Marzio Bassanin, Ester Faia, Valeria Patella, 30 August 2019

Macroeconomic models with credit frictions do a good job of explaining debt falls during financial crises, but fail to account for pre-crisis debt increases and level pro-cyclicality. This column introduces a model in which investors’ beliefs about future collateral values are non-linear. Greater ambiguity optimism during booms and greater aversion during recessions closely model the empirical shifts seen before and during financial crises, highlighting the joint role of financial frictions and beliefs distortions for market developments.

Henri Servaes, 30 May 2019

Performance fee-based contracts, which aim to align the interests of the fund manager with that of the investor, have been controversial in mutual funds markets, and are once again under review in Europe. This column presents empirical evidence showing that performance fee contracts do not improve fund performance, particularly in instances where contracts fail to specify a benchmark for results.

Alex Chinco, Vyacheslav Fos, 14 May 2019

Noise makes financial markets possible. The column investigates an overlooked source of noise, namely, that in modern markets it is computationally infeasible to predict how even simple, rational trading rules interact to create net demand for a stock. For example, empirical data suggest that we can predict whether a stock will be affected by an exchange-traded fund portfolio rebalancing cascade, but not how.

Wolfram Schlenker, Charles Taylor, 02 May 2019

Understanding beliefs about climate change is important, but most of the measures used in the literature are unreliable. Instead, this column uses prices of financial products whose payouts are tied to future weather outcomes in the US. These market expectations correlate well with climate model outputs between 2002 and 2018 and observed weather data across eight US cities, and show significant warming trends. When money is at stake, agents are accurately anticipating warming trends in line with the scientific consensus of climate models.

Bo Becker, Victoria Ivashina, 28 March 2019

In the past 30 years, defaults on corporate bonds in the US have been substantially above the historical average. Using firm-level data, this column shows that the increase in credit risk can be largely attributed to an increase in the rate at which new and fast-growing firms displace incumbents, a phenomenon defined as ‘disruption’. Incumbent revenue growth suffers when there are many IPOs in an industry, and newly issued bonds in high-disruption industries have higher yields.

Nils Friewald, Florian Nagler, 30 January 2019

Previous studies show that conventional factors, such as firm-specific and macroeconomic variables, do a poor job of explaining yield spread changes. Using data from the US corporate bond market, this column shows that over-the-counter frictions explain around 23% in the variation of the common component and one third of the total variation in yield spread changes. The combination of search and bargaining frictions is slightly more important for the dynamics of yield spread changes than inventory frictions. The findings are broadly consistent with leading theories of intermediation frictions in over-the-counter markets.

Jon Danielsson, 02 January 2019

Laura Veldkamp, Maryam Farboodi, 02 January 2019

Technological change is making it possible to process more and more information. This column looks at the implications of this for trading strategies. It finds that growth in the amount of data investors can process is a logical and predictable cause of a shift from fundamentals-based to order flow-based strategies. 

Meghana Ayyagari, Thorsten Beck, Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 11 December 2018

Macroprudential tools have been implemented widely following the Global Crisis. Using data from 900,000 firms in 49 countries, this column finds that such policies are associated with lower credit growth during the period 2003-2011. The effects are especially significant for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and young firms that are more financially constrained and bank dependent. The results imply a trade-off between financial stability and inclusion.

Guillaume Vuillemey, 17 November 2018

A key function of financial markets is to share risks, and thus to mitigate the transmission of shocks to the real economy. This column analyses one historical setup in which risk-sharing possibilities in financial markets suddenly increased – the creation of the first central clearing counterparty in 1882 in France in the market for coffee futures. The ability to better hedge coffee prices had real effects and increased trade flows Europe-wide. 

Andrew Ellul, 05 July 2018

Systemic risk has been a cause for growing concern since the onset of the Global Crisis. Andrew Ellul explains his research on the lending side of systemic risk creation, which address the types of investments financial institutions make. These investments have shifted towards equity markets, which are riskier and less liquid, and more interconnected - all of which amplifies risk in crisis.

Ralph De Haas, 15 June 2018

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, participating countries committed to trying to limit the increase in the global temperature to no more than 2 degrees, requiring a major transition in the way we produce products and services. Ralph de Haas explains his research on how this Green Transition can be financed, and whether certain types of finance - in particular stock vs. credit markets - are better suited to achieving 'greener growth'. This video was recorded at CEPR's Third Annual Spring Symposium.

Ashoka Mody, 01 April 2018

Gonçalo Faria, Fabio Verona, 09 May 2018

The slope of the yield curve is of interest to policymakers and market participants alike. But despite being a good in-sample predictor of the equity risk premium, it performs rather poorly out-of-sample. This column finds that the low-frequency component of the term spread is a strong and robust out-of-sample equity risk premium predictor for several forecasting horizons. This finding adds to recent empirical evidence that the level and price of aggregate risk in equity markets are strongly linked to low-frequency economic fluctuations.

Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi, M. Hashem Pesaran, Alessandro Rebucci, 24 April 2018

During 2016-17, market analysts and policymakers grappled with the puzzling coexistence of subdued market volatility and heightened policy uncertainty and geopolitical risk. The rise in world growth expectations can explain some but by no means all of the decline in market volatility during this period. This column argues that excess optimism about future growth prospects might have fuelled the decline in volatility. This would imply that gradual unwinding of such expectations could bring more bursts of market volatility, as we have begun to witness since the start of 2018.

Tobias Adrian, Michael J. Fleming, Or Shachar, 14 September 2017

The potential adverse effects of regulation on market liquidity in the post-crisis period continue to receive significant attention. This column shows that dealer balance sheets have continued to stagnate and that various measures point to less abundant funding liquidity. Nonetheless, there is little evidence of a wide-spread deterioration in market liquidity. Liquidity remained resilient even during stress events like the 2013 ‘temper tantrum’.

George Dotsis, 10 September 2017

Option trading has grown phenomenally in the last 40 years, but option markets have existed since the early 17th century. This column reviews an option trading manual written by a London trader in 1906. It shows that traders in the 19th century developed sophisticated techniques for determining the prices of short-term calls and puts. They also priced at-the-money-forward straddles the same way they are priced today.

Konstantin Platonov, 25 August 2017

Unemployment rates rise during a financial crisis. In this video, Konstantin Platonov underlines the important link between pessismism about the financial market and the real economy. This video was recorded in July 2017 at a macroeconomics conference organised by the Bank of England.

Bruce Kasman, Joseph Lupton, 03 November 2016

Over the past two years, a significant disinflationary impulse has dampened nominal activity around the world. As this disinflationary impulse fades, however, both nominal and real growth should normalise. Indeed, as this column highlights, the latest signs show inflation and inflation expectations rising, profits stabilising, and capital expenditure inching up.

Alex Edmans, Clifford Holderness, 15 September 2016

The separation of ownership and control for public firms may lead to fully dispersed ownership where no shareholder has an incentive to engage in governance. This column argues that blockholders (owners of large stakes) play a critical role in long-term governance, partly through a credible threat to sell their stakes. This threat is undermined by well-intentioned policy moves to create holding-period incentives and requirements. If they succeed, these policies will make exit less likely and blockholders will lose a method to discipline managers.

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