Recent Submissions

  • Juselius, Mikael; Drehmann, Mathias (2020)
    Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 2
    Available also as Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 3/2016.
    In addition to leverage, the debt service burden of households and firms is an important link between financial and real developments at the aggregate level. Using US data from 1985 to 2017, we find that the debt service burden has sizeable negative effects on expenditure. Its interplay with leverage also explains several data puzzles, including the lack of above trend output growth during credit booms and the severity of ensuing recessions, without appealing to large shocks or nonlinearities. Estimating the model with data up to 2005, it predicts credit and expenditure paths that closely match actual developments before and during the Great Recession.
  • Fungáčová, Zuzana; Schoors, Koen; Solanko, Laura; Weill, Laurent (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 8/2020
    State-owned banks tend to increase lending before elections for the purpose of boosting the reelection odds of incumbent politicians. We employ monthly data on individual banks to study whether Russian banks increased their lending before presidential elections during 2004–2019, a period covering four presidential elections. In contrast to the literature, we find that both state-owned and private banks increased their lending before presidential elections. This result stands for all loans, as well as separately for firm and household loans. The pre-election lending surge is followed by a deterioration of loan quality the following year, indicating the lending increase was not driven by higher growth prospects or some positive economic shock. The effect is substantially greater for large banks and banks more involved in lending activities. Our main finding that all types of banks in Russia increase their lending before presidential elections supports the view that the authorities in an electoral autocracy like Russia can influence lending of both private and state-owned banks for political reasons.
  • Gregg, Amanda; Nafziger, Steven (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 7/2020
    This paper explores the dynamics of corporate finance during the early stages of industrial growth by examining a newly constructed panel database of Imperial Russian industrial corporations’ balance sheets. We document large differences in financial strategies and outcomes across industries, over time, over firms’ life cycles, and between two Russian corporation types. Russian corporations’ profits and dividend payouts followed the Russian business cycle. Russian corporate debt ratios mostly follow modern capital structure theories, but tangible assets were not associated with higher debt levels, suggesting that Russian corporate debt was short-term, that collateral was irrelevant, or that agency problems dominated. We also find evidence that investors needed to be compensated for poor protections, since dividends were valued and widely-held corporations enjoyed greater returns. While the evidence suggests the presence of these and other frictions, our findings are consistent with the Imperial Russian financial system functioning well enough to enable early industrial development.
  • Banerjee, Ryan; Hofmann, Boris; Mehrotra, Aaron (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 6/2020
    Using firm-level data for 18 major global economies, we find that the exchange rate affects corporate investment through a financial channel: exchange rate depreciation dampens corporate investment through firm leverage and FX debt. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a stylised model of credit risk in which exchange rates can affect investment through FX debt or borrowing in local currency from foreign lenders. Empirically, the channel is more pronounced in emerging market economies (EMEs), reflecting their greater dependence on foreign funding and their less developed financial systems. Moreover, we find that exchange rate depreciation induces highly leveraged firms to increase their cash holdings, supporting from a different angle the notion of a financial channel of the exchange rate. Overall, these findings suggest that the large depreciation of EME currencies since 2011 was probably a significant amplifying factor in the recent investment slowdown in these economies.
  • Li, Weijia; Roland, Gérard; Xie, Yang (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 5/2020
    How do corruption and the state apparatus interact, and how are they connected to the political and economic dimensions of state capacity? Motivated by historians' analysis of powerful empires, we build a model that emphasizes the corrosive effect of corruption on state power. Under general assumptions about fat-tailed risk, we show that, if fiscal capacity is strong, then the optimal response for the head of the state apparatus will be an endogenous lexicographic rule whereby local corruption is maintained at such a level that no erosion of state power is tolerated. Comparative statics shows the impacts of additional risk of crisis on corruption tolerance as well as the complementarity between personalistic rule and corruption. Implications of corruption at the head of the state apparatus are also analyzed. If fiscal capacity is not sufficiently strong, however, the state will have to over-tolerate corruption to retain its affiliates, risking its control in crises. Our model predicts that the correlation between state's political stability and corruption is non-monotonic across different levels of fiscal capacity, and this prediction is robustly consistent with recent cross-country panel-data.