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Uncertainty, Risk-taking, and the Business Cycle in Germany


  • Adina Popescu
  • Frank Rafael Smets


This article investigates the business cycle behaviour of measures of perceived uncertainty and financial risk premia in Germany over the past two decades. Both the perceived uncertainty and the financial risk premia are highly countercyclical and may therefore amplify and propagate the transmission of business cycle shocks. We find that exogenous uncertainty shocks have a significantly small but temporary effect on output and financial risk premia and their overall contribution to output developments is limited. Positive financial risk aversion shocks, on the contrary, have a protractred but large negative impact on the economy and are more important in driving business cycles than uncertainty shocks. (JEL codes: E32, E44, G01, G20) Copyright The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Adina Popescu & Frank Rafael Smets, 2010. "Uncertainty, Risk-taking, and the Business Cycle in Germany," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 56(4), pages 596-626, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:56:y:2010:i:4:p:596-626

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    Cited by:

    1. Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi & M. Hashem Pesaran & Alessandro Rebucci, 2014. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: A Global Perspective," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6605, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Caldara, Dario & Fuentes-Albero, Cristina & Gilchrist, Simon & Zakrajšek, Egon, 2016. "The macroeconomic impact of financial and uncertainty shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 185-207.
    3. Bekaert, Geert & Hoerova, Marie & Lo Duca, Marco, 2013. "Risk, uncertainty and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 771-788.
    4. Aye, Goodness C. & Balcilar, Mehmet & El Montasser, Ghassen & Gupta, Rangan & Manjez, Nangamso C., 2016. "Can debt ceiling and government shutdown predict us real stock returns? A bootstrap rolling window approach. - Gli effetti sui rendimenti azionari reali negli USA del tetto del debito pubblico e del b," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 69(1), pages 11-32.
    5. Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi & M. Hashem Pesaran & Alessandro Rebucci, 2014. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: A Global Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 4736, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Redl, Chris, 2015. "Noisy news and exchange rates: A SVAR approach," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 150-171.
    7. Nkwoma John Inekwe, 2016. "Financial uncertainty, risk aversion and monetary policy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 939-961, November.
    8. Grimme, Christian, 2017. "Uncertainty and the Cost of Bank vs. Bond Finance," MPRA Paper 79852, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Inekwe John Nkwoma, 2014. "Business Cycle Variability and Growth Linkage," Monash Economics Working Papers 38-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. Piergiorgio Alessandri & Haroon Mumtaz, 2014. "Financial Regimes and Uncertainty Shocks," Working Papers 729, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    11. Popp, Aaron & Zhang, Fang, 2016. "The macroeconomic effects of uncertainty shocks: The role of the financial channel," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 319-349.
    12. Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajsek & Simon Gilchrist, 2010. "Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 1285, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Bussiere Matthieu & Chudik Alexander & Mehl Arnaud, 2013. "How have global shocks impacted the real effective exchange rates of individual euro area countries since the euro’s creation?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-48, April.
    14. Jin, Yi & Zeng, Zhixiong, 2016. "Risk, risk aversion, and a finance-augmented neoclassical economic model of production," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 82-91.
    15. Francesco Furlanetto & Francesco Ravazzolo & Samad Sarferaz, 2014. "Identification of financial factors in economic fluctuations," Working Paper 2014/09, Norges Bank.
    16. H. Dewachter & G. de Walque & M. Emiris & P. Ilbas & J. Mitchell & R. Wouters, 2012. "Endogenous financial risk : The seventh international conference of the NBB," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 135-146, December.
    17. R?diger Bachmann & Steffen Elstner & Eric R. Sims, 2013. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 217-249, April.
    18. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom, 2013. "Does Uncertainty Reduce Growth? Using Disasters as Natural Experiments," CEP Discussion Papers dp1243, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    19. Born, Benjamin & Pfeifer, Johannes, 2014. "Policy risk and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 68-85.
    20. Entorf, Horst & Knoll, Christian & Sattarova, Liliya, 2011. "Measuring confidence and uncertainty during the financial crisis: Evidence from the CFS survey," CFS Working Paper Series 2010/18, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    21. Anh Nguyen, 2015. "Financial frictions and the volatility of monetary policy in a DSGE model," Working Papers 75949436, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    22. López-Pérez, Víctor, 2016. "Does uncertainty affect non-response to the European Central Bank's survey of professional forecasters?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-47.
    23. Simon Gilchrist & Egon Zakrajsek & Cristina Fuentes Albero & Dario Caldara, 2013. "On the Identification of Financial and Uncertainty Shocks," 2013 Meeting Papers 965, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    24. repec:eee:ecolet:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:177-181 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General


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