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Banks, Government Bonds, and Default: What do the Data Say?

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  • Gennaioli, Nicola
  • Martin, Alberto
  • Rossi, Stefano

Abstract

We analyze holdings of public bonds by over 20,000 banks in 191 countries, and the role of these bonds in 20 sovereign defaults over 1998-2012. Banks hold many public bonds (on average 9% of their assets), particularly in less financially-developed countries. During sovereign defaults, banks increase their exposure to public bonds, especially large banks and when expected bond returns are high. At the bank level, bondholdings correlate negatively with subsequent lending during sovereign defaults. This correlation is mostly due to bonds acquired in pre-default years. These findings shed light on alternative theories of the sovereign defaultbanking crisis nexus.

Suggested Citation

  • Gennaioli, Nicola & Martin, Alberto & Rossi, Stefano, 2014. "Banks, Government Bonds, and Default: What do the Data Say?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10044
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    government bonds; sovereign default; sovereign risk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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