Publications

Working Papers

The aim of the Working Papers series is to disseminate research papers on economics and finances by Banco de España researchers. The Working Papers are published once they have successfully come through an anonymous evaluation process. Through their publication, the Banco de España seeks to contribute to the economic analysis and knowledge of the Spanish economy and its international context.

The opinions and analyses published in the Working Papers series are the responsibility of the authors and are not necessarily shared by the Banco de España or the Eurosystem.

All documents published in this collection are available in electronic format. If they are not directly available through this website, copies can be requested from the Publications Unit.

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  • 2124
    The impact of COVID-19 on analysts’ sentiment about the banking sector (2 MB) Alicia Aguilar and Diego Torres

    The use of quantitative tools to analyse the huge amount of qualitative information has been acquiring increasing importance. Market participants and, of course, Central Banks have been involved in this trend. The vast majority of qualitative data can be qualified as non-structured and refers mainly to news, reports or another kind of texts. Its transformation into structured data can improve the availability of information and hence, decision making. This article applies sentiment analysis tools to text data in order to quantify the impact of Covid-19 on the analysts’ opinions. Using this methodology, it is possible to transform qualitative non-structured data into a quantitative index that can be used to compare reports from different periods and countries. The results show the pandemic worsens banking sentiment in Europe, which coincides with higher uncertainty in the stock market. There are also regional differences in the decline in sentiment as well as higher divergence is observed across opinions.

  • 2123
    Awareness of pandemics and the impact of COVID-19 (809 KB) Alejandro Buesa, Javier J. Pérez y Daniel Santabárbara

    “Awareness” about the occurrence of viral infectious (or other) tail risks can influence their socioeconomic inter-temporal impacts. A branch of the literature finds that prior lifetime exposure to signicant shocks can affect people and societies, i.e. by changing their perceived probability about the occurrence of an extreme, negative shock in the future. In this paper we proxy “awareness” by historical exposure of a country to epidemics, and other catastrophic events. We show that in a large cross-section of more tan 150 countries, more “aware” societies suffered a less intense impact of the COVID-19 disease, in terms of loss of lives and, to some extent, economic damage.

  • 2122
    Revisiting the 'Cobden-Chevalier network' trade and welfare effects (1 MB) Jacopo Timini

    This study revisits the trade and welfare effects of 19th century bilateralism exploiting the latest developments in structural gravity models, including the consideration of domestic trade. Using bilateral trade data between 1855 and 1875, I show that the Cobden-Chevalier network, i.e. a system of bilateral trade agreements including the Most Favored Nation clause, had large, positive and significant effects on members’ trade. These, however, were heterogeneous at the treaty-level. I then calculate its general equilibrium effects on total trade and welfare. They are considerable, while trade diversion effects are negligible. These results reshape the understanding of the Cobden-Chevalier network, helping in further rationalizing the “free trade epidemic” of the 1860s and 1870s.

  • 2121
    The effect of tariffs on Spanish goods exports (1 MB) Eduardo Gutiérrez and César Martín Machuca

    This paper investigates the impact of trade protectionism in the form of tariff barriers on Spanish goods exports. The Spanish economy has signicantly increased its degree of openness, which improves potential economic growth, but also implies a higher exposure to the protectionist shift in the international environment observed in the last years. With the purpose of assessing exports sensitivity to tariff increases, we obtain a database combining annual tariffs applied to Spanish products over the years 1995-2019 from WITS and bilateral extra-EU Spanish goods exports from Eurostat, with a product disaggregation level at 6 digits. We estimate the effect of tariffs both on exporting probability (i.e. exports extensive margin) through a linear probability model and exports levels (i.e. exports intensive margin) through a gravity equation. The findings of this paper show that higher tariffs reduce exports levels through extensive an intensive margins. A 1% tariff increase reduces on average the probability of exporting to aspecic market by nearly 0.08 pp. and exported values by around 1%.

