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- Networks of micro and small enterprise banks : a contribution to financial sector development :[Version January 2004] (2004)
- The paper is a follow-up to an article published in Technique Financière et Developpement in 2000 (see the appendix to the hardcopy version), which portrayed the first results of a new strategy in the field of development finance implemented in South-East Europe. This strategy consists in creating microfinance banks as greenfield investments, that is, of building up new banks which specialise in providing credit and other financial services to micro and small enterprises, instead of transforming existing credit-granting NGOs into formal banks, which had been the dominant approach in the 1990s. The present paper shows that this strategy has, in the course of the last five years, led to the emergence of a network of microfinance banks operating in several parts of the world. After discussing why financial sector development is a crucial determinant of general social and economic development and contrasting the new strategy to former approaches in the area of development finance, the paper provides information about the shareholder composition and the investment portfolio of what is at present the world's largest and most successful network of microfinance banks. This network is a good example of a well-functioning "private public partnership". The paper then provides performance figures and discusses why the creation of such a network seems to be a particularly promising approach to the creation of financially self-sustaining financial institutions with a clear developmental objective.

- Can tests based on option hedging errors correctly identify volatility risk premia? : [Version 15 Januar 2004] (2004)
- This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the properties of popular tests for the existence and the sign of the market price of volatility risk. These tests are frequently based on the fact that for some option pricing models under continuous hedging the sign of the market price of volatility risk coincides with the sign of the mean hedging error. Empirically, however, these tests suffer from both discretization error and model mis-specification. We show that these two problems may cause the test to be either no longer able to detect additional priced risk factors or to be unable to identify the sign of their market prices of risk correctly. Our analysis is performed for the model of Black and Scholes (1973) (BS) and the stochastic volatility (SV) model of Heston (1993). In the model of BS, the expected hedging error for a discrete hedge is positive, leading to the wrong conclusion that the stock is not the only priced risk factor. In the model of Heston, the expected hedging error for a hedge in discrete time is positive when the true market price of volatility risk is zero, leading to the wrong conclusion that the market price of volatility risk is positive. If we further introduce model mis-specification by using the BS delta in a Heston world we find that the mean hedging error also depends on the slope of the implied volatility curve and on the equity risk premium. Under parameter scenarios which are similar to those reported in many empirical studies the test statistics tend to be biased upwards. The test often does not detect negative volatility risk premia, or it signals a positive risk premium when it is truly zero. The properties of this test furthermore strongly depend on the location of current volatility relative to its long-term mean, and on the degree of moneyness of the option. As a consequence tests reported in the literature may suffer from the problem that in a time-series framework the researcher cannot draw the hedging errors from the same distribution repeatedly. This implies that there is no guarantee that the empirically computed t-statistic has the assumed distribution. JEL: G12, G13 Keywords: Stochastic Volatility, Volatility Risk Premium, Discretization Error, Model Error

- The valuation of employee stock options : how good is the standard? (2003)
- This study contributes to the valuation of employee stock options (ESO) in two ways: First, a new pricing model is presented, admitting a major part of calculations to be solved in closed form. Designed with a focus on good replication of empirics, the model fits with publicly observable exercise characteristics better than earlier models. In particular, it is able to account for the correlation of the time of exercise and the stock price at exercise, suspected of being crucial for the option value. The impact of correlation is weak, however, whereas cancellations play a central role. The second contribution of this paper is an examination to what extent the ESO pricing method of SFAS 123 is subject to discretion of the accountant. Given my model were true, the SFAS price would be a good proxy. Yet, outside shareholders usually cannot observe one of the SFAS input parameters. On behalf of an example I show that there is wide latitude left to the accountant.

- The valuation of employee stock options : how good is the standard? (2003)
- This study contributes to the valuation of employee stock options (ESO) in two ways: First, a new pricing model is presented, admitting a major part of calculations to be solved in closed form. Designed with a focus on good replication of empirics, the model fits with publicly observable exercise characteristics better than earlier models. In particular, it is able to account for the correlation of the time of exercise and the stock price at exercise, suspected of being crucial for the option value. The impact of correlation is weak, however, whereas cancellations play a central role. The second contribution of this paper is an examination to what extent the ESO pricing method of SFAS 123 is subject to discretion of the accountant. Given my model were true, the SFAS price would be a good proxy. Yet, outside shareholders usually cannot observe one of the SFAS input parameters. On behalf of an example I show that there is wide latitude left to the accountant.

