond and equity markets. Both economic growth and inflation decline right after and up to a year following a FTS spell.

Hedge Fund Treasury Trading and Funding Fragility: Evidence from the COVID-19 Crisis
Kruttli, Mathias S.,Monin, Phillip,Petrasek, Lubomir,Watugala, Sumudu W.
Hedge fund gross U.S. Treasury (UST) exposures doubled from 2018 to February 2020 to $2.4 trillion, primarily driven by relative value arbitrage trading and supported by corresponding increases in repo borrowing. In March 2020, amid unprecedented UST market turmoil, the average UST trading hedge fund had a return of -7% and reduced its UST exposure by close to 20%, despite relatively unchanged bilateral repo volumes and haircuts. Analyzing hedge fund-creditor borrowing data, we find the large, more regulated dealers provided disproportionately more funding during the crisis than other creditors. Overall, the step back in hedge fund UST activity was primarily driven by fund-specific liquidity management rather than dealer regulatory constraints. Hedge funds exited the turmoil with 20% higher cash holdings and smaller, more liquid portfolios, despite low contemporaneous outflows. This precautionary flight to cash was more pronounced among funds exposed to greater redemption risk through shorter share restrictions. Hedge funds predominantly trading the cash-futures basis faced greater margin pressure and reduced UST exposures and repo borrowing the most. After the market turmoil subsided following Fed intervention, hedge fund returns recovered quickly, but UST exposures did not revert to pre-shock levels over the subsequent months.

Hedging Against the Government: A Solution to the Home Asset Bias Puzzle
Berriel, Tiago C.,Bhattarai, Saroj
This paper explains two puzzling facts: international nominal bonds and equity portfolios are biased domestically. In our two-country model, holding domestic government nominal debt provides a hedge against shocks to bond returns and the impact on taxes they induce. For this result, only two features are essential: some nominal risk and taxes falling only on domestic agents. A third feature explains why agents choose to hold primarily domestic equity: government spending falls on domestic goods. Then, an increase in government spending raises the returns on domestic equity, providing a hedge against the subsequent increase in taxes. These conclusions are robust to a wide range of preference parameter values and the incompleteness of financial markets. A calibrated version of the model predicts asset holdings that quantitatively match the data.

Identification of Analyst Coverage Initiations
Jung, Jay,Yu, Yong,Zhao, Wuyang
Researchers have traditionally inferred analysts’ coverage initiations using an analyst’s and/or a broker’s first recommendation for a firm in IBES. Using a large hand-collected sample of analyst reports announcing coverage initiations, we document that 17% of the traditionally-inferred initiations are not actual initiations (Type I error) and that 50% of the actual initiations are not identified using the traditional approach (Type II error). We show that these measurement errors lead to systematic biases in a variety of firm and analyst characteristics and in the distribution of analysts’ recommendations, and that correcting for these measurement errors changes an important prior finding. We assess the effectiveness of the methods that prior studies have used to mitigate the measurement errors, and suggest a new method that improves upon these prior methods.

In Search of a Risk-Free Asset
Yankov, Vladimir
To attract retail time deposits, over 7,000 FDIC insured U.S. commercial banks publicly post their yield offers. I document an economically sizable and highly pro-cyclical cross-sectional dispersion in these yield offers during the period 1997 - 2011. Banks adjusted their yields rigidly and asymmetrically with median duration of 7 weeks in response to increasing or constant Fed Funds rate target regimes and 3 weeks during regimes of decreasing Fed Fund rate target. I investigate to what extent information (search) costs on the part of the investors in this market can explain the observed pricing behavior. I build and estimate an asset pricing model with heterogeneous search cost investors. A large fraction of high information cost uninformed investors and the exit of low information cost informed investors rationalizes the observed price dispersion. I further qualitatively match the asymmetric yield rigidity within the framework of costly consumer search without the need to impose menu costs or other restrictions on the banks' repricing behavior.

