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Counting the investor vote: political business cycle effects on sovereign bond spreads in developing countries

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  • Paul M Vaaler

    (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA)

  • Burkhard N Schrage

    (Singapore Management University, Singapore)

  • Steven A Block

    (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA)

Abstract

International business research has paid scant attention to whether and how electoral politics and economic policies affect foreign investment risk assessment, particularly in developing countries, where the last decade has seen both considerable foreign investment and domestic progress toward democratization and electoral competitiveness. We respond with development and testing of a framework using partisan and opportunistic political business cycle (PBC) theory to predict the investment risk perceived by investors holding sovereign bonds during 19 presidential elections in 12 developing countries from 1994 to 2000. Consistent with our framework, we find that bondholders perceive higher (lower) investment risk in the form of higher (lower) credit spreads on their sovereign bonds as right-wing (left-wing) political incumbents appear more likely to be replaced by left-wing (right-wing) challengers. For international business research, our findings illustrate the promise of PBC theory in explaining the election-period behavior of sovereign bondholders and, perhaps, other investors who also ‘vote’ in developing country elections and can substantially influence the price and availability of capital there. For developing country investors and states, our findings highlight the financial effects of democracy in action, and underscore the importance of state communication with investors during election periods. Journal of International Business Studies (2005) 36, 62–88. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400111

Suggested Citation

  • Paul M Vaaler & Burkhard N Schrage & Steven A Block, 2005. "Counting the investor vote: political business cycle effects on sovereign bond spreads in developing countries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 36(1), pages 62-88, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:36:y:2005:i:1:p:62-88
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R Harvey & Christian T Lundblad & Stephan Siegel, 2014. "Political risk spreads," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 45(4), pages 471-493, May.
    2. Narjess Boubakri & Jean-Claude Cosset & Houcem Smaoui, 2011. "Political Institutions and Sovereign Credit Spreads," Working Papers 647, Economic Research Forum, revised 12 Jan 2011.
    3. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:3:p:451-474 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:37-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Roberto Chang, 2010. "Elections, Capital Flows, and Politico-economic Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1759-1777, September.
    6. Scholl, Almuth, 2017. "The dynamics of sovereign default risk and political turnover," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 37-53.
    7. Moser, Christoph, 2007. "The Impact of Political Risk on Sovereign Bond Spreads - Evidence from Latin America," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 24, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    8. Vaaler, Paul M., 2006. "Electoral Politics and Foreign Project Investment in Developing Countries," Working Papers 06-0125, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    9. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian T. & Siegel, Stephan, 2016. "Political risk and international valuation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-23.
    10. repec:pal:jintbs:v:48:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1057_s41267-016-0058-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jensen, Nathan M & Rahman, Aminur, 2011. "The silence of corruption : identifying underreporting of business corruption through randomized response techniques," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5696, The World Bank.
    12. Qi, Yaxuan & Roth, Lukas & Wald, John K., 2010. "Political rights and the cost of debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 202-226, February.
    13. Stephen Weymouth & J. Lawrence Broz, 2013. "Government Partisanship and Property Rights: Cross-Country Firm-Level Evidence," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 229-256, July.
    14. Eichler, Stefan, 2015. "How Do Political Factors Shape the Bank Risk-Sovereign Risk Nexus in Emerging Markets?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112877, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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