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Political risk spreads

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  • Geert Bekaert

    (1] Columbia University, New York, USA[2] National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, USA)

  • Campbell R Harvey

    (1] National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, USA[2] Duke University, Durham, USA)

  • Christian T Lundblad

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA)

  • Stephan Siegel

    (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)

Abstract

We introduce a new, market-based and forward-looking measure of political risk derived from the yield spread between a country’s US dollar debt and an equivalent US Treasury bond. We explain the variation in these sovereign spreads with four factors: global economic conditions, country-specific economic factors, liquidity of the country’s bond, and political risk. We then extract the part of the sovereign spread that is due to political risk, making use of political risk ratings. In addition, we provide new evidence that these political risk ratings are predictive, on average, of future risk realizations using data on political risk claims as well as a novel textual-based database of risk realizations. Our political risk spread measure does not make the mistake of double counting systematic risk in the evaluation of international investments, as some conventional measures do. Furthermore, we show how to construct political risk spreads for countries that do not have sovereign bond data. Finally, we link our political risk spreads to foreign direct investment (FDI). We show that a 1% point reduction in the political risk spreads is associated with a 12% increase in net-inflows of FDI.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:45:y:2014:i:4:p:471-493
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    3. Hammami, Yacine & Bahri, Maha, 2016. "On the determinants of expected corporate bond returns in Tunisia," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 224-235.
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    5. Grzegorz Waszkiewicz, 2015. "Political Risk and National Debt Markets in Advanced Economies," Proceedings of FIKUSZ 2015,in: Jolán Velencei (ed.), Proceedings of FIKUSZ '15, pages 263-275 Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management.
    6. Duyvesteyn, Johan & Martens, Martin & Verwijmeren, Patrick, 2016. "Political risk and expected government bond returns," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 498-512.
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    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
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    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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