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Mispricing of Sovereign Risk and Multiple Equilibria in the Eurozone


  • Paul De Grauwe
  • Yuemei Ji


We find evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries in the Eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt to Gdp ratios, and was the result of negative market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010. We also find evidence that after years of neglecting high government debt, investors became increasingly worried about this in the Eurozone, and reacted by raising the spreads. No such worries developed in stand-alone countries despite the fact that debt to Gdp ratios were equally high and increasing in these countries. We interpreted this evidence as validating the hypothesis formulated in De Grauwe(2011) according to which government bond markets in a monetary union are more fragile and more susceptible to self-fulfilling liquidity crises than in stand-alone countries. We argue that the systematic mispricing of sovereign risk in the Eurozone intensifies macroeconomic instability, leading to bubbles in good years and excessive austerity in bad years.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul De Grauwe & Yuemei Ji, 2012. "Mispricing of Sovereign Risk and Multiple Equilibria in the Eurozone," LICOS Discussion Papers 30412, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:30412

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    Cited by:

    1. John Phelan, 2015. "The Road Not Taken: A Comparison Between the Hard ECU and the Euro," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 397-415, October.
    2. Anna Zabai, 2014. "Managing Default Risk," BIS Working Papers 467, Bank for International Settlements.
    3. Falagiarda, Matteo & Reitz, Stefan, 2015. "Announcements of ECB unconventional programs: Implications for the sovereign spreads of stressed euro area countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 276-295.
    4. Perego, Erica R. & Vermeulen, Wessel N., 2016. "Macro-economic determinants of European stock and government bond correlations: A tale of two regions," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 214-232.
    5. Dimitris Vas. Seremetis & Anastasios P. Pappas, 2013. "Government bond yield spreads determination: a matter of fundamentals or market overreaction? Evidence from over-borrowed European countries," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 10(3), pages 342-358, December.
    6. Tielens, J. & van Aarle, B. & Van Hove, J., 2014. "Effects of Eurobonds: A stochastic sovereign debt sustainability analysis for Portugal, Ireland and Greece," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 156-173.
    7. Bruneau, Catherine & Delatte, Anne-Laure & Fouquau, Julien, 2014. "Was the European sovereign crisis self-fulfilling? Empirical evidence about the drivers of market sentiments," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-51.
    8. Manuel Buchholz & Lena Tonzer, 2016. "Sovereign Credit Risk Co-Movements in the Eurozone: Simple Interdependence or Contagion?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 246-268, December.
    9. Engwerda, Jacob & van Aarle, Bas & Plasmans, Joseph & Weeren, Arie, 2013. "Debt stabilization games in the presence of risk premia," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2525-2546.
    10. repec:mth:ber888:v:7:y:2017:i:1:p:199-226 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kai Daniel Schmid & Michael Schmidt, 2012. "EMU and the Renaissance of Sovereign Credit Risk Perception," IAW Discussion Papers 87, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    12. Pawel Gajewski, 2014. "Sovereign spreads and financial market behavior before and during the crisis," Lodz Economics Working Papers 4/2014, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology.
    13. Bernd Schwaab, 2012. "Conditional probabilities and contagion measures for euro area sovereign default risk," Research Bulletin, European Central Bank, vol. 17, pages 6-11.
    14. Russell Cooper, 2012. "Debt Fragility and Bailouts," NBER Working Papers 18377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Dewachter, Hans & Iania, Leonardo & Lyrio, Marco & de Sola Perea, Maite, 2015. "A macro-financial analysis of the euro area sovereign bond market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 308-325.
    16. Heinemann Friedrich, 2012. "FIRE for the Euro: A Superior Way to Bond Market Stabilization," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 232(6), pages 702-709, December.
    17. Kohler, Wilhelm, 2012. "Resolving sovereign debt crises: Opening or closing the tap?," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 39, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    18. Jerger, Jürgen & Röhe, Oke, 2012. "Die Unabhängigkeit von Zentralbanken - Ökonomische Begründung, Messung und Zukunftsperspektive," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 464, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
    19. Falagiarda, Matteo & Gregori, Wildmer Daniel, 2015. "The impact of fiscal policy announcements by the Italian government on the sovereign spread: A comparative analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 288-304.
    20. Niels Gilbert & Jeroen Hessel & Silvie Verkaart, 2013. "Towards a Stable Monetary Union: What Role for Eurobonds?," DNB Working Papers 379, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    21. Antonio Di Cesare & Giuseppe Grande & Michele Manna & Marco Taboga, 2012. "Recent estimates of sovereign risk premia for euro-area countries," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 128, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    22. Eva Jenkner & Zhongjin Lu, 2014. "Sub-National Credit Risk and Sovereign Bailouts; Who Pays the Premium?," IMF Working Papers 14/20, International Monetary Fund.
    23. Bijsterbosch, Martin & Falagiarda, Matteo, 2015. "The macroeconomic impact of financial fragmentation in the euro area: Which role for credit supply?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 93-115.
    24. Esposito, Piero & Messori, Marcello, 2016. "Improved Structural Competitiveness or Deep Recession? On the recent macroeconomic rebalances in the EMU," SEP Working Papers 2016/3, LUISS School of European Political Economy.
    25. Manfred G?rtner & Bj?rn Griesbach, 2017. "Rating Agencies, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Multiple Equilibria? An Empirical Model of the European Sovereign Debt Crisis 2009-2011," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 7(1), pages 199-226, June.

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