Sovereign Default Risk and Decentralization: Evidence for Emerging Markets
European Journal of Political Economy,
We study the impact of decentralization on sovereign default risk. Theory predicts that decentralization deteriorates fiscal discipline since subnational governments undertax/overspend, anticipating that, in the case of overindebtedness, the federal government will bail them out. We analyze whether investors account for this common pool problem by attaching higher sovereign yield spreads to more decentralized countries. Using panel data on up to 30 emerging markets in the period 1993–2008 we confirm this hypothesis. Higher levels of fiscal and political decentralization increase sovereign default risk. Moreover, higher levels of intergovernmental transfers and a larger number of veto players aggravate the common pool problem.
Bank Bailouts and Moral Hazard: Evidence from Germany
Review of Financial Studies,
We use a structural econometric model to provide empirical evidence that safety nets in the banking industry lead to additional risk taking. To identify the moral hazard effect of bailout expectations on bank risk, we exploit the fact that regional political factors explain bank bailouts but not bank risk. The sample includes all observed capital preservation measures and distressed exits in the German banking industry during 1995–2006. A change of bailout expectations by two standard deviations increases the probability of official distress from 6.6% to 9.4%, which is economically significant.