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Moral Hazard and Bail-Out in Fiscal Federations: Evidence for the German Länder

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  • Kirsten H. Heppke-Falk
  • Guntram B. Wolff

Abstract

We identify investor moral hazard in the German fiscal federation. Our identification strategy is based on a variable, which was used by the German Federal Constitutional Court as an indicator to determine eligibility of two German states (Länder) to a bail-out, the interest payments-to-revenue ratio. While risk premia measured in the German sub-national bond market react significantly to the relative debt level of a state (Land), we also find that a larger interest payments-to-revenue ratio counter-intuitively lowers risk premia significantly. Furthermore, with increasing values the risk premia decrease more strongly. This is evidence of investor moral hazard, because a larger indicator value increases the likelihood of receiving a bail-out payment. Our findings are robust to a variety of sample changes. In addition, we provide a case study of the recent Federal Constitutional Court ruling on the Land Berlin, which had filed for additional federal funds. The negative response of the court did not lead to a change in financial markets' bail-out expectations. In sum, our results indicate significant investor moral hazard in the sub-national German bond market. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 425-446

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:61:y:2008:i:3:p:425-446

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  1. Lee, Jong-Wha & Shin, Kwanho, 2008. "IMF bailouts and moral hazard," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 816-830, September.
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  6. Kerstin Bernoth & Guntram B. Wolff, 2008. "Fool The Markets? Creative Accounting, Fiscal Transparency And Sovereign Risk Premia," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(4), pages 465-487, 09.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Schuknecht, Ludger & von Hagen, Jürgen & Wolswijk, Guido, 2007. "Government Risk Premiums in the Bond Market: EMU and Canada," CEPR Discussion Papers 6579, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Diego Martínez López & Salvador Barrios, 2013. "Fiscal equalisation schemes and sub-central government borrowing," Working Papers. Serie EC 2013-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  3. Wolff, Guntram B, 2007. "Schuldenanstieg und Haftungsausschluss im deutschen Föderalstaat: Zur Rolle des Moral Hazard
    [Increasing debt and potential bail-out clauses in the German federation: on the role of moral hazard]
    ," MPRA Paper 11248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Peter Claeys & Raúl Ramos & Jordi Suriñach, 2007. "Fiscal Sustainability Across Government Tiers," Working Papers XREAP2007-14, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised 2007.
  5. Dhritidyuti Bose & Rajeev Jain & Lakshmanan L, 2011. "Determinants of Primary Yield Spreads of States in India: An Econometric Analysis," Working Papers id:4370, eSocialSciences.
  6. Peter Claeys & Raúl Ramos & Jordi Suriñach, 2007. "Fiscal sustainability across government tiers: an assessment of soft budget constraints," IREA Working Papers 200714, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jul 2007.
  7. Sven Jari Stehn & Annalisa Fedelino, 2009. "Fiscal Incentive Effects of the German Equalization System," IMF Working Papers 09/124, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Mark Hallerberg & Guntram Wolff, 2008. "Fiscal institutions, fiscal policy and sovereign risk premia in EMU," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 379-396, September.
  9. Van Hecke, Annelore, 2013. "Vertical debt spillovers in EMU countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 468-492.

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