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What explains the surge in euro area sovereign spreads during the financial crisis of 2007-09?

Author

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  • Attinasi, Maria Grazia
  • Checherita-Westphal, Cristina
  • Nickel, Christiane

Abstract

This paper uses a dynamic panel approach to explain the determinants of widening sovereign bond yield spreads vis-à-vis Germany in selected euro area countries during the period end-July 2007 to end-March 2009, when the financial turmoil developed into a full-blown financial and economic crisis. Emphasis is given to the role of fiscal fundamentals and government announcements of substantial bank rescue packages. The paper finds that higher expected budget deficits and/or higher government debt ratios relative to Germany contributed to higher government bond yield spreads in the euro area during the analysed period. More importantly, the announcements of bank rescue packages have led to a re-assessment, from the part of investors, of sovereign credit risk, first and foremost through a transfer of risk from the private financial sector to the government. JEL Classification: E62, E43, G12

Suggested Citation

  • Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Nickel, Christiane, 2009. "What explains the surge in euro area sovereign spreads during the financial crisis of 2007-09?," Working Paper Series 1131, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091131
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hallerberg, Mark & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "Fiscal institutions, fiscal policy and sovereign risk premia," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,35, Deutsche Bundesbank.
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    4. Schuknecht, Ludger & von Hagen, Jürgen & Bernoth, Kerstin, 2004. "Sovereign risk premia in the European government bond market," Working Paper Series 369, European Central Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal Announcements; fiscal policy; sovereign spreads;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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