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Why does sovereign risk differ for domestic and external debt? Evidence from Scandinavia, 1938-1948


  • Waldenström, Daniel


This study shows empirically that the political costs of sovereign default can differ considerably for domestic and external debt. The analysis uses new evidence from Danish and Swedish bond markets around World War II, a time when markets went from being fully integrated to fully segmented overnight. By linking the exogenous wartime shocks to changes in default costs on domestic and external debt, it is found that these costs explain a significant part of the variation in the sovereign yield spread across markets. The results suggest that governments can choose strategically on which debt, the domestic or the external, to default on, and that this decision hinges on the relative size of the political default costs.

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  • Waldenström, Daniel, 2010. "Why does sovereign risk differ for domestic and external debt? Evidence from Scandinavia, 1938-1948," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 387-402, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:29:y:2010:i:3:p:387-402

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Oosterlinck, Kim, 2003. "The bond market and the legitimacy of Vichy France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 326-344, July.
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    18. Jens Hilscher & Yves Nosbusch, 2010. "Determinants of Sovereign Risk: Macroeconomic Fundamentals and the Pricing of Sovereign Debt," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(2), pages 235-262.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernal, Oscar & Oosterlinck, Kim & Szafarz, Ariane, 2010. "Observing bailout expectations during a total eclipse of the sun," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1193-1205, November.
    2. Wang, Alan T. & Yang, Sheng-Yung & Yang, Nien-Tzu, 2013. "Information transmission between sovereign debt CDS and other financial factors – The case of Latin America," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 586-601.
    3. Michael Tomz & Mark L.J. Wright, 2013. "Empirical Research on Sovereign Debt and Default," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 247-272, May.
    4. Jean-Pascal Bassino & Thomas Lagoarde-Segot, 2013. "Trading patterns at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, 1931-1940," CEH Discussion Papers 012, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    5. Rohan Pitchford & Mark L. J. Wright, 2013. "On the contribution of game theory to the study of sovereign debt and default," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 649-667, WINTER.


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