Balance sheet effects and the country risk premium: an empirical investigation
This paper investigates empirically whether there is a negative relationship between a country's risk premium and the balance sheet effect, as implied by recent theories emphasizing financial imperfections. We find evidence that balance sheet effects, stemming from the increase in the external debt service after an unexpected real depreciation, significantly raise the risk premium. We also show that the increase in the risk premium is not due to the debt service as such. While the result holds for the whole sample, we show that it is mainly driven by those countries with the largest financial imperfections, as argued by imperfect capital market theories. Particularly large real depreciations also seem to be disproportionately important, meaning that the balance sheet effects may be strongest at times of economic crisis, when large devaluations occur.
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