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 the Working Papers published since 1990 are available here. Earlier ones, going back to the first one published in 1978, are available in the Institutional RepositoryOpens in a new window

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  • 28/04/2011
    1039. Gross capital flows: dynamics and crises (1 MB) Fernando Broner, Tatiana Didier, Aitor Erce, Sergio L. Schmukler

    This paper analyzes the joint behavior of international capital flows by foreigners and domestic agents over the business cycle and during financial crises. We show that gross capital flows by foreigners and domestic agents are very large and volatile relative to net capital flows. Namely, when foreigners invest in a country domestic agents tend to invest abroad, and vice versa. Gross capital flows are also pro-cyclical. During expansions, foreigners tend to bring in more capital and domestic agents tend to invest more abroad. During crises, especially during severe ones, there is retrenchment, i.e. a reduction in capital inflows by foreigners and an increase in capital inflows by domestic agents. This evidence sheds light on the nature of the shocks driving international capital flows and discriminates among existing theories. Our findings are consistent with shocks that affect foreigners and domestic agents asymmetrically - e.g. sovereign risk and asymmetric information - over productivity shocks.

  • 18/01/2011
    1038. International financial flows, real exchange rates and cross-border insurance (806 KB) Francesca Viani

    Whether cross-border financial market integration has raised global insurance, is still
    a controversial issue in the literature. If this is so, what should we observe in the data?
    The insurance literature emphasizes that efficient risk-sharing requires financial markets to
    channel resources to countries that have been made temporarily poorer by some negative
    conjuncture, net of physical capital accumulation. This standard condition, which provides
    the basis for virtually every test of international insurance, is however derived focusing
    on only one of the two channels of cross-border insurance, the financial flows channel,
    implicitly assuming no interaction between this and the other channel, international relative
    price fluctuations.
    This paper shows that testable conditions can only be derived theoretically placing the
    interaction between prices and financial flows centerstage in the analysis. Using a twocountry
    general equilibrium model with endogenous portfolio diversification, I show that
    financial flows and relative prices can be either complements or substitutes in providing
    insurance. In the case of complementarity, financial inflows raise the international price
    of a country´s output. This implies the standard condition. In the case of substitutability
    prices and flows transfer purchasing power in opposite directions. This implies a different
    condition: efficient financial markets are required to channel resources «upstream», from
    relatively poorer to relatively richer countries. The conditions for substitutability appear to be
    quantitatively and empirically plausible.

  • 17/12/2010
    1037. Nowcasting Spanish GDP growth in real time: "One and a half months earlier" (894 KB) David de Antonio Liedo and Elena Fernández Muñoz

    The sharp decline in economic activity registered in Spain over 2008 and 2009 has no precedents in recent history. After ten prosperous years with an average GDP growth of 3.7%, the current recession places non-judgemental forecasting models under stress. This paper evaluates the Spanish GDP nowcasting performance of combinations of small and medium-sized linear dynamic regressions with priors originating in the Bayesian VAR literature. Our forecasting procedure can be considered a timely and simple approximation to the mix of accounting tools, models and judgement used by the statistical agencies to construct aggregate GDP figures. The real time forecast evaluation conducted over the most severe phase of the recession shows that our method yields reliable real GDP growth predictions almost one and a half months before the official figures are published.

  • 16/12/2010
    1036. Housing purchases and the dynamics of housing wealth (683 KB) Olympia Bover

    I model the purchase behavior of main and secondary housing by Spanish households using the panel sample from the first two waves of the Spanish household finance survey (EFF). I estimate discrete hazard models using retrospective and within-period purchase sequences. I also estimate an (S,s) model combining transactions data with longitudinal information on household wealth and housing stock values. I look at the role of adaptive expectations about the rate of return on housing and find they have a positive and significant effect on the demand for houses. This is true for historical and within-period purchase probabilities as well as for the target ratio of housing wealth to total wealth. The volatility of house price growth has a negative effect on purchases for investment but a positive one on purchases for consumption.

  • 29/11/2010
    1035. Firm behavior, market deregulation and productivity in Spain (604 KB) César Alonso-Borrego

    The aim of this paper is to analyze the evolution of productivity and how firm behavior and institutional conditions affects productivity. For that purpose, we use a longitudinal sample of Spanish manufacturing and services companies between 1983 and 2006, as well as OECD indicators on product market regulations. The productivity measurement is based on the control function approach, to overcome the endogeneity bias. Both for manufacturing and services firms, we have found that the share of temporary employment tends to reduce productivity, the effect being stronger for services firms, which make a more intensive use of this employment type. Our results also show that increases in competition lead to productivity improvements. Besides, those manufacturing firms who keep undertaking inhouse production of services tend to be more productive. The lack of competition in the services sector may be preventing firms to increase specialization while outsourcing nonmanufacturing activities.

