Abstract: In contrast to standard theory, recent empirical evidence shows that currency depreciations are not always expansionary. I show that a bank lending channel of exchange rates can explain this disconnect. I provide causal evidence on the importance of this channel using a large and unanticipated currency appreciation shock from Switzerland. I construct a novel dataset on foreign currency exposure of Swiss banks and bank-firm relationships, and show that the currency appreciation shock enabled banks with net foreign currency liability exposure to increase lending, allowing firms to increase investment. The bank lending channel thus partially offsets the negative effect of currency appreciation on exports, explaining the muted response of aggregate output to the shock. I also construct a new historical database on banks’ foreign currency exposure for a sample of 43 countries and provide evidence on the general importance of this channel across historical global currency depreciations.
Relative Pricing of Private and Public Debt: The Role of Money Creation Channel (with Jan Bena and Joyce Xuejing Guan)
We examine how the money creation function of banks affects the relative cost of firm financing in the bank loan vs public bond market – the loan-bond spread. Using a sample of loans and bonds issued by the same firm with the same maturity and at the same time, we show that the loan-bond spread is lower for firms impacted by information cost shocks. We call this decline in the relative cost of bank credit induced by firm information cost shock the opacity discount and argue that it is consistent with the “money creation” hypothesis in the theory of financial intermediation according to which banks need to keep information about their assets secret to produce private money.
Inflation and Disintermediation (with Matthew Baron)
Abstract: In a 47-country panel, large inflation increases tend to be followed by aggregate lending contractions, driven by banks with balance sheets most negatively exposed to inflation. We explore how rising inflation affects the macroeconomy through a banking channel by studying an unexpected U.S. inflation increase in early 1977. Our identification strategy exploits differences in reserve requirements across states for Fed nonmember banks, leading banks to be differentially exposed to unexpected inflation increases. More exposed banks cut lending, reducing local house prices and construction employment. Our results suggest an important consequence of inflation is its impairment of the banking sector.
Limits of Stress-test based Bank Regulation (with Tirupam Goel)
Abstract: We develop a model to characterise the optimal bank-specific capital requirement based on supervisory risk assessments such as stress-tests. In the absence of such assessment tools, the regulator sets the same requirement across banks. Risk-assessment provides a signal about banks’ types, and enables bank specific capital surcharges, which can improve welfare. Yet, noisy assessments can lead to excessive (or insufficient) regulation for some banks. Moreover, since higher requirements are disproportionately more costly for a bank with a better risk-return profile, noisy assessments can hamper banks’ ex-ante incentives to improve their profile. This leads to riskier banks, and can decrease welfare. We show that when accuracy is below a threshold, no surcharge must be imposed. Otherwise, the optimal surcharge increases non-linearly with assessment accuracy.
The Determinants of China’s International Portfolio Equity Allocations (with Grace Weishi Gu and Eswar Prasad), IMF Economic Review, May 2020 (previously circulated as China’s Impact on Global Financial Markets, NBER Working paper No. 26311)
Abstract: We analyze shifts in the structure of China’s capital outflows over the past decade. The composition of gross outflows has shifted from accumulation of foreign exchange reserves by the central bank to nonofficial outflows. Unlocking the enormous pool of domestic savings could have a significant impact on global financial markets as China continues to open up its capital account and as domestic investors look abroad for returns and diversification. We analyze in detail the allocation patterns of Chinese institutional investors (IIs), which constitute the main channel for foreign portfolio investment outflows. We find that, relative to benchmarks based on market capitalization, Chinese IIs underweight developed countries and high-tech sectors in their international portfolio allocations but overinvest in high-tech stocks in developed countries. To further examine Chinese IIs’ joint decisions on destination country-sector pairs, we construct continuous measures of revealed relative comparative advantage and disadvantage in a sector for a country based on trade patterns. We find that, in their foreign portfolio allocations, Chinese IIs overweight sectors in which China has a comparative disadvantage. Moreover, Chinese IIs concentrate such investments in countries that have higher relative comparative advantage in those sectors. Diversification and information advantages related to foreign imports to China seem to influence patterns of foreign portfolio allocations, while yield-seeking and learning motives do not.
- Blogs: VoxChina
Commodity Prices and Bank Lending (with Rupa Duttagupta and Andrea Presbitero), Economic Inquiry, August 2019
Abstract: We analyze the transmission of changes in commodity prices to bank lending in a large sample of developing countries. A bank-level analysis shows that a fall in commodity net export prices is associated with a reduction of bank lending, particularly for commodity exporters and during episodes of terms-of-trade decline. We complement this analysis with loan-level data from a credit register, which allows us to identify the effect of a commodity price shock on the supply of credit, controlling for unobserved factors that could drive borrowers’ credit demand. Results show that banks with relatively lower deposits and poor asset quality transmit the changes in commodity prices to lending more aggressively.
- Blogs: GlobalDev
A Vision and Action Plan for Financial Sector Development and Reforms in India (with Eswar Prasad), Brookings Institution Report, January 2018.
Work in Progress
The Shadow Banking Channel of Secondary Mortgage Market Regulations (with Malin Hu)
Differential Crowding out Effects of Government Bonds and Government Loans (with David Jaume, Martin Tobal, and Everardo Tellez)
Dirty Money: How Banks Influence Financial Crime (Janet Gao, Joseph Pacelli, Jan Schneemeier, Yufeng Wu), CICF 2021
Regulatory Circumvention: Underpricing and Flipping in Marketplace Lending (Shyam Venkatesan, Brian Wolfe, Jun Yang, Woongsun Yoo), MFA 2021
U.S. Populist Rhetoric and Currency Returns (Ilias Filippou, Arie E. Gozluklu, My T. Nguyen, Mark P. Taylor), FMA 2020
Operational Risk Capital (Thomas Colon, Xing Huan, and Steven Ongena), FMA 2020
Arbitrage Capital of Global Banks (Alyssa Anderson, Wenxin Du, and Bernd Schlusche), SFS Cavalcade, May 2020
Search for Yield in Large International Corporate Bonds: Investor Behavior and Firm Responses (Charles W. Calomiris, Mauricio Larrain, Sergio L. Schmukler, Tomas Williams), 8th Annual West Coast Workshop in International Finance, Seattle 2019
Depositors Disciplining Banks: The Impact of Scandals (Mikael Homanen), 8th MoFiR Workshop on Banking, Chicago 2019
Exchange Rate Exposure: Firm Level Analysis on Multinational Firms (Lei Zhu and Dazhi Zheng), Western Economic Association International (WEAI), 2018
Rent-extracting Mergers (Alex Xi He and Daniel le Maire), Graduate Student Dissertation Workshop, WEAI, 2018