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Government Bond Risk Premiums in the EU revisited: The Impact of the Financial Crisis

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  • Schuknecht, Ludger
  • von Hagen, Jürgen
  • Wolswijk, Guido

Abstract

This note looks at US$ and DM/Euro denominated government bond spreads relative to US and German benchmark bonds before and after the start of the current financial crisis. The study finds, first, that bond yield spreads before and during the crisis can largely be explained on the basis of economic principles. Second, markets penalise fiscal imbalances much more strongly after the Lehman default in September 2008 than before. There is also a significant increase in the spread on non-benchmark bonds due to higher general risk aversion, and German bonds obtained a safe-haven investment status similar to that of the US which they did not have before the crisis. These findings underpin the need for achieving sound fiscal positions in good times and complying with the Stability and Growth Pact.

Suggested Citation

  • Schuknecht, Ludger & von Hagen, Jürgen & Wolswijk, Guido, 2009. "Government Bond Risk Premiums in the EU revisited: The Impact of the Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 7499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7499
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Schuknecht, Ludger & von Hagen, Jürgen & Wolswijk, Guido, 2009. "Government risk premiums in the bond market: EMU and Canada," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 371-384, September.
    2. Bernoth, Kerstin & von Hagen, Jürgen & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2004. "Sovereign risk premia in the European government bond market," ZEI Working Papers B 26-2003, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    3. Mr. Ashoka Mody, 2009. "From Bear Stearns to Anglo Irish: How Eurozone Sovereign Spreads Related to Financial Sector Vulnerability," IMF Working Papers 2009/108, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Simone Manganelli & Guido Wolswijk, 2009. "What drives spreads in the euro area government bond market? [‘What “hides” behind sovereign debt ratings?’]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24(58), pages 191-240.
    5. David Haugh & Patrice Ollivaud & David Turner, 2009. "What Drives Sovereign Risk Premiums?: An Analysis of Recent Evidence from the Euro Area," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 718, OECD Publishing.
    6. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 2000. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging Market Debt?," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 107-134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bond Markets; Financial Crisis; Sovereign Risk Premiums;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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