  • 18/11/2010
    1034. Cash holdings, firm size and access to external finance. Evidence for the euro area (1 MB) Carmen Martínez-Carrascal

    This paper investigates the empirical determinants of corporate cash holdings in the euro area as a function of firm size. The results show that there are significant differences in investment in liquid assets for firms of different size. More specifically, liquid assets for smaller firms in the euro area are more strongly linked to firm cash flow and its variability than cash holdings for larger firms, possibly as a result of their more restricted access to external funds and the need to provide for future investment needs. Likewise, results show that the link between cash holdings and tangible assets, which facilitate access to external finance, is stronger for small and medium-sized firms than for large firms. In contrast, cash holding sensitivity to variations in the spread between the return on liquid assets and alternative uses of these funds (debt repayment, in the empirical specification presented in this paper) is higher for larger firms, something that might be linked to their better access to capital markets and their lower need to keep a cash buffer for precautionary reasons.

  • 02/11/2010
    1033. Explaining the demand for money by nonfinancial corporations in the euro area: A macro and a micro view (1 MB) Carmen Martínez-Carrascal and Julian von Landesberger

    This paper analyses euro area non-financial corporations (NFCs) money demand, both from a macro and a microeconomic point of view. At a macro level, money holdings are modelled as a function of real gross added value, the price level, the long-term interest rate on bank lending to non-financial corporations, the own rate of return on M3 and the real capital stock of NFCs. The results indicate that NFCs money holdings adjust quickly when deviations from their long-run level are registered, and that the large increase observed recently in NFCs money holdings has been driven by changes in their fundamentals and hence they stand in line with their long-run equilibrium level. The disaggregated analysis also shows that cash holdings are linked to balance-sheet ratios (such as non-liquid short term assets, tangible assets or indebtedness) and other variables such as the firm’ cash flow, its volatility or the size of the firm, which cannot be taken into account in the macro analysis. Likewise, results indicate that the main drivers of the increase in NFCs cash holdings in the last years have been cyclical factors, captured by gross-added value and the cash-flow respectively. Variations in the opportunity cost of holding money, have also contributed to explain M3 developments but more modestly than at the end of the nineties, when its increase contributed negatively to cash accumulation.

  • 13/10/2010
    1032. Booms and busts in China’s stock market: Estimates based on fundamentals (594 KB) Gabe J. de Bondt, Tuomas A. Peltonen and Daniel Santabárbara

    This paper empirically models China’s stock prices using conventional fundamentals: corporate earnings, risk-free interest rate, and a proxy for equity risk premium. It uses the estimated long-run stock price misalignments to date booms and busts, and analyses equity market reforms and excess liquidity as potential drivers of these stock price misalignments. Our results show that China’s equity prices can be reasonable well modelled using fundamentals, but that various booms and busts can be identified. Policy actions, either taking the form of deposit rate changes, equity market reforms or excess liquidity, seem to have significantly contributed to these misalignments.

    Published in: Applied Financial Economics, volume 21, issue 5, March 2011

  • 13/10/2010
    1031. Determinants of economic growth: A Bayesian panel data approach (583 KB) Enrique Moral-Benito

    Model uncertainty hampers consensus on the key determinants of economic growth. Some recent cross-country cross-sectional analyses have employed Bayesian Model Averaging to tackle the issue of model uncertainty. This paper extends that approach to panel data models with country-specific fixed effects in order to simultaneously address model uncertainty and endogeneity issues. The empirical findings suggest that in a panel setting the most robust growth determinants are the price of investment goods, distance to major world cities, and political rights.

    Published in: The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 94, issue 2, pp. 566 579 (May 2012)

  • 30/09/2010
    1030. Credit supply: identifying balance-sheet channels with loan applications and granted loans (840 KB) Gabriel Jiménez, Steven Ongena, José-Luis Peydró and Jesús Saurina

    To identify credit availability we analyze the extensive and intensive margins of lending with loan applications and all loans granted in Spain. We find that during the period analyzed both worse economic and tighter monetary conditions reduce loan granting, especially to firms or from banks with lower capital or liquidity ratios. Moreover, responding to applications for the same loan, weak banks are less likely to grant the loan. Our results suggest that firms cannot offset the resultant credit restriction by turning to other banks. Importantly the bank-lending channel is notably stronger when we account for unobserved time-varying firm heterogeneity in loan demand and quality.

