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International Finance Discussion Papers

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Abstract: Domestic prudential regulation can have unintended effects across borders and may be less effective in an environment where banks operate globally. Using U.S. micro-banking data for the first quarter of 2000 through the third quarter of 2013, this study shows that some regulatory changes indeed spill over. First, a foreign country's tightening of limits on loan-to-value ratios and local currency reserve requirements increase lending growth in the United States through the U.S. branches and subsidiaries of foreign banks. Second, foreign tightening of capital requirements shifts lending by U.S. global banks away from the country where the tightening occurs to the United States and to other countries. Third, tighter U.S. capital regulation reduces lending by large U.S. global banks to foreign residents.

Keywords: Macroprudential policies, international banking, bank credit, spillovers

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1180

 ifdp  2016-1179
September 2016

Learning in the Oil Futures Markets: Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications (PDF)

Sylvain Leduc, Kevin Moran and Robert J. Vigfusson

Abstract: We show that a model where investors learn about the persistence of oil-price movements accounts well for the fluctuations in oil-price futures since the late 1990s. Using a DSGE model, we then show that this learning process alters the impact of oil shocks, making it time-dependent and consistent with the muted impact oil-price changes had on macroeconomic outcomes during the early 2000s and again over the past two years. The Spring 2008 increase in oil prices had a larger impact because market participants considered that it was likely driven by permanent shocks.

Keywords: Kalman filter, time-variation, inventories, conditional response.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1179

 ifdp  2016-1178
September 2016

Bad Bad Contagion (PDF)

Juan M. Londono

Abstract: Bad contagion, the downside component of contagion in international stock markets, has negative implications for financial stability. I propose a measure for the occurrence and severity of global contagion that combines the factor-model approach in Bekaert et al. (2005) with the model-free or co-exceedance approach in Bae et al. (2003). Contagion is measured as the proportion of international stock markets that simultaneously experience unexpected returns beyond a certain threshold. I decompose contagion into its downside or bad component (the co-exceedance of low returns) and its upside or good component (the co-exceedance of high returns). I find that episodes of bad contagion are followed by a significant drop in country-level stock index prices and by a deterioration of financial stability indicators, especially for more open economies.

Keywords: International stock markets, Bad contagion, Downside contagion, Inter-connectedness, International integration, Financial stability, SRISK.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1178

Abstract: This paper develops a model of banking across borders where banks differ in their efficiencies that can replicate key patterns in the data. More efficient banks are more likely to have assets, liabilities and affiliates abroad and have larger foreign operations. Banks are more likely to be active in countries that have less efficient domestic banks, are bigger and more open to foreign entry. In the model, banking sector integration leads to bank exit and entry and convergence in the return on loans and funding costs across countries. Bank heterogeneity matters for the associated welfare gains. Results suggest that differences in bank efficiencies across countries drive banking across borders, that fixed costs are crucial for foreign bank operations and that globalization makes larger banks even larger.

Keywords: Cross-border banking, heterogeneity, multinational banks, trade in services

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1177

Abstract: We compare how bond market access affects firmsí investment decisions in the United States and the euro area. Having a bond rating enables US corporations to invest more and undertake more acquisitions. In contrast, in the euro area, bond ratings have no effect on investment decisions. Similarly, firms with bond ratings have higher leverage in the United States, but not in the euro area. This difference may be due to euro-area firms getting sufficient financing from banks. Consistent with this explanation, euro-area bond ratings became more relevant for investment after the banking crisis of 2008, when banks reduced their lending to firms.

Keywords: Mergers and acquisitions, Bond ratings, Investment, Financing constraints

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1176

Abstract: Central banks have long used dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models, which are typically estimated using Bayesian techniques, to inform key policy decisions. This paper offers an empirical strategy that quantifies the information content of the data relative to that of the prior distribution. Using an off-the-shelf DSGE model applied to quarterly Euro Area data from 1970:3 to 2009:4, we show how Monte Carlo simulations can reveal parameters for which the model's structure obscures identification. By integrating out components of the likelihood function and conducting a Bayesian sensitivity analysis, we uncover parameters that are weakly informed by the data. The weak identification of some key structural parameters in our comparatively simple model should raise a red flag to researchers trying to draw valid inferences from, and to base policy upon, complex large-scale models featuring many parameters.

