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Does a Low Interest Rate Environment Affect Risk Taking in Austria?

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Abstract

It has recently been arg ued that a prolonged period of low interest rates under benign economic conditions tends to produce excessive risk taking in financial markets. The mechanism by which monetary policy affects investors’ risk positions has been called the “risk-taking channel” of monetary policy. We discuss this channel and compare it with the more traditional broad credit channel. Furthermore, we provide new evidence on the existence of this channel, using Austrian firm and bank data taken from the OeNB’s credit register. In particular, we show that the expected default rates within Austrian banks’ business-loan portfolios increased during the period of low refinancing rates from 2003 to 2005. This result is new and important in at least two respects: first, we construct a measure of Austrian banks’ portfolio risk on the basis of a matched lender and borrower dataset. Second, we specifically identify the effect of a monetary policy regime which is characterized by interest rates that are held at a low level for too long, as opposed to the more traditional effect of monetary policy “shocks,” usually identified through quarter-on-quarter changes in short-term interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gaggl & Maria Teresa Valderrama, 2010. "Does a Low Interest Rate Environment Affect Risk Taking in Austria?," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4, pages 32-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbmp:y:2010:i:4:b:2
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    File URL: https://www.oenb.at/dam/jcr:02946738-4187-4178-a41a-474a72947f50/mop_2010_q4_analyses02_tcm16-221655.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, 2010. "Monetary Policy and Bank Risk-Taking," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/09, International Monetary Fund.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vasso Ioannidou & Steven Ongena & José-Luis Peydró, 2015. "Monetary Policy, Risk-Taking, and Pricing: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 19(1), pages 95-144.
    2. Gabriel Jiménez & Steven Ongena & José‐Luis Peydró & Jesús Saurina, 2014. "Hazardous Times for Monetary Policy: What Do Twenty‐Three Million Bank Loans Say About the Effects of Monetary Policy on Credit Risk‐Taking?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(2), pages 463-505, March.
    3. Ongena, Steven & Tümer-Alkan, Günseli & von Westernhagen, Natalja, 2015. "Do exposures to sagging real estate, subprime or conduits abroad lead to contraction and flight to quality in bank lending at home?," Discussion Papers 09/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    4. Yener Altunbas & Leonardo Gambacorta & David Marques-Ibanez, 2014. "Does Monetary Policy Affect Bank Risk?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(1), pages 95-136, March.
    5. repec:spr:schmbr:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s41464-017-0038-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ekin Ayse Ozsuca & Elif Akbostanci, 2012. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Taking Channel of Monetary Policy in Turkey," ERC Working Papers 1208, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Dec 2012.
    7. Nguyen, Vu Hong Thai & Boateng, Agyenim, 2015. "An analysis of involuntary excess reserves, monetary policy and risk-taking behaviour of Chinese Banks," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 63-72.
    8. Ramayandi, Arief & Rawat, Umang & Tang, Hsiao Chink, 2014. "Can Low Interest Rates be Harmful: An Assessment of the Bank Risk-Taking Channel in Asia," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 123, Asian Development Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    monetary policy; bank behavior; risk taking;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E59 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Other
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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