  • 20/09/2010
    1029. The effects of national discretions on banks (742 KB) Isabel Argimón and Jenifer Ruiz

    The EU’s transposition of Basel II into European law has been done through the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD). Although the Directive establishes, in general, uniform rules to set capital requirements across European countries, there are some areas where the Directive allows some heterogeneity. In particular, countries are asked to choose among different possibilities when transposing the Directive, which are called national discretions (ND). The main objective of our research is to use such observed heterogeneity to gather empirical evidence on the effects on European banks of more or less stringency and more or less risk sensitivity in capital requirements. Following the approach in Barth et al. (2004, 2006, 2008) we build index numbers for groups of national discretions and applying Altunbas et al. (2007) approach, we provide evidence on their effect on banks’ risk, capital, efficiency and cost. We show that more stringency and more risk sensitivity in regulation not always result in a trade off between efficiency and solvency: the impact depends on the area of national discretion on which such characteristics apply.

  • 25/10/2010
    1028. Mitigating the pro-cyclicality of Basel II (1 MB) Rafael Repullo, Jesús Saurina and Carlos Trucharte

    Policy discussions on the recent financial crisis feature widespread calls to address the pro-cyclicaleffects of regulation. The main concern is that the new risk-sensitive bank capital regulation (Basel II) may amplify business cycle fluctuations. This paper compares the leading alternative procedures that have been proposed to mitigate this problem. We estimate a model of the probabilities of default (PDs) of Spanish firms during the period 1987 2008, and use the estimated PDs to compute the corresponding series of Basel II capital requirements per unit of loans. These requirements move significantly along the business cycle, ranging from 7.6% (in 2006) to 11.9% (in 1993). The comparison of the different procedures is based on the criterion of minimizing the root mean square deviations of each adjusted series with respect to the Hodrick-Prescott trend of the original series. The results show that the best procedures are either to smooth the input of the Basel II formula by using through the cycle PDs or to smooth the output with a multiplier based on GDP growth. Our discussion concludes that the latter is better in terms of simplicity, transparency, and consistency with banks’ risk pricing and risk management systems. For the portfolio of Spanish commercial and industrial loans and a 45% loss given default (LGD), the multiplier would amount to a 6.5% surcharge for each standard deviation in GDP growth. The surcharge would be significantly higher with cyclically-varying LGDs.

  • 03/09/2010
    1027. Creditor discrimination during sovereign debt restructurings (733 KB) Aitor Erce and Javier Díaz-Cassou

    This paper explores patterns of discrimination between residents and foreign creditors during recents sovereign debt restructurings. We analyze 10 recent episodes distinguishing between neutral cases in which the sovereign treated creditors equitably irrespective of their nationality and instances of discrimination against residents and non-residents. We then present evidence in support of the hypothesis that these patterns of discrimination can be explained by the origin of liquidity pressures, the ex ante soundness of the banking system and the extent of the domestic corporate sector’s reliance on international financial markets. On the theoretical side, we present a simple model of a government’s strategic decision to diferentiate between the servicing of its domestic and its external debt. In our model, the basic trade-off facing the authorities is to default on external debt and in so doing restricting private access to international capital markets or to default on domestic debt, thereby curtailing the banking sector’s capacity to lend to domestic firms.

    Published in: “Sovereign Debt: From Safety to Default” (edited by. R. Kolb), J. Wiley & Sons. (2011)

  • 22/07/2010
    1026. Green shoots in the Euro area. A real time measure (722 KB) Maximo Camacho, Gabriel Perez-Quiros and Pilar Poncela

    We show that an extension of the Markov-switching dynamic factor models that accounts for the specificities of the day to day monitoring of economic developments such as ragged edges, mixed frequencies and data revisions is a good tool to forecast the Euro area recessions in real time. We provide examples that show the nonlinear nature of the relations between data revisions, point forecasts and forecast uncertainty. According to our empirical results, we think that the real time probabilities of recession are an appropriate statistic to capture what the press call green shoots.