  • 2120
    Firm-level heterogeneity in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (2 MB) Alejandro Fernández-Cerezo, Beatriz González, Mario Izquierdo and Enrique Moral-Benito

    This paper explores the heterogeneity across firms within each sector and region in the impact of and response to the COVID-19 shock. It relies on a survey conducted by Banco de España to 4,004 companies in November 2020 matched to very rich balance-sheet information on firm characteristics. According to our results, the impact of the COVID-19 shock was larger in the case of small, young and less productive firms located in urban areas within each sector-region pair. Moreover, these firms resorted relatively more to public-guaranteed loans, tax deferrals, and furlough schemes (ERTEs). More indebted companies, which were not hit relatively harder by the shock, also perceived public-guaranteed loans as very useful. Firms consider that uncertainty represents a key hindrance to the recovery, but observable characteristics do not explain the variation in the perception of uncertainty once the impact of the shock is accounted for. Finally, we use the announcement of the Pfizer vaccine on November 9th 2020 as a natural experiment to provide evidence that the vaccine announcement increased significantly firms’ subjective recovery expectations.

  • 2119
    Recycling carbon tax revenues in Spain. Environmental and economic assessment of selected green reforms (1 MB) Ángel Estrada and Daniel Santabárbara

    The design of the key elements of a public budget-neutral environmental fiscal reform could have very different implications in terms of its environmental and macroeconomic impact. Our proposals rely on a carbon tax on fossil fuels covering all economic sectors. It would be a powerful and efficient instrument for reducing emissions, as it gives economic agents an incentive to find ways to save energy and switch to greener energy sources while generating significant tax revenues whose judicious use may have positive macroeconomic effects. In addition, a carbon tax is easy to administer since it can be integrated into existing fuel excise duties. We build a novel model to assess the environmental and economic impact of a set of environmental fiscal reforms in Spain which are defined by different levels of the carbon tax, the possibility of a border carbon adjustment and alternative uses of the tax revenues generated. In this framework, we incorporate technological innovation, which will allow firms to produce with non-polluting inputs and, specifically, the electricity sector, to increase the role of renewables in its generation mix. The results indicate that carbon tax designs with border carbon adjustment tend to be more effective in lowering emissions in Spain. They also suggest that an appropriately designed environmental fiscal reform may even boost economic activity in the medium term if the revenues are used to reduce other, more distorting taxes.

  • 2118
    Democracy, technocracy and economic growth: evidence from 20 century Spain (2 MB) Alessandro Melcarne, Juan S. Mora-Sanguinetti and Rok Spruk

    We examine the contribution of economic and institutional transitions as two potential sources of subnational economic growth in Spain. To this end, we exploit the economic reforms of the 1959 Stabilization Plan (as an example of technocratic, economy-oriented reform) and the democratic transition in 1979 in Spain as the sources of variation for a sample of 50 Spanish provinces in the period 1950-2016. Our approach is to examine the impacts by estimating the missing counterfactual scenarios using the synthetic control method. Our results unveil a positive effect for both economic and institutional transitions on subnational economic growth. A direct comparison of both transitions suggests that the effect of economic liberalization is four-fold higher than the effect of political liberalization. The average growth effect of the economic liberalization is around 40% higher relative to the counterfactual scenario and it appears to be permanent. The estimated effects are robust to the variety of placebo tests and additional robustness checks. This article also deepens the analysis of the effects of the 1959 plan and finds that the policies that generated the most positive impact were those of an “internal” nature, compared to the external ones, dependent on access to the IMF (also positive, but of lesser impact).

  • 2117
    Structural gravity and trade agreements: does the measurement of domestic trade matter? (361 KB) Rodolfo G. Campos, Jacopo Timini and Elena Vidal

    Economic theory suggests including domestic trade flows when estimating structural gravity models. The inclusion of domestic trade flows helps to identify parameters that cannot be estimated with international trade flows alone. The complication is that domestic trade flows can be measured empirically in different ways. Does it matter which one is used? We compare the three most common approaches to measuring domestic trade and show that they lead to very similar estimates of the parameters that are usually estimated within a structural gravity framework.

