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Fiscal Policy, Interest Rates and Risk Premia in Open Economy

This paper reconsiders the effects of fiscal policy on long-term interest rates and sovereign spreads employing a Factor Augmented Panel (FAP) to control for the presence of common unobservable factors. We construct a real-time dataset of macroeconomic and fiscal variables for a panel of OECD countries for the period 1989-2009. We find that two global factors - the global monetary and fiscal policy stances - explain more than 60% of the variance in the long-term interest rates. The same two global factors play a relevant role also in explaining the variance of sovereign spreads, which in addition respond to global risk aversion. With respect to standard estimation techniques the use of the FAP reduces the importance of domestic fiscal variables in explaining long- term interest rates, while it emphasizes their importance in explaining sovereign spreads. Using the FAP framework we also analyse the cross-country differences in the propagation of a shock to global fiscal stance and global risk aversion. We find the effects of the former to be modest in large economies and strong in economies characterized by low financial integration and current account deficits. Changes in global risk aversion, instead, lead to higher spreads in countries with a high stock of public debt and weaker political institutions.

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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 05-2013.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: 26 Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp05-2013
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  1. Antonio Afonso, 2010. "Long-term government bond yields and economic forecasts: evidence for the EU," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(15), pages 1437-1441.
  2. Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Martín González Rozada, 2005. "Global Factors and Emerging Market Spreads," Business School Working Papers globalfactorsspreads, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  3. Cimadomo, Jacopo, 2008. "Fiscal policy in real time," Working Paper Series 0919, European Central Bank.
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  10. 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.
  11. Gomez-Puig, Marta, 2006. "Size matters for liquidity: Evidence from EMU sovereign yield spreads," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 156-162, February.
  12. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1998. "Let's Get Real: A Factor Analytical Approach to Disaggregated Business Cycle Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 453-73, July.
  13. Bai, Jushan, 2004. "Estimating cross-section common stochastic trends in nonstationary panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 137-183, September.
  14. M. Hashem Pesaran, 2004. "Estimation and Inference in Large Heterogeneous Panels with a Multifactor Error Structure," CESifo Working Paper Series 1331, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Alois Geyer & Stephan Kossmeier & Stefan Pichler, 2004. "Measuring Systematic Risk in EMU Government Yield Spreads," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 171-197.
  16. Willem H. Buiter, 2010. "The limits to fiscal stimulus," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 48-70, Spring.
  17. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises: A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Alessandro Beber & Michael W. Brandt & Kenneth A. Kavajecz, 2009. "Flight-to-Quality or Flight-to-Liquidity? Evidence from the Euro-Area Bond Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 925-957, March.
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