  • 28/07/2010
    1025. Is judicial inefficiency increasing the house property market weight in Spain? Evidence at the local level (708 KB) Juan S. Mora-Sanguinetti

    Compared with the rest of the European countries the weight of the house property market in Spain is very high, which is consistent with the weakness of the tenancy market. In this context, it has often been argued that an inefficient judicial system, implying a cumbersome procedure to evict a non-paying tenant or simply needing a long period to execute a decision, may be an important determinant of the tenancy market weakness, as it constrains the effective supply by reducing the profitability of landlords. This research has studied this effect econometrically using a panel data approach and exploiting the differences in the judicial efficiency that exists among the Spanish provinces. After controlling for several other factors, this study concludes that the degree of inefficiency of the judicial system has a positive, although minor, impact on the differences in the property share among provinces in Spain.

    Publicado en: SERIEs, Journal of the Spanish Economic Association 3 (3). 339-365 (2012)

  • 22/07/2010
    1024. Does housing really lead the business cycle? (1 MB) Luis J. Álvarez and Alberto Cabrero

    The aim of this paper is to characterize the cyclical properties of Spanish real and nominal housing related variables. Our three main results are: First, housing appears to lead the business cycle. Second, fl uctuation in home prices are positively related to those of residential investment, suggesting the dominant role of demand factors over supply ones. Third,there are interesting asymmetries in cyclical fl uctuations: contractions in GDP appear to be briefer than expansions.

  • 07/07/2010
    1023. Development, growth and volatility (692 KB) Alessio Moro

    Does GDP composition affect GDP growth and volatility? Typically, economies at advanced stages of development grow slower, are less volatile and have a larger share of services in GDP with respect to economies at middle stages. I propose a theory of development consistent with these three facts. I show that even when total factor productivity (TFP) growth and volatility are the same in manufacturing and services at the gross output level, the larger intensity of intermediate goods in gross output production in manufacturing implies a larger growth and volatility of TFP at the value added level in manufacturing than in services. As GDP is a weighted average of value added of the sectors in the economy, a larger share of services in the economy implies both a smaller GDP growth and a smaller GDP volatility. Numerical results suggest that along a transition path in which the share of services increases from 0.41 to 0.73, the same gross output TFP process in manufacturing and services implies a per-capita GDP growth and volatility 21% and 18% larger in the first part of the transition with respect to the second. These numbers represent 95% of the difference in per-capita GDP growth and 95% of the difference in per-capita GDP volatility between middle and high income economies during the 1970-2006 period. Also, the model can account for 58% of the per-capita GDP growth and 32% of the per-capita GDP volatility differences measured in the U.S. between the 1950-1978 and 1979-2007 periods.

  • 16/07/2010
    1022. The incidence of nominal and real wage rigidity: an individual-based sectoral approach (589 KB) Julián Messina, Philip Du Caju, Cláudia Filipa Duarte, Niels Lynggård Hansen and Mario Izquierdo

    This paper presents estimates based on individual data of downward nominal and real wage rigidities for thirteen sectors in Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Portugal. Our methodology follows the approach recently developed for the International Wage Flexibility Project, whereby resistance to nominal and real wage cuts is measured through departures of observed individual wage change histograms from an estimated counterfactual wage change distribution that would have prevailed in the absence of rigidity. We evaluate the role of worker and firm characteristics in shaping wage rigidities. We also confront our estimates of wage rigidities to structural features of the labour markets studied, such as the wage bargaining level, variable pay policy and the degree of product market competition. We find that the use of firm-level collective agreements in countries with rather centralized wage formation reduces the degree of real wage rigidity. This finding suggests that some degree of decentralization within highly centralized countries allows firms to adjust wages downwards, when business conditions turn bad.

  • 01/07/2010
    1021. Expectations-driven cycles in the housing market (939 KB) Luisa Lambertini, Caterina Mendicino and Maria Teresa Punzi

    This paper presents US and euro area estimates for a fully heterogeneous model, in which there is a continuum of firms setting prices with a constant probability of adjustment, which may differ from firm to firm. The estimated model accurately matches the empirical distribution function of individual price durations for the US and the euro area. Incorporating these micro based pricing rules into a DSGE model, we find that nominal shocks have a greater real impact in the fully heterogeneous economy than in the standard Calvo model. We also find that nominal and real shocks bring about a reallocation of resources among sectors. Monetary policy is found to have a greater real impact in the euro area than in the United States.