Incentive Compatible Relationship between the ERM II and Close Cooperation in the Banking Union: The Cases of Bulgaria and Croatia
Nieto, Maria,Singh, Dalvinder
The goal of expanding participation in the European Banking Union was to allow the “outs” to enter into close cooperation, but it did not include the simultaneous joining of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II). Focusing on the cases of Bulgaria and Croatia, this paper attempts to respond to various questions. What is the rationale behind the double requirement of having simultaneously to apply to become a member of the ERM II and to prepare to become a member of the Banking Union via the rule-based “close-cooperation” coordination mechanism between the EU non-euro-area national competent authorities (NCAs) and the European Central Bank (ECB)? Does the integration of close-cooperation countries’ banking systems with the euro-area banking systems support the decision to join the ERM II and “opting in” to the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM)? What are the advantages of preparing to become a full member of the euro area and the SSM? It is evident from the research undertaken in this paper that there are clear benefits of close cooperation for these member states whose domestic currencies are already linked to the euro, in view of the dominant position eurozone banks have in their respective domestic markets. It is more difficult for a national central bank or NCA to exercise discretion in implementing ECB decisions once it is committed to the path leading to full European Monetary Union (EMU) membership. Hence the commitment to join the EMU minimises the authority risk for the ECB as well as for the Single Resolution Board, as safeguards become non-significant and termination is not an issue. The uncertainty about the functioning and durability of the close-cooperation arrangement is largely removed.

Jumps in Bond Yields at Known Times
Kim, Don H.,Wright, Jonathan H.
We construct a no-arbitrage term structure model with jumps in the entire state vector at deterministic times but of random magnitudes. Jump risk premia are allowed for. We show that the model implies a closed-form representation of yields as a time-inhomogeneous affine function of the state vector, and derive other theoretical implications. We apply the model to the term structure of US Treasury rates, estimated at the daily frequency, allowing for jumps on days of employment report announcements. Our model can match the empirical fact that the term structure of interest rate volatility has a hump-shaped pattern on employment report days (but not on other days). The model also produces patterns in bond risk premia that are consistent with the empirical finding that much of the time-variation in excess bond returns accrues at times of important macroeconomic data releases.

Learning, Rare Disasters, and Asset Prices
Lu, Yang,Siemer, Michael
In this paper, we examine how learning about disaster risk affects asset pricing in an endowment economy. We extend the literature on rare disasters by allowing for two sources of uncertainty: (1) the lack of historical data results in unknown parameters for the disaster process, and (2) the disaster takes time to unfold and is not directly observable. The model generates time variation in the risk premium through Bayesian updating of agents' beliefs regarding the likelihood and severity of disaster realization. The model accounts for the level and volatility of U.S. equity returns and generates predictability in returns.

Lending Standards and Borrowing Premia in Unsecured Credit Markets
Dempsey, Kyle,Ionescu, Anamaria Felicia
Using administrative data from Y-14M and Equifax, we find evidence for large spreads in excess of those implied by default risk in the U.S. unsecured credit market. These borrowing premia vary widely by borrower risk and imply a nearly flat relationship between loan prices and repayment probabilities, at odds with existing theories. To close this gap, we incorporate supply frictions â€" a tractably specified form of lending standards â€" into a model of unsecured credit with aggregate shocks. Our model matches the empirical incidence of both risk and borrowing premia. Both the level and incidence of borrowing premia shape individual and aggregate outcomes. Our baseline model with empirically consistent borrowing premia features 45% less total credit balances and 30% more default than a model with no such premia. In terms of dynamics, we estimate that lending standards were unchanged for low risk borrowers but tightened for high risk borrowers at the outset of Covid-19. Borrowing premia imply a smaller increase in credit usage in response to a negative shock, which this tightening reduced further. Since spreads on loans of all risk levels are countercyclical, all consumers use less unsecured credit for insurance over the cycle, leading to 60% higher relative consumption volatility than in a model with no borrowing premia.

Limited Deposit Insurance Coverage and Bank Competition
Shy, Oz,Stenbacka, Rune,Yankov, Vladimir
Deposit insurance schemes in many countries place a limit on the coverage of deposits in each bank. However, no limits are placed on the number of accounts held with different banks. Therefore, under limited deposit insurance, some consumers open accounts with different banks to achieve higher or full deposit insurance coverage. We compare three regimes of deposit insurance: No deposit insurance, unlimited deposit insurance, and limited deposit insurance. We show that limited deposit insurance weakens competition among banks and reduces total welfare relative to no or unlimited deposit insurance.

