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Sovereign Bond Yield Spreads: A Time-Varying Coefficient Approach

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  • Kerstin Bernoth
  • Burcu Erdogan

Abstract

We study the determinants of sovereign bond yield spreads across 10 EMU countries between Q1/1999 and Q1/2010. We apply a semiparametric time-varying coefficient model to identify, to what extent an observed change in the yield spread is due to a shift in macroeconomic fundamentals or due to altering risk pricing. We find that at the beginning of EMU, the government debt level and the general investors' risk aversion had a significant impact on interest differentials. In the subsequent years, however, financial markets paid less attention to the fiscal position of a country and the safe haven status of Germany diminished in importance. By the end of 2006, two years before the fall of Lehman Brothers, financial markets began to grant Germany safe haven status again. One year later, when financial turmoil began, the market reaction to fiscal loosening increased considerably. The altering in risk pricing over time period confirms the need of time-varying coefficient models in this context.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerstin Bernoth & Burcu Erdogan, 2010. "Sovereign Bond Yield Spreads: A Time-Varying Coefficient Approach," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1078, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1078
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    sovereign bond spreads; fiscal policy; euro area; financial crisis; semiparametric time-varying coefficient model; nonparametric estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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