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The EMU sovereign-debt crisis: Fundamentals, expectations and contagion

  • Michael G. Arghyrou
  • Alexandros Kontonikas

We offer a detailed empirical investigation of the European sovereign debt crisis based on the theoretical model by Arghyrou and Tsoukalas (2010). We find evidence of a marked shift in market pricing behaviour from a ‘convergence-trade’ model before August 2007 to one driven by macro-fundamentals and international risk thereafter. The majority of EMU countries have experienced contagion from Greece. There is no evidence of significant speculation effects originating from CDS markets. Finally, the escalation of the Greek debt crisis since November 2009 is confirmed as the result of an unfavourable shift in country specific market expectations. Our findings highlight the necessity of structural, competitiveness-inducing reforms in periphery EMU countries and institutional reforms at the EMU level enhancing intra-EMU economic monitoring and policy co-ordination.

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Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers with number 436.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0436
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  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gomez-Puig, Marta, 2006. "Size matters for liquidity: Evidence from EMU sovereign yield spreads," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 156-162, February.
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