Limited Deposit Insurance Coverage and Bank Competition
Shy, Oz,Stenbacka, Rune,Yankov, Vladimir
Deposit insurance designs in many countries place a limit on the coverage of deposits in each bank. However, no limits are placed on the number of accounts held with different banks. Therefore, under limited deposit insurance, some consumers open accounts with different banks to achieve higher or full deposit insurance coverage. We compare three regimes of deposit insurance: No deposit insurance, unlimited deposit insurance, and limited deposit insurance. We show that limited deposit insurance weakens competition among banks and reduces total welfare relative to no or unlimited deposit insurance.

Mapping Heat in the U.S. Financial System
Aikman, David,Kiley, Michael T.,Lee, Seung Jung,Palumbo, Michael,Warusawitharana, Missaka
We provide a framework for assessing the build-up of vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system. We collect forty-four indicators of financial and balance-sheet conditions, cutting across measures of valuation pressures, nonfinancial borrowing, and financial-sector health. We place the data in economic categories, track their evolution, and develop an algorithmic approach to monitoring vulnerabilities that can complement the more judgmental approach of most official-sector organizations. Our approach picks up rising imbalances in the U.S. financial system through the mid-2000s, presaging the financial crisis. We also highlight several statistical properties of our approach: most importantly, our summary measures of system-wide vulnerabilities lead the credit-to-GDP gap (a key gauge in Basel III and related research) by a year or more. Thus, our framework may provide useful information for setting macroprudential policy tools such as the countercyclical capital buffer.

Misallocation Costs of Digging Deeper into the Central Bank Toolkit
Kurtzman, Robert J.,Zeke, David
Central bank large-scale asset purchases, particularly the purchase of corporate bonds of nonfinancial firms, can induce a misallocation of resources through their heterogeneous effect on firms cost of capital. First, we analytically demonstrate the mechanism in a static model. We then evaluate the misallocation of resources induced by corporate bond buys and the associated output losses in a calibrated heterogeneous firm New Keynesian DSGE model. The calibrated model suggests misallocation effects from corporate bond buys can be large enough to make them less effective than government bond buys, which is not the case without accounting for misallocation effects.

Nominal Rigidities and the Term Structures of Equity and Bond Returns
Lopez, Pier,Lopez-Salido, David,Vazquez-Grande, Francisco
A downward-sloping term structure of equity and upward-sloping term structures of interest rates arise endogenously in a general-equilibrium model with nominal rigidities and nonlinear habits in consumption. Countercyclical marginal costs exacerbate the procyclicality of dividends after a technology shock, and hence their riskiness, and generate countercyclical inflation. Marginal costs gradually fall after a negative technology shock as the price level increases sluggishly, so the payoffs of short-duration dividend claims (bonds) are more (less) procyclical than the payoffs of long-duration claims (bonds). The simultaneous presence of market and home consumption habits allows for uniting nonlinear habits and a production economy without compromising the ability of the model to fit macroeconomic variables.

Not All Bonds Are Created Equal - As Benchmarks for Corporate Bonds
Chen, Keqi,Huang, Yi,Yuan, Kathy,Zhou, Hao
We find among government and quasi-government bonds, municipal corporate bonds (MCB) act as regional benchmarks and improve the quality of the nascent but fast-growing corporate bond market in China by facilitating price discovery and expanding investment opportunity sets. The benchmark effects of MCBs are more pronounced in corporate bonds with similar maturity, from the same region, in industries directly affected by government spending or traded on the exchange market. Furthermore, we find the supply of long-term MCBs encourages local corporations to issue long term bonds, indicating the possibility of complementarity between government and corporate bonds when bond market quality is poor.

Optimal Monetary and Macroprudential Policies: Gains and Pitfalls in a Model of Financial Intermediation
Kiley, Michael T.,Sim, Jae
We estimate a quantitative general equilibrium model with nominal rigidities and financial intermediation to examine the interaction of monetary and macroprudential stabilization policies. The estimation procedure uses credit spreads to help identify the role of financial shocks amenable to stabilization via monetary or macroprudential instruments. The estimated model implies that monetary policy should not respond strongly to the credit cycle and can only partially insulate the economy from the distortionary effects of financial frictions/shocks. A counter-cyclical macroprudential instrument can enhance welfare, but faces important implementation challenges. In particular, a Ramsey planner who adjusts a leverage tax in an optimal way can largely insulate the economy from shocks to intermediation, but a simple-rule approach must be cautious not to limit credit expansions associated with efficient investment opportunities. These results demonstrate the importance of considering both optimal Ramsey policies and simpler, but more practical, approaches in an empirically grounded model.

