The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Can a negative shock to sovereign ratings invoke a vicious cycle of increasing government bond yields and further downgrades, ultimately pushing a country toward default? The narratives of public and political discussions, as well as of some widely cited papers, suggest this possibility. In this paper, we will investigate the possible existence of such a vicious cycle. We find no evidence of a bad long-run equilibrium and cannot confirm a feedback loop leading into default as a transitory state for all but the very worst ratings. We use a bivariate semiparametric dynamic panel model to reproduce the joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields. The individual equations resemble Pesaran-type cointegration models, which allow for valid interference regardless of whether the employed variables display unit-root behavior. To incorporate most of the empirical features previously documented (separately) in the literature, we allow for different long-run relationships in both equations, nonlinearities in the level effects of ratings, and asymmetric effects in changes of ratings and yields. Our finding of a single good equilibrium implies the slow convergence of ratings and yields toward this equilibrium. However, the persistence of ratings is sufficiently high that a rating shock can have substantial costs if it occurs at a highly speculative rating or lower. Rating shocks that drive the rating below this threshold can increase the interest rate sharply, and for a long time. Yet, simulation studies based on our estimations show that it is highly improbable that rating agencies can be made responsible for the most dramatic spikes in interest rates.
Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area and its Drivers
We isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel within the eurozone’s sovereign-bank-loop by exploiting the global, non-eurozone related variation in stock prices. We instrument banking sector stock returns in the eurozone with exposure-weighted stock market returns from non-eurozone countries and take further precautions to remove any eurozone crisis-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress, while economically relevant, is significantly smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on reverse causality and omitted variables in previous studies. Furthermore, we show that the spillover of bank distress is significantly stronger for countries with poorer macroeconomic performances, weaker financial sectors and financial regulation and during times of elevated political uncertainty.
The Effects of Local Elections on National Military Spending: A Cross-country Study
Defence and Peace Economics,
In this paper, we study the domestic political determinants of military spending. Our conceptual framework suggests that power distribution over local and central governments influences the government provision of national public goods, in our context, military expenditure. Drawing on a large cross-country panel, we demonstrate that having local elections will decrease a country’s military expenditure markedly, controlling for other political and economic variables. According to our preferred estimates, a country’s military expenditure is on average 20% lower if its state government officials are locally elected, which is consistent with our theoretical prediction.
How does Institutional Setting Affect the Impact of EU Structural Funds on Economic Cohesion? New Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe
Journal of Common Market Studies,
Structural Funds are the main instrument of the EU Cohesion Policy. Their effective use is subject to an ongoing debate in political and scientific circles. European fiscal assistance under this heading should promote economic and social cohesion in the member states of the European Union. Recently the domestic institutional capacity to absorb, to distribute and to invest Structural Funds effectively has become a crucial determinant of the cohesion process and has attracted attention of the scientific community. The aim of this study is to shed light on the effectiveness of Structural Funds in the countries of the first Central and Eastern European enlargement round in 2004. Using regional data for these countries we have a look on the impact of several institutional governance variables on the effectiveness of Structural Funds. In the interpretation of results reference is made to regional economics. Results of the empirical analysis indicate an influence of certain institutional variables on the effectiveness of Structural Funds in the new member states.