  • 2116
    Marginal tax changes with risky investment (406 KB) Patrick Macnamara, Myroslav Pidkuyko and Raffaele Rossi

    Using an estimated life-cycle model, we quantify the role of heterogeneity in wealth returns for the response of income to marginal tax changes. In our economy, agents who are sufficiently productive can obtain higher returns by choosing to be entrepreneurs. Return heterogeneity amplifies the responsiveness of total income to marginal tax changes along the entire income distribution with the top 1 percent displaying the highest elasticities. Return heterogeneity increases the incentives to invest for the richest, highreturn entrepreneurs, thus amplifying their income responses to marginal tax changes. This reallocation of capital increases aggregate productivity, generating a larger boost in equilibrium wages. This in turn strengthens the income response of the bottom 90 percent, but nevertheless, their response is smaller than at the top.

  • 2115
    Import competition, regional divergence, and the rise of the skilled city (1 MB) Javier Quintana

    This paper analyzes the contribution of import competition to the regional divergence among US metropolitan areas over recent decades. I document that the sharp rise in imports of Chinese manufacturing goods had a significant effect on the spatial skill polarization and the divergence of college wage premium among local labor markets. The effects of the China trade shock were systematically different depending on the skill intensity of local services. Among regions with skill-intensive services, a higher exposure to import competition in manufacturing increased the number and wages of college-educated workers. The negative effects of the China shock concentrated in exposed regions with a low density of college-educated workers. The heterogeneous effects of import competition explain one third of the spatial skill polarization and one fourth of the divergence in college wage premium. I show that the contribution of the trade shock operates through the reallocation of workers across sectors and regions. Using a novel measure of “labor market exposure to the China shock”, I document that service industries expand when local manufacturers face import competition. High human capital regions exposed to the China shock undergo a faster transition from manufacturing to skill-intensive service industries and attract college-educated workers from other locations.

  • 2114
    Unequal trade, unequal gains: the heterogeneous impact of MERCOSUR (607 KB) Rodolfo G. Campos and Jacopo Timini

    We estimate the impact of MERCOSUR on trade flows and on gains from trade for its member countries using a standard modern general equilibrium quantitative structural gravity model. We find a highly heterogeneous impact on bilateral trade flows and gains from trade. We estimate that gains from trade attributable to MERCOSUR are equivalent to a 4.0 % increase in per-capita consumption for Argentina. For the other countries, gains from trade are smaller: 0.8 % for Uruguay, 0.5 % for Paraguay, and 0.3 % for Brazil. We study whether Brazil would benefit from withdrawing from MERCOSUR and signing a trade agreement with a different trade bloc but conclude that net gains from such a switch would be small, if any.

  • 2113
    Does the added worker effect matter? (1 MB) Nezih Guner, Yuliya A. Kulikova and Arnau Valladares-Esteban

    The added worker effect (AWE) measures the entry of individuals into the labor force due to their partners’ adverse labor market outcomes. We propose a new method to calculate the AWE that allows us to estimate its effect on any labor market outcome. The AWE reduces the fraction of households with two non-employed members by 16% for the 1977-2018 period; 28% in the 1990 recession and 23% during the great recession. The AWE also accounts for why women’s employment is much less cyclical and more symmetric than men’s. Without the AWE, married women’s employment would be as volatile as men and display negative skewness (declining quickly in recessions and recovering slowly in expansions). In recessions, while some women lose their employment, others enter the labor market and find jobs. This keeps female employment relatively stable.