Ownership Control Intensity, Corporate Financial Performance and Revenue Growth since the Global Financial Crisis
El Beshlawy, Hany,Ardroumli, Sinan
The 2008 global financial crisis showed that despite the corporate governance scholars and regulatory efforts of the past 30 years, shareholders‘ investments remain at risk due to poor or dishonest decisions made by some distinct groups of corporate stockholders. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), this study investigated the influence of ownership control on 222 public US companies‘ performance after the 2008 financial crisis. The authors identify a new construct representing a third dimension (control intensity) of ownership structure, whereas previous literature has identified only two dimensions: identity and concentration. The control intensity construct of managerial ownership was measured using the number of manager-owners among individual shareholders instead of using the traditional ownership concentration measurement method. The study indicates that the higher the individual ownership stake and the lower managerial ownership control intensity are in an organization, the stronger the negative influence of individual ownership on corporate performance and growth.

Racial Differences in Mortgage Refinancing, Distress, and Housing Wealth Accumulation During Covid-19
Gerardi, Kristopher,Lambie-Hanson, Lauren,Willen, Paul
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated racial disparities in U.S. mortgage markets. Black, Hispanic, and Asian borrowers were significantly more likely than white borrowers to miss payments due to financial distress, and significantly less likely to refinance to take advantage of the large decline in interest rates spurred by the Federal Reserve’s large-scale mortgage-backed security (MBS) purchase program. The wide-scale forbearance program, introduced by the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provided approximately equal payment relief to all distressed borrowers, as forbearance rates conditional on nonpayment status were roughly equal across racial/ethnic groups. However, Black and Hispanic borrowers were significantly less likely to exit forbearance and resume making payments relative to their Asian and white counterparts. Persistent differences in the ability to catch up on missed payments could worsen the already large disparity in home ownership rates across racial and ethnic groups. While the pandemic caused widespread distress in mortgage markets, strong house price appreciation in recent years, particularly in 2020, means that foreclosure risk is lower for past-due borrowers now as compared with the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and Great Recession. Furthermore, borrowers who have missed payments have significantly higher credit scores now than those who were distressed in the 2007â€"2010 period, largely due to the widespread availability of forbearance for federally backed mortgages.

Risk Taking and Low Longer-Term Interest Rates: Evidence from the U.S. Syndicated Loan Market
Aramonte, Sirio,Lee, Seung Jung,Stebunovs, Viktors
We use supervisory data to investigate risk taking in the U.S. syndicated loan market at a time when longer-term interest rates are exceptionally low, and we study the ex-ante credit risk of loans acquired by different types of lenders, including banks and shadow banks. We find that insurance companies, pension funds, and, in particular, structured-finance vehicles take higher credit risk when investors expect interest rates to remain low. Banks originate riskier loans that they tend to divest shortly after origination, thus appearing to accommodate other lenders' investment choices. These results are consistent with a \"search for yield\" by certain types of shadow banks and, to the extent that Federal Reserve policies affected longer-term rates, the results are also consistent with the presence of a risk-taking channel of monetary policy. Finally, we find that longer-term interest rates have only a modest effect on loan spreads.

Secondary Market Liquidity and the Optimal Capital Structure
Arseneau, David M.,Rappoport, David E.,Vardoulakis, Alexandros
We present a model where endogenous liquidity generates a feedback loop between secondary market liquidity and firms' financing decisions in primary markets. The model features two key frictions: a costly state verification problem in primary markets, and search frictions in over-the-counter secondary markets. Our concept of liquidity depends endogenously on illiquid assets put up for sale relative to the resources available for buying those assets in the secondary market. Liquidity determines the liquidity premium, which affects issuance in the primary market, and this effect feeds back into secondary market liquidity by changing the composition of investors' portfolios. We show that the privately optimal allocations are inefficient because investors and firms fail to internalize how their behavior affects secondary market liquidity. These inefficiencies are established analytically through a set of wedge expressions for key efficiency margins. Our analysis provide s a rationale for the effect of quantitative easing on secondary and primary capital markets and the real economy.

