Sovereign Stress, Banking Stress, and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism in the Euro Area

IWH Discussion Paper 3/2018 (together with Jan-Christopher Scherer)

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate to what extend sovereign stress and banking stress have contributed to this increase in the level and in the heterogeneity of nonfinancial firms’ refinancing costs in the Euro area during the European debt crisis and how they did affect the monetary transmission mechanism. Employing a large firm-level data set containing two million observations, we are able to identify the increasing effect of government bond yield spreads (sovereign stress) and the share of non-performing loans (banking stress) on firms’ financing costs in a panel model by assuming that idiosyncratic shocks to individual firms are uncorrelated with country-specific variables. Moreover, we estimate both sources of stress to have significantly impaired the monetary transmission mechanism between 2005 and 2013. This finding suggests that the ECB’s asset purchase programmes during that period have helped to improve firms’ financing conditions in stressed countries but that monetary policy transmission was still impaired due to the elevated level of banking stress in these countries.

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