Keywords: Bayesian estimation, econometric modeling, Kalman filter, likelihood, local identification, Euro Area, MCMC, policy-relevant parameters, prior-versus-posterior comparison, sensitivity analysis.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1175

Abstract: This paper tests for predictability of output growth in a panel of 22 emerging market economies. We use pooled panel data methods that control for endogeneity and persistence in the predictor variables to test the predictive power of a large set of financial aggregates. Results show that stock returns, the term spread, default spreads and portfolio investment flows help predict output growth in emerging markets. We also find evidence that suggests that global aggregates such as the performance of commodity markets, a cross-sectional firm size factor, and returns on the market portfolio contain information about the future state of the economy. We benchmark our results against those from the U.S. and find that there are differences in the ability of financial markets in predicting economic growth. Our results generalize to emerging markets previous findings in the empirical macro-finance literature on the linkages between financial market performance and the real economy.

Keywords: Output growth predictability, emerging markets, leading indicators, financial variables.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1174

Abstract: We study the identification of oil shocks in a structural vector autoregressive (SVAR) model of the oil market. First, we show that the cross-equation restrictions of a SVAR impose a nonlinear relation between the short-run price elasticities of oil supply and oil demand. This relation implies that seemingly plausible restrictions on oil supply elasticity may map into implausible values of the oil demand elasticity, and vice versa. Second, we propose an identification scheme that restricts these elasticities by minimizing the distance between the elasticities allowed by the SVAR and target values that we construct from a survey of relevant studies. Third, we use the identified SVAR to analyze sources and consequences of movements in oil prices. We find that (1) oil supply shocks and global demand shocks explain 50 and 35 percent of oil price fluctuations, respectively; (2) a drop in oil prices driven by supply shocks boosts economic activity in advanced economies, whereas it depresses economic activity in emerging economies; and (3) the selection of oil market elasticities is essential for understanding the source of oil price movements and to measuring the multipliers of oil prices on economic activity.

Keywords: Oil Prices, Vector Autoregressions, and Commodity Prices.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1173

Abstract: We assess the relationship between monetary policy, foreign exchange risk premia and term premia at the zero lower bound. We estimate a structural VAR including U.S. and foreign interest rates and exchange rates, and identify monetary policy shocks through a method that uses these surprises as the crucial "external instrument" that achieves identification without having to use implausible short-run restrictions. This allows us to measure effects of policy shocks on expectations, and hence risk premia. U.S. monetary policy easing shocks lower domestic and foreign bond risk premia, lead to dollar depreciation and lower foreign exchange risk premia. We present some evidence that U.S. monetary policy easing surprises at the ZLB shift options-implied skewness in the direction of dollar depreciation and also reduce the demand for the liquidity of short-term U.S. Treasuries. Both of these channels should lower foreign exchange risk premia.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1172

Abstract: In this paper we provide an alternative explanation for the price puzzle (Sims 1992) based on the effect of monetary policy on housing tenure choice and the weight of the shelter component in overall CPI. In the presence of nominal or financial frictions, when interest rates increase, the real cost of owning a house increases, and this increase may make some people prefer to rent instead of buying. This change in consumption behavior increases the price of rents relative to other goods. Starting in 1983, homeownership costs are based on a measure of implied owner equivalent rent, which is calculated using observed house rents. This change implies that, directly and indirectly, prices in the rental market almost entirely command the shelter component of CPI, which weighs around 30% in the overall index. When we take these two pieces into account and use CPI net of shelter services as a measure of inflation, we obtain impulse responses of prices to a monetary contraction shock more in line with what is predicted by theory. In addition, our results also suggest that inflation is much less persistent than what is implied by analyses using a measure of inflation that includes shelter services. Our results pass a long list of robustness check exercises and compare well against other explanations of the price puzzle.