Shareholder Liability and Bank Failure
Aldunate, Felipe,Jenter, Dirk,Korteweg, Arthur G.,Koudijs, Peter
Does enhanced shareholder liability reduce bank failure? We compare the performance of around 4,200 state-regulated banks of similar size in neighboring U.S. states with different liability regimes during the Great Depression. The distress rate of limited liability banks was 29% higher than that of banks with enhanced liability. Results are robust to a diff-in-diff analysis incorporating nationally-regulated banks (which faced the same regulations everywhere) and are not driven by other differences in state regulations, Fed membership, local characteristics, or differential selection into state-regulated banks. Our results suggest that exposing shareholders to more downside risk can successfully reduce bank failure.

Sovereign Default and the Choice of Maturity
Sánchez, Juan M.,Sapriza, Horacio,Yurdagul, Emircan
This study develops a novel model of endogenous sovereign debt maturity choice that rationalizes various stylized facts about debt maturity and the yield spread curve: first, sovereign debt duration and maturity generally exceed one year, and co-move positively with the business cycle. Second, sovereign yield spread curves are usually non-linear and upward-sloped, and may become non-monotonic and inverted during a period of high credit market stress, such as a default episode. Finally, output volatility, sudden stops, impatience and risk aversion are key determinants of maturity, both in our model and in the data.

The Covid-19 Shock and Consumer Credit: Evidence from Credit Card Data
Horvath, Akos,Kay, Benjamin S.,Wix, Carlo
We use credit card data from the Federal Reserve Board's FR Y-14M reports to study the impact of the COVID-19 shock on the use and availability of consumer credit across borrower types from March through August 2020. We document an initial sharp decrease in credit card transactions and outstanding balances in March and April. While spending starts to recover by May, especially for risky borrowers, balances remain depressed overall. We find a strong negative impact of local pandemic severity on credit use, which becomes smaller over time, consistent with pandemic fatigue. Restrictive public health interventions also negatively affect credit use, but the pandemic itself is the main driver. We further document a large reduction in credit card originations, especially to risky borrowers. Consistent with a tightening of credit supply and a flight-to-safety response of banks, we find an increase in interest rates of newly issued credit cards to less creditworthy borrowers.

The Credit Crunch and Fall in Employment During the Great Recession
Haltenhof, Samuel,Lee, Seung Jung,Stebunovs, Viktors
We study the existence and economic significance of bank lending channels that affect employment in U.S. manufacturing industries. In particular, we address the question of how a dramatic worsening of firm and consumer access to bank credit, such as the one observed over the Great Recession, translates into job losses in these industries. To identify these channels, we rely on differences in the degree of external finance dependence and of asset tangibility across manufacturing industries and in the sensitivity of these industries' output to changes in the supply of consumer credit. We show that household access to bank loans matters more for employment than firm access to local bank loans. Our results suggest that, over the recent financial crisis, tightening access to commercial and industrial loans and consumer installment loans explains jointly about a quarter of the drop in employment in the manufacturing sector. In addition, a decrease in the availability of home equity loans explains an extra one-tenth of the drop.

The Effects of Asymmetric Volatility and Jumps on the Pricing of VIX Derivatives
Park, Yang-Ho
This paper proposes a new collection of affine jump-diffusion models for the valuation of VIX derivatives. The models have two distinctive features. First, we allow for a positive correlation between changes in the VIX and in its stochastic volatility to accommodate asymmetric volatility. Second, upward and downward jumps in the VIX are separately modeled to accommodate the possibility that investors react differently to good and bad surprises. Using the VIX futures and options data from July 2006 through January 2013, we find conclusive evidence for the benefits of including both asymmetric volatility and upward jumps in models of VIX derivatives pricing. We do not, however, find evidence supporting downward jumps.