  • 2112
    Price setting in Chile: Micro evidence from consumer on-line prices during the social outbreak and Covid-19. (907 KB) Jennifer Peña and Elvira Prades

    In this paper we analyze the price setting behavior in Chile by using scraped data from public websites of the main retailers including supermarkets, a pharmacy retailer and car dealerships. The data collection started in July 2019 and the dataset covers two major recent events: (1) the social outbreak and (2) the state of emergency declaration due to Covid-19, both episodes led to disruptions in the economy. With information on product varieties that accounts for 22 % of the CPI basket, we document several empirical findings as regards price setting behaviour in terms of stickiness, that is, frequency, implied duration and the size of price adjustments. We find that in spite of facing large shocks, prices adjusted very little, at a lower frequency and at a smaller size than prior to these two events. We also find that there was a reduction on product variety availability on-line, a typical feature that also has been found during natural disasters such as earthquakes. The reduction in product availability poses additional difficulties to construct CPI indexes and to properly capture price rigidities, which are relevant for monetary policy.

  • 2111
    Time variation in lifecycle consumption and income (2 MB) Yunus Aksoy, Henrique S. Basso and Carolyn St Aubyn

    We document systematic and signicant time variation in US lifecycle nondurable
    consumption profiles. Consumption profiles have consistently become flatter:
    intergenerational differences in consumption across age groups have decreased over
    time. Pooling data across different periods to identify lifecycle profiles and failing to
    account for unobserved heterogeneity masks relevant time variations and may articially
    generate hump-shaped consumption age profiles. The main driver behind lifecycle
    consumption variations are lifecycle income changes, which display similar flattening.
    Employing a lifecycle model we show changes in income are sufficient to match the
    movements in consumption.

  • 2110
    Fed communication on financial stability concerns and monetary policy decisions: revelations from speeches (828 KB) Klodiana Istrefi, Florens Odendahl and Giulia Sestieri

    This paper studies the informational content of speeches of Fed officials, focusing on financial stability, from 1997 to 2018. We construct indicators that measure the intensity and tone of this topic for both Governors and Fed presidents. When added to a standard forward-looking Taylor rule, a higher topic intensity or negative tone is associated with more monetary policy accommodation than implied by the state of the economy. Our results are mainly driven by the information in speeches of Fed presidents. We discuss several channels to rationalize this finding.

  • 2109
    Weather, mobility and the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic (3 MB) Corinna Ghirelli, Andrea González, José Luis Herrera and Samuel Hurtado

    We estimate the effective reproduction number (Rt) of the current Covid-19 pandemic, with US daily infections data between February and September of 2020, at the county level. This is then used to estimate the effect of weather and mobility on the spread of the pandemic. We find a strong and significant effect of the weather: lower temperaturas are associated with a higher Rt, and this effect is bigger at temperatures below 0ºC. At low temperatures, precipitations are also associated with a higher Rt. We also find that mobility reductions related to certain types of locations (retail and recreation, transit stations, and workplaces) are effective at reducing Rt, but it is an increase of the time spent in parks that helps reduce the spread of the pandemic. The negative effect of increased general mobility is bigger in counties with higher population density, worse numeracy and literacy PIAAC scores, or a lower share of employment in the services sector. Quantitatively, our estimates imply that a 20ºC fall in temperatures from summer to winter would increase Rt by +0.35, which can be the difference between a wellcontrolled evolution and explosive behavior; and, if this can’t be neutralized through general improvements in the fight to stop the pandemic, the additional reduction in mobility that would be needed to compensate for this would be equivalent to returning, from the more relaxed levels observed in the summer, back to the strictest mobility reductions recorded in the US in April.

  • 2108
    Endogenous time variation in vector autoregressions (1 MB) Danilo Leiva-Leon and Luis Uzeda

    We introduce a new class of time-varying parameter vector autoregressions (TVP-VARs) where the identified structural innovations are allowed to influence the dynamics of the coefficients in these models. An estimation algorithm and a parametrization conducive to model comparison are also provided. We apply our framework to the US economy. Scenario analysis suggests that, once accounting for the influence of structural shocks on the autoregressive coefficients, the effects of monetary policy on economic activity are larger and more persistent than in an otherwise standard TVP-VAR. Our results also indicate that cost-push shocks play a prominent role in understanding historical changes in inflation-gap persistence.