- Optimal lender of last resort policy in different financial systems (2004)
- In a framework closely related to Diamond and Rajan (2001) we characterize different financial systems and analyze the welfare implications of different LOLR-policies in these financial systems. We show that in a bank-dominated financial system it is less likely that a LOLR-policy that follows the Bagehot rules is preferable. In financial systems with rather illiquid assets a discretionary individual liquidity assistance might be welfare improving, while in market-based financial systems, with rather liquid assets in the banks' balance sheets, emergency liquidity assistance provided freely to the market at a penalty rate is likely to be efficient. Thus, a "one size fits all"-approach that does not take the differences of financial systems into account is misguiding. JEL - Klassifikation: D52 , E44 , G21 , E52 , E58

- Is jump risk priced? - What we can (and cannot) learn from option hedging errors (2004)
- When options are traded, one can use their prices and price changes to draw inference about the set of risk factors and their risk premia. We analyze tests for the existence and the sign of the market prices of jump risk that are based on option hedging errors. We derive a closed-form solution for the option hedging error and its expectation in a stochastic jump model under continuous trading and correct model specification. Jump risk is structurally different from, e.g., stochastic volatility: there is one market price of risk for each jump size (and not just \emph{the} market price of jump risk). Thus, the expected hedging error cannot identify the exact structure of the compensation for jump risk. Furthermore, we derive closed form solutions for the expected option hedging error under discrete trading and model mis-specification. Compared to the ideal case, the sign of the expected hedging error can change, so that empirical tests based on simplifying assumptions about trading frequency and the model may lead to incorrect conclusions.

- When are static superhedging strategies optimal? (2004)
- This paper deals with the superhedging of derivatives and with the corresponding price bounds. A static superhedge results in trivial and fully nonparametric price bounds, which can be tightened if there exists a cheaper superhedge in the class of dynamic trading strategies. We focus on European path-independent claims and show under which conditions such an improvement is possible. For a stochastic volatility model with unbounded volatility, we show that a static superhedge is always optimal, and that, additionally, there may be infinitely many dynamic superhedges with the same initial capital. The trivial price bounds are thus the tightest ones. In a model with stochastic jumps or non-negative stochastic interest rates either a static or a dynamic superhedge is optimal. Finally, in a model with unbounded short rates, only a static superhedge is possible.

- Multiple but asymmetric bank financing : the case of relationship lending (2004)
- Empirical evidence suggests that even those firms presumably most in need of monitoringintensive financing (young, small, and innovative firms) have a multitude of bank lenders, where one may be special in the sense of relationship lending. However, theory does not tell us a lot about the economic rationale for relationship lending in the context of multiple bank financing. To fill this gap, we analyze the optimal debt structure in a model that allows for multiple but asymmetric bank financing. The optimal debt structure balances the risk of lender coordination failure from multiple lending and the bargaining power of a pivotal relationship bank. We show that firms with low expected cash-flows or low interim liquidation values of assets prefer asymmetric financing, while firms with high expected cash-flow or high interim liquidation values of assets tend to finance without a relationship bank. JEL - Klassifikation: G21 , G78 , G33

- Preemptive distress resolution through bank mergers (2004)
- This paper suggests a motive for bank mergers that goes beyond alleged and typically unverifiable scale economies: preemtive resolution of banks´ financial distress. Such "distress mergers" can be a significant motivation for mergers because they can foster reorganizations, realize diversification gains, and avoid public attention. However, since none of these potential benefits comes without a cost, the overall assessment of distress mergers is unclear. We conduct an empirical analysis to provide evidence on consequences of distress mergers. The analysis is based on comprehensive data from Germany´s savings and cooperatives banks sectors over the period 1993 to 2001. During this period both sectors faced significant structural problems and superordinate institutions (associations) presumably have engaged in coordinated actions to manage distress mergers. The data comprise 3640 banks and 1484 mergers. Our results suggest that bank mergers as a means of preemtive distress resolution have moderate costs in terms of the economic impact on performance. We do find strong evidence consistent with diversification gains. Thus, distress mergers seem to have benefits without affecting systematic stability adversely.

- Can tests based on option hedging errors correctly identify volatility risk premia? (2004)
- Tests for the existence and the sign of the volatility risk premium are often based on expected option hedging errors. When the hedge is performed under the ideal conditions of continuous trading and correct model specification, the sign of the premium is the same as the sign of the mean hedging error for a large class of stochastic volatility option pricing models. We show, however, that the problems of discrete trading and model mis-specification, which are necessarily present in any empirical study, may cause the standard test to yield unreliable results.