  • 29/06/2010
    1020. I.T. investment and intangibles: Evidence from banks (691 KB) Alfredo Martín-Oliver and Vicente Salas-Fumás

    This paper models the investment behaviour of a multi-asset firm with market power that accumulates valuable intangible assets to complement the IT capital. The investment model is estimated using data from Spanish banks on assets of different nature: material (branches, financial), immaterial (advertising and IT) and intangible (training of workers). The paper estimates that the representative bank spends five additional Euros per Euro invested in IT-related assets in complementary intangible assets or, equivalently, intangibles amount to approximately 10% of the economic value of the representative bank. The remaining economic value is distributed between 28% from rents attributed to market power, and 62% to the cost of market-purchased assets.

    Published in: Review of Income and Wealth, vol. 57(3), pages 513-535 (2011) and Applied Economic Letters, 16 (16), pp.1645-1649 (2009)

  • 29/06/2010
    1019. Micro-based estimates of heterogeneous pricing rules: the United States vs. the euro area (734 KB) Luis J. Álvarez and Pablo Burriel

    This paper presents US and euro area estimates for a fully heterogeneous model, in which there is a continuum of firms setting prices with a constant probability of adjustment, which may differ from firm to firm. The estimated model accurately matches the empirical distribution function of individual price durations for the US and the euro area. Incorporating these micro based pricing rules into a DSGE model, we find that nominal shocks have a greater real impact in the fully heterogeneous economy than in the standard Calvo model. We also find that nominal and real shocks bring about a reallocation of resources among sectors. Monetary policy is found to have a greater real impact in the euro area than in the United States.

  • 18/06/2010
    1018. A systematic approach to multi-period stress testing of portfolio credit risk (735 KB) Thomas Breuer, Martin Jandacka, Javier Mencía and Martin Summer

    We propose a new method for analysing multiperiod stress scenarios for portfolio credit risk more systematically than in the current practice of macro stress testing. Our method quantifies the plausibility of scenarios by considering the distance of the stress scenario from an average scenario. For a given level of plausibility our method searches systematically for the most adverse scenario for the given portfolio. This method therefore gives a formal criterion for judging the plausibility of scenarios and it makes sure that no plausible scenario will be missed. We show how this method can be applied to a range of models already in use among stress testing practitioners. While worst case search requires numerical optimisation we show that for practically relevant cases we can work with reasonably good linear approximations to the portfolio loss function that make the method computationally very efficient and easy to implement. Applying our approach to data from the Spanish loan register and using a portfolio credit risk model we show that, compared to standard stress test procedures, our method identifies more harmful scenarios that are equally plausible.

  • 22/06/2010
    1017. Changes in the wage structure in EU countries (1.014 KB) Rebekka Christopoulou, Juan F. Jimeno and Ana Lamo

    We study changes in the wage structures in nine EU countries over 1995-2002 and the role of demand, supply and institutional developments in shaping these changes. Using comparable cross-country microeconomic data, we compute for each country and at each decile of the wage distribution, the part of the observed wage change that is due to changes in the composition of workers, employers, and jobs’ characteristics, and the part due to changes in the returns to these characteristics. We find that composition effects derived from changes in age, gender or education of the labour force, largely exogenous to economic developments, had a minor contribution to the observed wage dynamics. In contrast, return and composition effects from characteristics likely driven by economic developments are found most relevant to explain the observed changes. We relate wages and their various components with macroeconomic and institutional trends and find that technology and globalisation are associated with wage increases; migration is associated with declines in wages; whereas the effect of labour market institutions has been mixed.

  • 09/06/2010
    1016. El efecto del ciclo económico en las entradas y salidas de inmigrantes en España (705 KB) Aitor Lacuesta y Sergio Puente

    Este trabajo analiza el impacto del ciclo económico sobre los flujos migratorios. Para ello, se estiman los determinantes tanto de las entradas de inmigrantes, como de sus salidas, encontrándose efectos significativos de la situación económica coyuntural o de corto plazo en ambos casos, si bien su importancia cuantitativa y robustez es mayor en el caso de las entradas. De acuerdo con estos resultados, podría esperarse, como de hecho está sucediendo, que en la actual fase cíclica, el crecimiento de la población inmigrante en España se ralentice, especialmente a través de una reducción de las entradas.

