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Financial Spillover and Contagion Risks in the Euro Area in 2007-2019

This paper analyses empirically the main direct and indirect transmission channels of financial spillovers and contagion risks in the euro area, focusing on the sovereign-to-sovereign, sovereign-to-bank, and bank to-bank channels. We employ correlation analysis, analysis of bank balance sheets, reduced-form models inferring the interconnectedness among agents from market data, and simulated structural models. The value added by this paper to the literature consists both in analysing the recent episodes of financial distress (until 2019), which happened after reforms of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) architecture were introduced in response to the euro area debt crisis, and in our reliance on complementary analytical tools (“tool kit”). Overall, the paper suggests that: (i) sovereign-to-sovereign spillover risks have weakened, arguably also due to a more limited role of redenomination risk; (ii) financial spillovers from sovereigns to banks (and vice versa) have become smaller in recent years; and (iii) the bank-to-bank transmission channel remains the most relevant in terms of financial spillovers and potential contagion. Finally, when analyzing the impact of financial spillovers on the real economy, we find that higher financial risks can imply sizeable losses in terms of real GDP growth.