  • 2107
    New dimensions of regulatory complexity and their economic cost. An analysis using text mining (1 MB) Juan de Lucio and Juan S. Mora-Sanguinetti

    Complex or poorly drafted regulations are more difficult for economic agents to implement, eroding economic efficiency. The literature has so far concentrated on the analysis of regulatory complexity as a phenomenon related to the “quantity” of norms. Regulation can also be complex because of “qualitative” reasons such as its linguistic ambiguity or its relational structure (references between legal documents). This article innovates by analyzing these new dimensions of complexity: we develop new indicators for legibility and regulatory interconnectedness. To do so, we constructed a new database (RECOS - Regulatory Complexity in Spain) extracting information from 8,171 norms (61 million words) covering the regulation set of all the Spanish autonomous regions. We analyze the relationship between these new indicators and productivity (as a relevant economic variable) and judicial efficacy (as a relevant institutional-structural variable). While each of these areas should be analyzed in separate articles, this research shows that the new dimensions of regulation complexity matter and also have significant results.

  • 2106
    Market polarization and the Phillips curve (2 MB) Javier Andrés, Óscar Arce and Pablo Burriel

    The Phillips curve has flattened out over the last decades. We develop a model that rationalizes this phenomenon as a result of the observed increase in polarization in many industries, a process along which a few top firms gain an increasing share of their industry market. In the model, firms compete à la Bertrand and there is exit and endogenous market entry, as well as optimal up and downgrading of technology. Firms with larger market shares find optimal to dampen the response of their price changes, thus cushioning the shocks to their marginal costs through endogenous countercyclical markups. Thus, regardless of its causes (technology, competition, barriers to entry, etc.), the recent increase in polarization in many industries emerges in the model as the key factor in explaining the muted responses of inflation to movements in the output gap witnessed recently.

  • 2105
    Understanding the performance of machine learning models to predict credit default: a novel approach for supervisory evaluation (1 MB) Andrés Alonso and José Manuel Carbó

    In this paper we study the performance of several machine learning (ML) models for credit default prediction. We do so by using a unique and anonymized database from a major Spanish bank. We compare the statistical performance of a simple and traditionally used model like the Logistic Regression (Logit), with more advanced ones like Lasso penalized logistic regression, Classification And Regression Tree (CART), Random Forest, XGBoost and Deep Neural Networks. Following the process deployed for the supervisory validation of Internal Rating-Based (IRB) systems, we examine the benefits of using ML in terms of predictive power, both in classification and calibration. Running a simulation exercise for different sample sizes and number of features we are able to isolate the information advantage associated to the access to big amounts of data, and measure the ML model advantage. Despite the fact that ML models outperforms Logit both in classification and in calibration, more complex ML algorithms do not necessarily predict better. We then translate this statistical performance into economic impact. We do so by estimating the savings in regulatory capital when using ML models instead of a simpler model like Lasso to compute the risk-weighted assets. Our benchmark results show that implementing XGBoost could yield savings from 12.4% to 17% in terms of regulatory capital requirements under the IRB approach. This leads us to conclude that the potential benefits in economic terms for the institutions would be significant and this justify further research to better understand all the risks embedded in ML models.

