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The Invisible Hand of the Government: Moral Suasion during the European Sovereign Debt Crisis

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  • Steven Ongena
  • Alexander Popov
  • Neeltje Van Horen

Abstract

Using proprietary data on banks' monthly securities holdings, we show that during the European sovereign debt crisis, domestic banks in fiscally stressed countries were considerably more likely than foreign banks to increase their holdings of domestic sovereign bonds during months when the government needed to roll over a relatively large amount of maturing debt. This result cannot be explained by risk shifting, carry trading, or regulatory compliance. Domestic banks that received government support, are small, or with weaker balance sheets were particularly susceptible to "moral suasion," while governance of banks played less of a role.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Ongena & Alexander Popov & Neeltje Van Horen, 2019. "The Invisible Hand of the Government: Moral Suasion during the European Sovereign Debt Crisis," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 346-379, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:346-79
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20160377
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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