The Impact of Containment Measures and Monetary and Fiscal Responses on US Financial Markets During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Aikins Abakah, Emmanuel Joel,Caporale, Guglielmo Maria,Gil-Alana, Luis A.
This paper analyses the effects of containment measures and monetary and fiscal responses on US financial markets during the Covid-19 pandemic. More specifically, it applies fractional integration methods to analyse their impact on the daily S&P500, the US Treasury Bond Index (USTB), the S&P Green Bond Index (GREEN) and the Dow Jones (DJ) Islamic World Market Index (ISLAM) over the period 1/01/2020-10/03/2021. The results suggest that all four indices are highly persistent and exhibit orders of integration close to 1. A small degree of mean reversion is observed only for the S&P500 under the assumption of white noise errors and USTB with autocorrelated errors; therefore, market efficiency appears to hold in most cases. The mortality rate, surprisingly, seems to have affected stock and bond prices positively with autocorrelated errors. As for the policy responses, both the containment and fiscal measures had a rather limited impact, whilst there were significant announcement effects which lifted markets, especially in the case of monetary announcements. There is also evidence of a significant, positive response to changes in the effective Federal funds rate, which suggests that the financial industry, mainly benefiting from interest rises, plays a dominant role.

The Informational Role of Options Trading: Evidence from the Shanghai Stock Exchange 50ETF Options in China
Ma, Teng,Zhang, Xiaoyan
This study empirically investigates the effects of options trading on future stock returns. Leveraging the Shanghai Stock Exchange 50 exchange-traded fund (50ETF) options trading data in China, we show that put-call ratios, skewness ratios, and China's Volatility Index exhibit economically and statistically significant predictability for the expected returns of the 50ETF in the time series. We also show that a simple market timing strategy based on the above indicators can effectively improve annualized returns and reduce the corresponding risk. We conclude that options trading contains useful information about the future price movements of the underlying asset.

The Scarcity Value of Treasury Collateral: Repo Market Effects of Security-Specific Supply and Demand Factors
D'Amico, Stefania,Fan, Roger,Kitsul, Yuriy
In the special collateral repo market, forward agreements are security-specific, which may magnify demand and supply effects. We quantify the scarcity value of Treasury collateral by estimating the impact of security-specific demand and supply factors on the repo rates of all outstanding U.S. Treasury securities. We find an economically and statistically significant scarcity premium. This scarcity effect is quite persistent, passes through to Treasury market prices, and explains a significant portion of the flow-effects of LSAP programs, providing additional evidence for the scarcity channel of QE. Through the same mechanism, the Fed's reverse repo operations could alleviate potential shortages of high-quality collateral.

The Scarcity Value of Treasury Collateral: Repo Market Effects of Security-Specific Supply and Demand Factors
D'Amico, Stefania,Fan, Roger,Kitsul, Yuriy
In the repo market, forward agreements are security-specific (i.e., there are no deliverable substitutes), which makes it an ideal place to measure the value of fluctuations in a security's available supply. In this study, we quantify the scarcity value of Treasury collateral by estimating the impact of security-specific demand and supply factors on the repo rates of all the outstanding U.S. Treasury securities. Our results indicate the existence of an economically and statistically significant scarcity premium, especially for shorter-term securities. The estimated scarcity effect is quite persistent, seems to be reflected in the Treasury market prices, and could in part explain the flow-effects of the Fed's asset purchase programs. More generally, it provides additional evidence in favor of the scarcity channel of quantitative easing. These findings also suggest that, through the same mechanism, the Fed's reverse repo operations could help alleviate potential shortages of high-quality collateral.

Tips from Tips: The Informational Content of Treasury Inflation-Protected Security Prices
D'Amico, Stefania,Kim, Don H.,Wei, Min
Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are frequently thought of as risk-free real bonds. Using no-arbitrage term structure models, we show that TIPS yields exceeded risk-free real yields by as much as 100 basis points when TIPS were first issued and up to 300 basis points during the recent financial crisis. This spread reflects predominantly the poorer liquidity of TIPS relative to nominal Treasury securities. Other factors, including the indexation lag and the embedded deflation protection in TIPS, play a much smaller role. Ignoring this spread also significantly distorts the informational content of TIPS breakeven inflation, a widely-used proxy for expected inflation.

Treasury Safety, Liquidity, and Money Premium Dynamics: Evidence from Recent Debt Limit Impasses
Cashin, David B.,Syron Ferris, Erin,Klee, Elizabeth C.
Treasury securities normally possess unparalleled safety and liquidity and, consequently, carry a money premium. We use recent debt limit impasses, which temporarily increased the riskiness of Treasuries, to investigate the relationship between the money premium, safety, and liquidity. Our results shed light on Treasury market dynamics specifically, and debt more generally. We first establish that a decline in the perceived safety of Treasuries erodes the money premium at all times. Meanwhile, changes in liquidity only affected the money premium during the impasses. Next, we show that Treasury safety and liquidity dynamics are generally consistent with the theory of the information sensitivity of debt.

