This site is for archive purposes. Please visit for latest updates
Go to Top

Domestic banks as lightning rods? Home bias during the eurozone crisis

Orkun Saka,(2018),  “Domestic banks as lightning rods? Home bias during the eurozone crisis”, CEPS, 28 March

European banks have been criticized for holding excessive domestic government debt during economic downturns, which has been interpreted as indicative evidence of moral suasion. By using a novel bank-level dataset covering the entire timeline of the eurozone crisis, I first re-confirm that the crisis led to the reallocation of sovereign debt from foreign to domestic banks. This reallocation was only visible for banks as opposed to other domestic private agents and it cannot be explained by the banks’ risk-shifting tendency. In contrast to the recent literature focusing only on sovereign debt, I show that banks’ private sector exposures were (at least) equally affected by a rise in home bias. Finally, I propose a new debt reallocation channel based on informational frictions and show that crisis-country debt was not only reallocated to domestic banks, but also to the informationally closer foreign banks. My results imply that informational asymmetries among banks played a key role in the recent fragmentation across eurozone debt markets.

Relevant Posts