Household Debt and Delinquency over the Life Cycle
This paper uses loan-level data from Thailand’s National Credit Bureau to study household debt over the life cycle of borrowers. The wide coverage and the granularity of the data allow us to decompose the aggregate, commonly-used debt per capita and delinquency rate into components that unveil the extensive and intensive margins of household indebtedness. This decomposition allows us to analyze debt holding, debt portfolio, and delinquency for each age and cohort. We find the striking inverted-U life cycle patterns of indebtedness as predicted by economic theories. However, peaks are reached at different ages for different loan products and different lenders. We also find that debt has expanded over time for all age groups. In particular, the younger cohorts seem to originate debt earlier in their lives than the older generations. Meanwhile, older borrowers remain indebted well past their retirement age. Finally, we find a downward pattern of delinquency over the life cycle. Our findings have important policy implications on financial access and distress of households as well as economic development and financial stability of the economy.
Value Investing with Quality in the US Public Insurance Companies
This study explores the value investing strategy coupling with quality metrics for the U.S. insurance industry. It uses apparent measures of insurance company efficiency such as loss ratio, expense ratio, combined ratio, and investment yield to construct portfolios. There are evidences of value premium as measured by PB and PE ratios. It is not clear that the quality metrics can give superior returns for investors. The anomalies can partially be explained by Fama-French five-factor model (FF5)’s market factor, value factor and profitability factor. The study also proposes using a new five-factor model that changes the profitability (quality) factor slightly from the Fama-French five-factor model. The adjusted FF5 “local” using insurance local factors do not improve the ability to explain the portfolios’ returns.
Educational Assortative Mating and Income Inequality in Thailand
This study measures educational assortative mating in Thailand and its relationship with income inequality using national labor force survey data from 1985-2016. Since the 1990s, Thailand shows a trend of decreasing educational homogamy, but there is evidence of continuing educational hypergamy in Thai households. Using the semiparametric decomposition method of DiNardo, Fortin and Lemieux (1996), the study finds that educational assortative mating has affected changes in household income inequality over time. Furthermore, there exists a negative relationship between income inequality and marital sorting with same education, which contradicts evidence found in developed countries.
On Worker and Firm Heterogeneity in Wages and Employment Mobility: Evidence from Danish Register Data
In this paper, we develop a model of wage dynamics and employment mobility with unrestricted interactions between worker and firm unobserved characteristics in both wages and employment mobility. We adopt the finite mixture approach of Bonhomme et al. (2017). The model is estimated on Danish matched employer-employee data for the period 1985-2013. The estimation includes gender, education, age, tenure and time controls. We find significant sorting on wages and it is stable over the period. Sorting is established early in careers, increasing during the first decade after which it declines steadily. Job-to-job mobility displays a “mean-reverting” pattern that maintains correlations between worker and firm types to a stationary level. Counterfactuals demonstrate that sorting is primarily driven by two channels: First, a “preference” channel whereby higher wage workers are more likely to accept jobs in higher wage firms. Second, a job finding channel where the job destination distribution out of non-employment is stochastically increasing in the wage type of the worker.
The Impact of LTV policy on Bank Lending: Evidence from Disaggregate Housing Loan Data
How did the Loan-to-Value (LTV) measures aimed at increasing resilience of the banking system affect banks’ lending? This paper utilizes bank-level and contract-level data of housing credit in Thailand spanning from 2004 to 2017, and applies the panel data and probit approaches in evaluating the impact of LTV measures introduced in 2009, 2011 and 2013 on the housing loans. We find that the LTV measures had an impact on banks’ risk-taking behavior in ways consistent with the policy’s objectives. The effects manifest in a reshaping of LTV distribution of the targeted loan sector rather than a credit growth slowdown at the bank level. In addition, the size of adjustment varies across different types of banks, with stronger response from large and small banks compared with medium banks. Overall, our results suggest that certain macroprudential policies can achieve target-specific outcome, but with differential impact across banks. Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the channels through which LTV measures impact bank lending and factors underlying diverging response among banks.