U.S. Unconventional Monetary Policy and Transmission to Emerging Market Economies
Bowman, David,Londono, Juan M.,Sapriza, Horacio
We investigate the effects of U.S. unconventional monetary policies on sovereign yields, foreign exchange rates, and stock prices in emerging market economies (EMEs), and we analyze how these effects depend on country-specifc characteristics. We find that, although EME asset prices, mainly those of sovereign bonds, responded strongly to unconventional monetary policy announcements, these responses were not outsized with respect to a model that takes into account each country's time-varying vulnerability to U.S. interest rates affected by monetary policy shocks.

Un-Networking: The Evolution of Networks in the Federal Funds Market
Beltran, Daniel O.,Bolotnyy, Valentin,Klee, Elizabeth C.
Using a network approach to characterize the evolution of the federal funds market during the Great Recession and financial crisis of 2007-2008, we document that many small federal funds lenders began reducing their lending to larger institutions in the core of the network starting in mid-2007. But an abrupt change occurred in the fall of 2008, when small lenders left the federal funds market en masse and those that remained lent smaller amounts, less frequently. We then test whether changes in lending patterns within key components of the network were associated with increases in counterparty and liquidity risk of banks that make up the core of the network. Using both aggregate and bank-level network metrics, we find that increases in counterparty and liquidity risk are associated with reduced lending activity within the network. We also contribute some new ways of visualizing financial networks.

Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics
Gilchrist, Simon,Sim, Jae W.,Zakrajsek, Egon
Micro- and macro-level evidence indicates that fluctuations in idiosyncratic uncertainty have a large effect on investment; the impact of uncertainty on investment occurs primarily through changes in credit spreads; and innovations in credit spreads have a strong effect on investment, irrespective of the level of uncertainty. These findings raise a question regarding the economic significance of the traditional \"wait-and-see\" effect of uncertainty shocks and point to financial distortions as the main mechanism through which fluctuations in uncertainty affect macroeconomic outcomes. The relative importance of these two mechanisms is analyzed within a quantitative general equilibrium model, featuring heterogeneous firms that face time-varying idiosyncratic uncertainty, irreversibility, nonconvex capital adjustment costs, and financial frictions. The model successfully replicates the stylized facts concerning the macroeconomic implications of uncertainty and financial shocks. By influencing the effective supply of credit, both types of shocks exert a powerful effect on investment and generate countercyclical credit spreads and procyclical leverage, dynamics consistent with the data and counter to those implied by the technology-driven real business cycle models.

Was the Coronavirus Fear or the Stimulus Package that Drove the Subordinated Bond Market? Evidence from US
Tzanakis, Polydoros
This note investigates the determinants of subordinated bank yields during the COVID-19 pandemic phase in the United States. Using Google Trends, we construct a coronavirus fear index to test the effect of health risk on the subordinated bond yields of 7 bank holding companies. With panel estimations, the results suggest a short-run relationship between yields and inputs factors. After 20 March, no matter what marketto- book a company has, the level of society’s fear, and Treasury yields, the key factor behind the subordinated yield changes is the stimulus package. The insights from this research could be practical for regulators in designing fiscal, monetary, and bank policies.

Wealth Concentration in the United States Using an Expanded Measure of Net Worth
Henriques Volz, Alice,Jacobs, Lindsay,Llanes, Elizabeth,Moore, Kevin B.,Thompson, Jeffrey P.
Defined benefit (DB) pensions and Social Security are two important resources for financing retirement in the United States. However, these illiquid, non-market forms of wealth are typically excluded from measures of net worth. To the extent that these broadly held resources substitute for savings, measures of wealth inequality that do not account for DB pensions and Social Security may be overstated. This paper develops an alternative, expanded wealth concept, augmenting precise net worth data from the Survey of Consumer Finances with estimates of DB pension and expected Social Security wealth. We use this expanded wealth concept to explore the concentration of wealth among households aged 40 to 59 and find that (1) including DB pension and Social Security results in markedly lower measures of wealth concentration and that (2) trends toward higher wealth inequality over time, while moderated, are still present.