    Publicado en: Principios: Estudios de Economía Política, 14, pp 25-48 (2009)

  • 28/06/2010
    1015. Understanding the spanish business innovation gap: the role of spillovers and firms’ absorptive capacity (700 KB) Paloma López-García and José Manuel Montero

    This paper investigates whether the existence of knowledge spillovers, differences in the capacity of firms to assimilate them and disparities in some human resource management practices are related with the decision to innovate of Spanish firms. In order to do this, we employ data from the “Central de Balances” database, which covers both manufacturing and services firms during the period 2003-2007, and use an estimator proposed by Wooldridge (2005) for dynamic random effects discrete choice models. The empirical exercise provides evidence on the positive link between spillovers and the innovative behaviour of companies, not just for the knowledge generated in the same industry, but also for that generated in the same region or by the public sector. Moreover, this link is stronger for those firms with a higher capacity to absorb those spillovers. This ability not only works through firms’ R&D capabilities, but also through such factors as the quality of the labour force, the share of temporary employment and the amount of resources spent in training. In addition to these factors, we find that innovation performance exhibits a high degree of inertia. Further, some other observed firm characteristics, such as size, sales growth, export behaviour, sector capital intensity or financial structure variables, are also found to be relevant determinants of the likelihood of innovation.

  • 24/05/2010
    1014. The euro as a reserve currency for global investors (747 KB) Luis M. Viceira and Ricardo Gimeno

    In this article, we explore the demand for the euro for risk management purposes, and the evidence of stock market integration in the euro area. We define a reserve currency as one that investors demand either because it helps them hedge real interest risk and infl ation risk, or because it helps them reduce the volatility of their portfolio of stocks and bonds because its return is negatively correlated with the returns on those assets. This article re-examines the role of the euro as a reserve currency in the sense of Campbell, Viceira and White (2003), updating their evidence, and reviews the evidence of Campbell, Serfaty-de Medeiros and Viceira (2010) in detail. Consistent with the intuition that an integrated capital market is one in which there is a common discount factor pricing securities, we also investigate whether stocks in the euro area have moved from a regime in which national stock markets were priced with discount rates that were predominantly country specific, to a regime in which national stock markets are predominantly priced by a euro area-wide common discount rate. We adopt the beta decomposition approach of Campbell and Vuolteenaho (2004) and Campbell, Polk and Vuolteenaho (2010) to test for capital market integration, and find robust evidence of increased capital market integration in the euro zone, and consequently improved risk sharing among euro zone economies.

  • 23/04/2010
    1013. Employment fluctuations in a dual labor market (968 KB) James Costain, Juan F. Jimeno and Carlos Thomas

    In light of the huge cross-country differences in job losses during the recent crisis, we study how labor market duality – meaning the coexistence of “temporary” contracts with low firing costs and “permanent” contracts with high firing costs – affects labor market volatility. In a model of job creation and destruction based on Mortensen and Pissarides (1994), we show that a labor market with these two contract types is more volatile than an otherwiseidentical economy with a single contract type. Calibrating our model to Spain, we find that unemployment fl uctuates 21% more under duality than it would in a unified economy with the same average firing cost, and 33% more than it would in a unified economy with the same average unemployment rate.
    In our setup, employment grows gradually in booms, due to matching frictions, whereas the onset of a recession causes a burst of firing of “fragile” low-productivity jobs. Unlike permanent jobs, some newly-created temporary jobs are already near the firing margin, which makes temporary jobs more likely to be fragile and means they play a disproportionate role in employment fl uctuations. Unifying the labor market makes all jobs behave more like the permanent component of the dual economy, and therefore decreases volatility. Unfortunately, it also raises unemployment; to avoid this, unification must be accompanied by a decrease in he average level of firing costs. Finally, we confirm that factors like unemployment benefits and wage rigidity also have a large, interacting effect on labor market volatility; in particular, higher unemployment benefits increase the impact of duality on volatility.

  • 22/04/2010
    1012. General Equilibrium Restrictions for Dynamic Factor Models (594 KB) David de Antonio Liedo

    This paper proposes the use of dynamic factor models as an alternative to the VAR-based tools for the empirical validation of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) theories. Along the lines of Giannone et al. (2006), we use the state-space parameterisation of the factor models proposed by Forni et al. (2007) as a competitive benchmark that is able to capture weak statistical restrictions that DSGE models impose on the data. Beyond the weak restrictions, which are given by the number of shocks and the number of state variables, the behavioural restrictions embedded in the utility and production functions of the model economy contribute to achieve further parsimony. Such parsimony reduces the number of parameters to be estimated, potentially helping the general equilibrium environment improve forecast accuracy. In turn, the DSGE model is considered to be misspecified when it is outperformed by the state-space representation that only incorporates the weak

  • 20/04/2010
    1011. What do premiums paid for bank M&As reflect? The case of the European Union (649 KB) Jens Hagendorff, Ignacio Hernando, María J. Nieto and Larry D. Wall