Keywords: Price puzzle, housing tenure choice, monetary policy, SVAR.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1171

Abstract: This paper studies how frictions to foreign bank operations affect the sectoral composition of banks' foreign positions, their funding sources and international bank flows. It presents a parsimonious model of banking across borders, which is matched to bank-level data and used to quantify cross-border frictions. The counterfactual analysis shows how higher barriers to foreign bank entry alter the composition of international bank flows and may reverse the direction of net interbank flows. It also highlights that interbank lending and lending to non-banking firms respond differently to changes in foreign and domestic conditions. Ultimately, the analysis suggests that policies that change cross-border banking frictions and, thereby, the composition of banks' foreign activities affect how shocks are transmitted across borders.

Keywords: global banks, interbank market, international bank flows, cross-border banking

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1170

 ifdp  2016-1169
June 2016

Changes in Prudential Policy Instruments--A New Cross-Country Database (PDF)

Eugenio Cerutti, Ricardo Correa, Elisabetta Fiorentino, and Esther Segalla

Abstract: This paper documents the features of a new database that focuses on changes in the intensity in the usage of several widely used prudential tools, taking into account both macro-prudential and microprudential objectives. The database coverage is broad, spanning 64 countries, and with quarterly data for the period 2000Q1 through 2014Q4. The five types of prudential instruments in the database are: capital buffers, interbank exposure limits, concentration limits, loan to value (LTV) ratio limits, and reserve requirements. A total of nine prudential tools are constructed since some useful further decompositions are presented, with capital buffers divided into four sub-indices: general capital requirements, real state credit specific capital buffers, consumer credit specific capital buffers, and other specific capital buffers; and with reserve requirements divided into two sub-indices: domestic currency capital requirements and foreign currency capital requirements. While general capital requirements have the most changes from the cross-country perspective, LTV ratio limits and reserve requirements have the largest number of tightening and loosening episodes. We also analyze the instruments' usage in relation to the evolution of key variables such as credit, policy rates, and house prices, finding substantial differences in the patterns of loosening or tightening of instruments in relation to business and financial cycles.

Keywords: Macroprudential policies, microprudential policies, financial cycles

Data Appendix (.xlsx)

Accessible materials (.zip)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1169

Abstract: This paper draws from Japan's recent monetary experiment to examine the effects of an increase in the inflation target during a liquidity trap. We review Japanese data and examine through a VAR model how macroeconomic variables respond to an identified inflation target shock. We apply these findings to calibrate the effect of a shock to the inflation target in a new-Keynesian DSGE model of the Japanese economy. We argue that imperfect observability of the inflation target and a separate exchange rate shock are needed to successfully account for the behavior of nominal and real variables in Japan since late 2012. Our analysis indicates that Japan has made some progress towards overcoming deflation, but further measures are needed to raise inflation to 2 percent in a stable manner.

Keywords: Abenomics, Credibility, Deflation, Inflation target, Japan, Monetary policy

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1168

Accessible materials (.zip)

Abstract: We build a New Keynesian business-cycle model with rich household heterogeneity. A central feature is that matching frictions render labor-market risk countercyclical and endogenous to monetary policy. Our main result is that a majority of households prefer substantial stabilization of unemployment even if this means deviations from price stability. A monetary policy focused on unemployment stabilization helps "Main Street" by providing consumption insurance. It hurts "Wall Street" by reducing precautionary saving and, thus, asset prices. On the aggregate level, household heterogeneity changes the transmission of monetary policy to consumption, but hardly to GDP. Central to this result is allowing for self-insurance and aggregate investment.

