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Systemic sovereign risk: macroeconomic implications in the euro area

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  • Bahaj, Saleem A.

Abstract

What are the macroeconomic implications of changes in sovereign risk premia? In this paper, I use a novel identification strategy coupled with a new dataset for the Euro Area to answer this question. I show that exogenous innovations in sovereign risk premia were an important driver of the economic dynamics of crisis-hit countries, explaining 30-50% of the forecast error of unemployment. I also shed light on the mechanisms through which this occurs. Fluctuations in sovereign risk premia explain 20-40% of the variance of private borrowing costs. Increases in sovereign risk result in substantial capital flight, external adjustment and import compression. In contrast, governments appear not to increase their primary balances in response to increases in sovereign risk. Identifying these causal effects involves isolating a source of fluctuations in sovereign borrowing costs exogenous to the economy in question. I address this problem by relying upon the transmission of country-specific events during the crisis in Europe to the sovereign risk premia in the remainder of the union. I construct a new dataset of critical events in foreign crisis-hit countries and I measure the impact of these events on yields in the economy of interest at an intraday frequency. An aggregation of foreign events serve as a proxy variable for structural innovations to the yield to identify shocks in a proxy SVAR. I extend this methodology into a Bayesian setting to allow for flexible panel assumptions. A counterfactual analysis is used to remove the impact of foreign events from the bond yields of crisis hit countries: I find that 40-60% of the trough-to-peak moves in bond yields in crisis-hit countries are explained by foreign events, thereby suggesting that the crisis was not purely a function of weak local economic conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bahaj, Saleem A., 2014. "Systemic sovereign risk: macroeconomic implications in the euro area," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58110, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:58110
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    Cited by:

    1. Shafik Hebous & Tom Zimmermann, 2014. "Revisiting the Narrative Approach of Estimating Tax Multipliers," CESifo Working Paper Series 5040, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Hebous, Shafik & Zimmermann, Tom, 2014. "Revisiting the Narrative Approach of Estimating Fiscal Multipliers," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100408, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Brutti, Filippo & Sauré, Philip, 2015. "Transmission of sovereign risk in the Euro crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 231-248.
    4. Ari, Anil, 2016. "Sovereign risk and bank risk-taking," Working Paper Series 1894, European Central Bank.
    5. Corsetti, G. & Erce, A. & Uy, T., 2017. "Official Sector Lending Strategies During the Euro Area Crisis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1730, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Luigi Bocola, 2016. "The Pass-Through of Sovereign Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(4), pages 879-926.
    7. Markus Eller & Thomas Reininger, 2016. "The influence of sovereign bond yields on bank lending rates: the pass-through in Europe," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 54-78.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    high frequency identification; narrative identification; contagion; Bayesian VARs; proxy SVARs; panel VAR;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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