Bank Profitability and Risk-Taking in a Low Interest Rate Environment: The Case of Thailand
This paper studies the effects of monetary policy on the bank profitability and risk-taking. Using banklevel and account-level data sets of Thai banks during the period 2004-2017, we find that lower interest rates tend to reduce profitability. The effect works mainly through the impact of the interest rates on bank net interest income. At the bank level we find limited evidence of increased riskiness in the overall balance sheet of Thai banks when interest rates are low. However, the account-level results from a duration analysis suggest that low rates may lead to higher loan default risk and lower loan quality for long-term loans, particularly those in the portfolio of small and medium banks. Small firms seem to be more affected by bank risk-taking behavior. We also find that when the interest rate remains low for a protracted period, this tends to further increase bank risk-taking in new loans, though it helps lower the default risk for existing loans. The findings overall point to the potential unintended consequences of a low-for-long monetary policy accommodation with implications on financial stability.
Labour Supply of Married Women in Thailand: 1985-2016
This study investigates the labour supply behaviour of married Thai women with reference to their own and their spouse’s wages. By utilising data of the national Labour Force Survey in Thailand from 1985 to 2016, the wage imputation technique and the instrumental variables approach are applied to correct sample selection and to alleviate endogeneity, common issues that cause bias in estimating female labour supply. By controlling for spousal education and number of children, the main findings indicate an inverse relationship between married women’s labour supply and wages, contrary to the results found in most developed countries. The estimated own wage elasticity ranges from -1.70 to -2.40 and cross elasticity ranges from -0.16 to -0.17, indicating that the impact of own wage on labour supplied is much larger than spouse’s wage. The results from disaggregation classified according to different socioeconomic backgrounds also show the negative elasticities between own and spouses’ wage across all subgroups, except for those with university degrees and higher income.
Evaluating Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity Program
This study evaluates the performance of Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity (FBE) program along three dimensions: targeting effectiveness, benefit adequacy, and subsidy burden distribution. While the FBE benefits reaches the targeted population (low-income families) quite well, the benefit leakage to the non-targeted population could result in a significant increase in the overall subsidy cost. Furthermore, the current 50-unit free quota given by the FBE program is insufficient for the basic need of many low-income families. Lastly, the FBE subsidy burden falls exclusively on the industrial/commercial customers, but the cost increase has been rather small. Therefore, Thailand’s FBE program can be markedly improved by introducing a more effective targeting approach to reduce leakage, which will allow the government to raise the free electricity quota while maintaining the same overall subsidy cost.
Economic impacts of Political Uncertainty in Thailand
This paper aims to analyze political uncertainty in Thailand by looking at various dimensions of political uncertainty and quantifying the economic impacts. Based on keyword search in Thai-language newspapers, the paper proposes five measures related to different aspects of political uncertainty. These are: (1) political protest (2) official measures in dealing with political violence (3) coup d’état (4) parliament dissolution or election and (5) political structural reform, including the aggregate index of political uncertainty. We find that the overall political uncertainty in Thailand has been in the rising trend during the past 20 years. In particular, during the past 10 years, the main source of Thai political uncertainty comes from uncertainty related to political structural reform. Based on various econometric specifications, rising political uncertainty is found to have significant negative impacts on the Thai economy both in the short run – particularly, private investment – and economic growth in the long run. Nevertheless, we find that the degree of the economic impact and statistical significance on different components of macroeconomy is quite varied, reflecting complicated interaction between political factors and economic outcome.
Price Setting Behavior in Thailand: Evidence from Micro CPI Data
The nature of price setting has important implications for a wide range of issues in macroeconomics. This paper examines the patterns of price adjustment at the micro level in order to further our understanding of price rigidity at the aggregate level, as well as the underlying factors driving inflation dynamics more generally. We highlight 5 stylized facts: 1) Prices change infrequently with a mean duration of approximately 4 to 7 months between price changes; 2) Price decreases are common accounting for roughly 45 percent of all price changes; 3) Price changes, both increases and decreases, are sizable compared to the prevailing inflation rate; 4) The size of price changes covaries strongly with the rate of inflation, whereas the fraction of items changing prices does not; and 5) There is significant dispersion in price levels as well as in the synchronicity of price changes across geographical regions.