Keywords: Monetary Policy, Unemployment, Search and Matching, Heterogeneous Agents, General Equilibrium

Supplementary Material (.zip)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1167

Abstract: The extraordinary events surrounding the Great Recession have cast a considerable doubt on the traditional sources of macroeconomic instability. In their place, economists have singled out financial and uncertainty shocks as potentially important drivers of economic fluctuations. Empirically distinguishing between these two types of shocks, however, is difficult because increases in economic uncertainty are strongly associated with a widening of credit spreads, an indication of a tightening in financial conditions. This paper uses the penalty function approach within the SVAR framework to examine the interaction between financial conditions and economic uncertainty and to trace out the impact of these two types of shocks on the economy. The results indicate that (1) financial shocks have a significant adverse effect on economic outcomes and that such shocks were an important source of cyclical fluctuations since the mid-1980; (2) uncertainty shocks, especially those implied by uncertainty proxies that do not rely on financial asset prices, are also an important source of macroeconomic disturbances; and (3) uncertainty shocks have an especially negative economic impact in situations where they elicit a concomitant tightening of financial conditions. Evidence suggests that the Great Recession was likely an acute manifestation of the toxic interaction between uncertainty and financial shocks.

Keywords: International Trade, Import Price, Transactional Relationships

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1166

Abstract: Costs to switching suppliers can affect prices by discouraging buyer movements from high to low cost sellers. This paper uses confidential U.S. Customs data on U.S. importers and their Chinese exporters to investigate these costs. I find considerable barriers to supply chain adjustments: 45% of arm's-length importers keep their partner, and one-third of switching importers remain in the same city. Guided by these regularities, I propose and structurally estimate a dynamic discrete exporter choice model. Cost estimates are large and heterogeneous across products. These costs matter for trade prices: halving switching costs reduces the U.S.- China Import Price Index by 14.7%.

Keywords: International Trade, Import Price, Transactional Relationships

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1165

Abstract: Given the recent empirical evidence on peer effects in CEO compensation, this paper theoretically examines how relative wealth concerns, in which a manager?s satisfaction with his own compensation depends on the compensation of other managers, affect the equilibrium contracting strategy and managerial risk-taking. We find that such externalities can generate pay-for-luck as an efficient compensation vehicle in equilibrium. In expectation of pay-for-luck in other firms, tying managerial pay to luck provides insurance to managers against a compensation shortfall relative to executive peers during market fluctuations. When all firms pay for luck, we show that an effort-inducing mechanism exists: managers have additional incentives to exert effort in utilizing investment opportunities, which helps them keep up with their peers during industry movements. In addition, we show that compensation arrangements involving pay-for-luck that are efficient from the shareholders? perspective can nonetheless exacerbate aggregate fluctuations in the real economy by incentivizing excessive systemic risk-taking, especially in periods of heightened risk.

Keywords: Relative wealth concerns, Managerial compensation, Pay-for-luck, Excessive risk-taking

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1164

 ifdp  2016-1163
May 2016

Macroeconomic Dynamics Near the ZLB: A Tale of Two Countries (PDF)

S. Boragan Aruoba, Pablo Cuba-Borda, and Frank Schorfheide

Abstract: We compute a sunspot equilibrium in an estimated small-scale New Keynesian model with a zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on nominal interest rates and a full set of stochastic fundamental shocks. In this equilibrium a sunspot shock can move the economy from a regime in which inflation is close to the central bank?s target to a regime in which the central bank misses its target, inflation rates are negative, and interest rates are close to zero with high probability. A nonlinear filter is used to examine whether the U.S. in the aftermath of the Great Recession and Japan in the late 1990s transitioned to a deflation regime. The results are somewhat sensitive to the model specification, but on balance, the answer is affirmative for Japan and negative for the U.S.

Keywords: Deflation, DSGE Models, Japan, Multiple Equilibria, Nonlinear Filtering, Nonlinear Solution Methods, Sunspots, U.S., ZLB

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1163

Abstract: This paper investigates the macroeconomic risks associated with undesirably low inflation using a medium-sized New Keynesian model. We consider different causes of persistently low inflation, including a downward shift in long-run inflation expectations, a fall in nominal wage growth, and a favorable supply-side shock. We show that the macroeconomic effects of persistently low inflation depend crucially on its underlying cause, as well as on the extent to which monetary policy is constrained by the zero lower bound. Finally, we discuss policy options to mitigate these effects.