    We analyze the takeover premiums paid for a sample of European bank mergers between 1997 and 2007. We find that acquiring banks value profitable, high-growth and low risk targets. We also find that the strength of bank regulation and supervision as well as deposit insurance regimes in Europe have measurable effects on takeover pricing. Stricter bank regulatory regimes and stronger deposit insurance schemes lower the takeover premiums paid by acquiring banks. This result, presumably in anticipation of higher compliance costs, is mainly driven by domestic deals. Also, we find no conclusive evidence that bidders seek to extract benefits from regulators either by paying a premium for deals in less regulated regimes or by becoming ‘too big to fail’.

  • 09/04/2010
    1010. Is a Calvo price setting model consistent with micro price data? (638 KB) Luis J. Álvarez and Pablo Burriel

    This paper shows that the standard Calvo model clearly fails to account for the distribution of price durations found in micro data. We propose a novel price setting model that fully captures heterogeneity in individual pricing behavior. Specifi cally, we assume that there is a continuum of fi rms that set prices according to a Calvo mechanism, each of them with a possibly different price adjustment parameter. The model is estimated by maximum likelihood and closely matches individual consumer and producer price data. Incorporating estimated price setting rules into a standard DSGE model shows that fully accounting for pricing heterogeneity is crucial to understanding infl ation and output dynamics. The standard calibration that assumes within sector homogeneity, as in Carvalho (2006), is at odds with micro data evidence and leads to a substantial distortion of estimates of the real impact of monetary policy.

  • 25/03/2010
    1009. Optimal research and development expenditure: a general equilibrium approach (652 KB) Galo Nuño

    How much should be spent in research and development (R&D)? How should R&D vary over the business cycle? In this paper we answer both questions in the context of a calibrated dynamic general equilibrium model with Schumpeterian endogenous growth. Firstly, we demonstrate that, although the existence of distortions in a decentralized economy produces underinvestment in R&D, a simple proportional subsidy to R&D spending alone cannot restore the first best allocation. The optimal proportional R&D subsidy attains a second best allocation in which R&D spending exceeds its first best level. Secondly, we show how the observed procyclicality of R&D is socially inefficient. However, the welfare loss due to this dynamic inefficiency is much smaller than the loss due to underinvestment in R&D.

  • 22/03/2010
    1008. From proximity to distant banking: Spanish banks in the EMU (948 KB) Alfredo Martín-Oliver

    This paper examines the nature of competition in the Spanish banking industry during the years before and after Spain joined the European Monetary Union (EMU). The paper models competition in a product-differentiated market where banks choose from a list of price (interest rates of loans and deposits) and non-price variables (branches, advertising , IT capital). The empirically estimated demand and cost functions are used to simulate the values of the endogenous variables of the representative bank in response to the historically low official interest rates of the post Euro period. The results show that there has been a convergence in the levels of price competition in the loans and deposits markets during the post Euro period. Additionally, the paper finds that branches have lost weight in the mix of competition variables in benefit of advertising and IT capital. This is interpreted as evidence that traditional proximity banking is evolving towards distant banking. Finally, the simulation results highlight the high imbalances between loans and deposits for the representative bank in the regime of low official interest rates of the Euro zone.

  • 17/03/2010
    1007. Testing non-linear dependence in the Hedge Fund industry (613 KB) Javier Mencía

    This paper proposes a parsimonious approach to test non-linear dependence on the conditional mean and variance of hedge funds with respect to several market factors. My approach introduces non-linear dependence by means of empirically relevant polynomial functions of the factors. For comparison purposes, I also consider multifactor extensions of tests based on piecewise linear alternatives. I apply these tests to a database of monthly returns on 1,071 hedge funds. I find that non-linear dependence on the mean is highly sensitive to the factors that I consider. However, I obtain a much stronger evidence of non-linear dependence on the conditional variance.

  • 09/04/2010
    1006. Price, wage and employment response to shocks: evidence from the WDN Survey (706 KB) Giuseppe Bertola, Aurelijus Dabusinskas, Marco Hoeberichts, Mario Izquierdo, Claudia Kwapil, Jeremi Montornès and Daniel Radowski

    This paper analyses information from survey data collected in the framework of the Eurosystem’s Wage Dynamics Network (WDN) on patterns of firm-level adjustment to shocks. We document that the relative intensity and the character of price vs. cost and wage vs. employment adjustments in response to cost-push shocks depend - in theoretically sensible ways - on the intensity of competition in firms’ product markets, on the importance of collective wage bargaining and on other structural and institutional features of firms and of their environment. Focusing on the pass-through of cost shocks to prices, our results suggest that the pass-through is lower in highly competitive firms. Furthermore, a high degree of employment protection and collective wage agreements tend to make this pass through stronger.