Extrapolative Beliefs and Exchange Rate Markets
Following Engel (2016) and Valchev (2015), this paper documents the relationship between interest rate differentials and differential returns on domestic and foreign bonds over time horizon using a broader data sample. I find that countries with higher contemporaneous interest rates earn excess positive bond returns initially in accordance with previous UIP literature. However, the sign of excess returns reverses in the medium run. Higher contemporaneous interest rates predict negative excess returns. Eventually, interest differentials have no excess return predictability. I argue that behavioral bubbles are natural and successful candidates in generating exchange rate dynamics observed in the data. In particular, I propose that investors rely not only on fundamentals (interest differentials) but also extrapolate past exchange rates when forming expectations. The proposed extrapolative model is consistent with both excess return patterns and survey evidence in the data.
A Microscopic View of Thailand’s Foreign Exchange Market: Players, Activities, and Networks
This paper explores Thailand’s foreign exchange (FX) market landscape by utilizing the Bank of Thailand’s supervisory Financial Market Statistics (FMST) data which covers the universe of onshore foreign exchange transactions in Thailand. Historical developments regarding different groups of market players and the use of foreign exchange instruments, as well as the overall market structure are documented. Through the lens of network analysis, we also provide topological descriptions of Thailand’s FX market landscape, with applications on interbank network stability. We observe low degree of concentration among the dealer banks in terms of market turnover share. In contrast, from a customer’s perspective, market share is highly concentrated within a handful of large FX customers. The network connectivity among different groups of players suggests that the Thai FX market is one that is rather segmented and clustered among similar players. A substantial degree of specialization is evident across banks in terms of FX instruments and market segments, both in the interbank network and in the retail market. Probing into the interbank network stability, we find a small subset of banks to be truly central to the FX market network, though the system appears to hold up well in stress times supported by fluidity among interbank players.
Dynamic Connectedness in Emerging Asian Equity Markets
This paper examines dynamic connectedness among emerging Asian equity markets as well as explores their linkages vis-à-vis other major global markets. We find that international equity markets are tightly integrated. Measuring connectedness based on a generalized Vector Autoregressive model, more than half of all total forecast error variance in equity return and volatility shocks come from other markets as opposed to country own shocks. When examining the degree of connectedness over time, we find that international stock markets have become increasingly connected, with a gentle upward trend since the Asian financial crisis but with a rapid burst during the global financial crisis. Despite the growing importance of Asian emerging markets in the world economy, we find that their influence on advanced economies is still relatively small, with no significant increase over time. During the past decade, advanced markets have been consistently net transmitters of shocks while emerging Asian markets act as net receivers. Based on the nature of equity shock spillovers, we also find that advanced countries are still tightly connected amongst themselves while intraregional connectedness within Asia remains strong. By investigating whether uncertainty plays an important role in explaining the degree of stock market connectedness, we find that economic policy uncertainty from the US is an important source of financial shock spillover for the majority of international equity markets. In contrast, US financial market uncertainty as proxied by the VIX index drives equity market spillovers only among advanced economies.
FX Hedging Behavior among Thai Exporters: A Micro-level Evidence
Over the past 20 years, Thailand’s FX hedging market has evolved to accommodate demands from rising trade and investment activities. Notwithstanding the growth in the use of FX derivative instruments for investment risk management by outward investment funds and non-residents, FX hedging demand from merchandise trade remains a significant part of the market. This paper utilizes a transactional database that disaggregates exporters according to their firm-level characteristics in order to explain their hedging behavior over periods of exchange rate fluctuation. FX hedging by exporters is found to be sensitive to the movement in exchange rate and past hedging experience. These sensitivities give rise to periods of panic or complacency. The effects also vary across exporters with different sizes.
Why So Low for So Long? A long-term View of Real Interest Rates
Prevailing explanations of the decline in real interest rates since the early 1980s are premised on the notion that real interest rates are driven by variations in desired saving and investment. But based on data stretching back to 1870 for 19 countries, our systematic analysis casts doubt on this view. The link between real interest rates and saving-investment determinants appears tenuous. While it is possible to find some relationships consistent with the theory in some periods, particularly over the last 30 years, they do not survive over the extended sample. This holds both at the national and global level. By contrast, we find evidence that persistent shifts in real interest rates coincide with changes in monetary regimes. Moreover, external influences on countries’ real interest rates appear to reflect idiosyncratic variations in interest rates of countries that dominate global monetary and financial conditions rather than common movements in global saving and investment. All this points to an underrated role of monetary policy in determining real interest rates over long horizons.