Keywords: Inflation Expectations, Wages, Productivity, Disinflation, Monetary Policy, Liquidity Trap, DSGE Model.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1162

Abstract: We exploit the cross-state, cross-time variation in bank tangible capital ratios--brought about by bank branch deregulation on a state-by-state basis--to identify the effects of bank capital pressures on employment and firm dynamics during two waves of changes in bank capital regulation. We show that stronger capital pressures temporarily slowed down growth in employment in industries that depend on external finance, retarding growth in the average size of firms rather than in the number of firms. Such effects were particularly strong for smaller firms that may not have had access to national capital and bank loan markets. Our findings indicate that a tightening of capital requirements may have significant real effects, in part because of the lack of substitutes for bank loans.

Keywords: Bank capital ratios; bank capital regulation; loan substitutability; employment; firm dynamics.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1161

Abstract: This paper studies how private information in hedging outcomes affects the design of managerial compensation when hedging instruments serve as a double-edged sword in that they may be used for both corporate hedging and earnings management. On the one hand, financial vehicles can offer customized contracts that are closely tailored to manage specific risk and improve hedging efficiency. On the other hand, involvement in hedging may give rise to manipulation through misstatement of the value estimates. We show that the use of privately-observed hedging may actually require greater pay-for-performance in managerial compensation. The cross-sectional variations in managerial compensation lend support to our model.

Keywords: managerial compensation, corporate hedging

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1160

Abstract: This article studies the effect of cash windfalls on the acquisition policy of companies. As identification I use a German tax reform that permitted firms to sell their equity stakes tax-free. Companies that could realize a cash windfall by selling equity stakes see an increase in the probability of acquiring another company by 19 percent. I find that these additional acquisitions destroy firm value. Following the tax reform, affected firms experience a decrease of 1.2 percentage points in acquisition announcement returns. These effects are stronger for larger cash windfalls. My findings are consistent with the free cash flow theory.

Keywords: acquisitions, free cash flow theory, overinvestment

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1159

Abstract: How relevant are financial instruments to manage risk in international trade for exporting? Employing a unique dataset of U.S. banks' trade finance claims by country, this paper estimates the effect of shocks to the supply of letters of credit on U.S. exports. We show that a one-standard deviation negative shock to a country's supply of letters of credit reduces U.S. exports to that country by 1.5 percentage points. This effect is stronger for smaller and poorer destinations. It more than doubles during crisis times, suggesting a non-negligible role for finance in explaining the Great Trade Collapse.

Keywords: trade finance, global banks, letter of credit, exports, financial shocks

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1158

 ifdp  2016-1157
February 2016

The Rise of Exporting By U.S. Firms (PDF)

William F. Lincoln and Andrew H. McCallum

Abstract: Although a great deal of ink has been spilled over the consequences of globalization, we do not yet fully understand the causes of increased worldwide trade. Using confidential microdata from the U.S. Census, we document widespread entry into countries abroad by U.S. firms from 1987 to 2006. We show that this extensive margin growth is unlikely to have been due to significant declines in entry costs. We instead find evidence of large roles for the development of the internet, trade agreements, and foreign income growth in driving these trends.

Keywords: globalization, barriers to entry, international trade, internet

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1157

 ifdp  2016-1156
January 2016

Wholesale Banking and Bank Runs in Macroeconomic Modeling of Financial Crises (PDF)

Mark Gertler, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, and Andrea Prestipino

Abstract: There has been considerable progress in developing macroeconomic models of banking crises. However, most of this literature focuses on the retail sector where banks obtain deposits from households. In fact, the recent financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession featured a disruption of wholesale funding markets, where banks lend to one another. Accordingly, to understand the financial crisis as well as to draw policy implications, it is essential to capture the role of wholesale banking. The objective of this paper is to characterize a model that can be seen as a natural extension of the existing literature, but in which the analysis is focused on wholesale funding markets. The model accounts for both the buildup and collapse of wholesale banking, and also sketches out the transmission of the crises to the real sector. We also draw out the implications of possible instability in the wholesale banking sector for lender-of-last resort policy as well as for macroprudential policy.

Keywords: financial crises, wholesale banking, interbank markets, rollover risk

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2016.1156

 

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Last update: September 23, 2016