  • 30/03/2010
    1005. How does competition impact bank risk-taking? (946 KB) Gabriel Jiménez, Jose A. Lopez and Jesús Saurina

    A common assumption in the academic literature is that franchise value plays a key role in limiting bank risk-taking. As market power is the primary source of franchise value, reduced competition in banking markets has been seen as promoting banking stability. We test this hypothesis using data for the Spanish banking system. We find that standard measures of market concentration do not affect bank risk-taking. However, we find a negative relationship between market power measured using Lerner indexes based on bank-specific interest rates and bank risk. Our results support the franchise value paradigm.

  • 08/03/2010
    1004. Asymmetric Standing Facilities: An Unexploited Monetary Policy Tool (671 KB) Gabriel Perez-Quiros and Hugo Rodríguez Mendizábal

    This paper analyses the role of standing facilities in the determination of the demand
    for reserves in the overnight money market. In particular, we study how the asymmetric
    nature of the deposit and lending facilities could be used as a powerful policy tool for the
    simultaneous control of prices and quantities in the market for daily funds.

  • 22/03/2010
    1003. No bank, one bank, several banks: does it matter for investment? (1 MB) Alexander Karaivanov, Sonia Ruano, Jesús Saurina and Robert Townsend

    This paper examines whether financial constraints affect firms’ investment decisions for older (larger) firms. We compare a group of unbanked firms to firms that rely on formal financing. Specifically, we combine data from the Spanish Mercantile Registry and the Bank of Spain Credit Registry (CIR) to lassify firms according to their number of banking relations: one, several, or none. Our empirical strategy combines two approaches based on a common theoretical model. First, using a standard Euler quation adjustment cost approach to investment, we find that single-banked firms in our sample are most likely to exhibit cash flow sensitivity while unbanked firms are not. Second, using structural maximum likelihood estimation, we find that unbanked firms have a financial structure which is close to credit subject to moral hazard with unobserved effort, whereas single-banked firms have a financial structure which is more limited, as in an exogenously imposed traditional debt model. Firms in the unbanked category do not rely on bonds, equity, or formal financial markets, but rather on other firms in a financial or family-tied group (with either pyramidal or informal structure). We are among the first to document the importance of such groups in a European country. We control for reverse causality by treating bank relationships as endogenous and/or by appropriate stratifications of the sample.

  • 19/02/2010
    1002. The response of household wealth to the risk of losing the job: evidence from differences in firing costs (712 KB) Cristina Barceló and Ernesto Villanueva

    Economic theory predicts that individuals exposed to the risk of losing their job postpone their consumption and accumulate more assets to build a buffer stock of saving. We provide a new test of the hypothesis using substantial variation in severance payments across contracts in the Spanish labour market. Using the 2002 and 2005 waves of a new survey of wealth and consumption we estimate the link between the probability that several household members lose their job and the wealth and consumption of that household. We instrument the type of contract using regional variation in the amount, timing and target groups of subsidies given to firms to hire workers using high severance payment ones. We find that workers covered by fixed-term contracts accumulate more financial wealth. An increase in the probability of losing the job of 8 percentage points increases average financial wealth by 4 months of income. We provide simulations from a simple buffer stock and a permanent income models that suggest that our results are more likely to be generated by the former.

  • 16/02/2010
    1001. Banking competition, collateral constraints and optimal monetary policy (699 KB) Javier Andrés, Óscar Arce and Carlos Thomas

    We analyse optimal monetary policy in a model with two distinct financial frictions. First, borrowing is subject to collateral constraints. Second, credit flows are intermediated by monopolistically competitive banks, thus giving rise to endogenous lending spreads. We show that, up to a second order approximation, welfare maximisation is equivalent to stabilisation of four goals: inflation, output gap, the consumption gap between constrained and unconstrained agents, and the distribution of the collateralizable asset between both groups. Following both financial and non-financial shocks, the optimal monetary policy commitment implies a short-run trade-off between stabilisation goals. Such policy trade-offs become amplified as banking competition increases, due to the fall in lending spreads and the resulting increase in financial leveraging.

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