June 2022

The transmission of financial shocks and leverage of financial institutions: An endogenous regime switching framework

Kirstin Hubrich and Daniel Waggoner


We conduct a novel empirical analysis of the role of leverage of financial institutions for the transmission of financial shocks to the macroeconomy. For that purpose we develop an endogenous regime-switching structural vector autoregressive model with time-varying transition probabilities that depend on the state of the economy. We propose new identification techniques for regime switching models.

Recently developed theoretical models emphasize the role of bank balance sheets for the build-up of financial instabilities and the amplification of financial shocks. We build a market-based measure of leverage of financial institutions employing institution-level data and find empirical evidence that real effects of financial shocks are amplified by the leverage of financial institutions in the financial-constraint regime. We also find evidence of heterogeneity in how financial institutions, including depository financial institutions, global systemically important banks and selected nonbank financial institutions, affect the transmission of shocks to the macroeconomy. Our results confirm the leverage ratio as a useful indicator from a policy perspective.

Keywords: Regime switching models, time-varying transition probabilities, financial shocks, leverage, bank and nonbank financial institutions, heterogeneity

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2022.034

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: June 01, 2022