  • 2104
    Are we moving towards an energy-efficient low-carbon economy? An input-output LMDI decomposition of CO2 emissions for Spain and the EU28 (1 MB) Darío Serrano-Puente

    Spain is on a path towards the decarbonization of the economy. This is mainly due to structural changes in the economy, where less energy-intensive sectors are gaining more relevance, and due to a higher use of less carbon-intensive primary energy products. This decarbonization trend is in fact more accentuated than that observed in the EU28, but there is still much to be done in order to reverse the huge increases in emissions that occurred in Spain prior to the 2007 crisis. The technical energy efficiency is improving in the Spanish economy at a higher rate than in the EU28, although all these gains are offset by the losses that the country suffers due to the inefficient use of the energy equipment. There is an installed energy infrastructure (in the energy-consumer side) in the Spanish economy that is not working at its maximum rated capacity, but which has very high fixed energy costs that reduce the observed energy efficiency and puts at risk the achievement of the emissions and energy consumption targets set by the European institutions. We arrive to these findings by developing a hybrid decomposition approach called «input-output logarithmic mean Divisia index» (IO-LMDI) decomposition method. With this methodological approach, we can provide an allocation diagram scheme for assigning the responsibility of primary energy requirements and carbon-dioxide emissions to the end-use sectors, including both economic and non-productive sectors. In addition, we analyze more potential influencing factors than those typically examined, we proceed in a way that reconciles energy intensity and energy efficiency metrics, and we are able to distinguish between technical and observed end-use energy efficiency taking into account potential rebound effects and other factors.

  • 2103
    EMU deepening and sovereign debt spreads: using political space to achieve policy space (1 MB) Iván Kataryniuk, Víctor Mora-Bajén and Javier J. Pérez

    Sovereign spreads within the European Monetary Union (EMU) arise because markets price-in heterogeneous country fundamentals, but also re-denomination risks, given the incomplete nature of EMU. This creates a permanent risk of financial fragmentation within the area. In this paper we claim that political decisions that signal commitment to safeguarding the adequate functioning of the euro area influence investors’ valuations. We focus on decisions conducive to enhancing the institutional framework of the euro area (“EMU deepening”). To test our hypothesis we build a comprehensive narrative of events (decisions) from all documents and press releases issued by the Council of the EU and the European Council during the period January 2010 to March 2020. We categorize the events as dealing with: (i) economic and financial integration; (ii) fiscal policy; (iii) bailouts. With our extremely rich narrative at hand, we conduct event-study regressions with daily data to assess the impact of events on sovereign bond yields and find that indeed decisions on financial integration drive down periphery spreads. Moreover, while decisions on key subjects present a robust effect, this is not the case with prior discussions on those subjects at the Council level. Finally, we show that the impacts arise from reductions in peripheral sovereign spreads, and not by the opposite movement in core countries. We conclude that EU policy-makers have at their disposal signicant “political space” to reduce fragmentation and gain “policy space”.

  • 2102
    Economic uncertainty and divisive politics: evidence from the dos Españas (5 MB) Sandra García-Uribe, Hannes Mueller and Carlos Sanz

    This article exploits two newspaper archives to track economic policy uncertainty in Spain in 1905-1945, a period of extreme political polarization. We find that the outbreak of the civil war in 1936 was anticipated by a striking upward level shift of uncertainty in both newspapers. We study the dynamics behind this shift and provide evidence of a strong empirical link between increasing uncertainty and the rise of divisive political issues at the time: socio-economic conflict, regional separatism, power of the military, and role of the church. This holds even when we exploit variation in content at the newspaper level.

  • 2101
    Optimal progressivity of personal income tax: a general equilibrium evaluation for Spain (579 KB) Darío Serrano-Puente

    Is the Spanish economy positioned at its optimal progressivity level in personal income tax? This article quantifies the aggregate, distributional, and welfare consequences of moving towards such an optimal level. A heterogeneous households general equilibrium model featuring both life cycle and dynastic elements is calibrated to replicate some characteristics of the Spanish economy and used to evaluate potential reforms of the tax system. The findings suggest that increasing progressivity would be optimal, even though it would involve an efficiency loss. The optimal reform of the tax schedule would reduce wealth and income inequality at the cost of negative effects on capital, labor, and output. Finally, these theoretical results are evaluated using tax micro data and describe a current scenario where the income-top households typically face suboptimal effective average tax rates.

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