IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Pyrrhic Victory? - Bank Bailouts and Sovereign Credit Risk

  • Viral V. Acharya
  • Itamar Drechsler
  • Philipp Schnabl

We show that financial sector bailouts and sovereign credit risk are intimately linked. A bailout benefits the economy by ameliorating the under-investment problem of the financial sector. However, increasing taxation of the non-financial sector to fund the bailout may be inefficient since it weakens its incentive to invest, decreasing growth. Instead, the sovereign may choose to fund the bailout by diluting existing government bondholders, resulting in a deterioration of the sovereign's creditworthiness. This deterioration feeds back onto the financial sector, reducing the value of its guarantees and existing bond holdings and increasing its sensitivity to future sovereign shocks. We provide empirical evidence for this two-way feedback between financial and sovereign credit risk using data on the credit default swaps (CDS) of the Eurozone countries for 2007-10. We show that the announcement of financial sector bailouts was associated with an immediate, unprecedented widening of sovereign CDS spreads and narrowing of bank CDS spreads; however, post-bailouts there emerged a significant co-movement between bank CDS and sovereign CDS, even after controlling for banks' equity performance, the latter being consistent with an effect of the quality of sovereign guarantees on bank credit risk.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17136.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “A Pyrrhic Victory? Bank Bailouts and Sovereign Credit Risk” with Itamar Drechsler and Philipp Schnabl, forthcoming, Journal of Finance.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17136
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Viral Acharya & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2007. "Cash-in-the-market pricing and optimal resolution of bank failures," Bank of England working papers 328, Bank of England.
  2. Fernando A. Broner & Alberto Martin & Jaume Ventura, 2008. "Enforcement Problems and Secondary Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 683-694, 04-05.
  3. Viral Acharya & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2007. "Too many to fail - an analysis of time-inconsistency in bank closure policies," Bank of England working papers 319, Bank of England.
  4. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 2010. "Are banks too big to fail or too big to save? International evidence from equity prices and CDS spreads," CEPR Discussion Papers 7903, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Ejsing, Jacob & Lemke, Wolfgang, 2011. "The Janus-headed salvation: Sovereign and bank credit risk premia during 2008-2009," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 28-31, January.
  6. Panageas, Stavros, 2010. "Bailouts, the incentive to manage risk, and financial crises," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 296-311, March.
  7. Nicola Gennaioli & Alberto Martin & Stefano Rossi, 2012. "Sovereign Default, Domestic Banks, and Financial Institutions," Working Papers 462, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Viral V. Acharya & Hyun Song Shin & Tanju Yorulmazer, 2011. "Crisis Resolution and Bank Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2166-2205.
  9. Jeremy I. Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1986. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," NBER Working Papers 2088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 2010. "Diminished Expectations, Double Dips, and External Shocks: The Decade After the Fall," MPRA Paper 24969, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Kjell G. Nyborg, 2011. "Bank Bailout Menus," FMG Discussion Papers dp668, Financial Markets Group.
  13. Gary Gorton & Lixin Huang, 2002. "Liquidity, Efficiency and Bank Bailouts," NBER Working Papers 9158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Craig O. Brown & I. Serdar Dinç, 0. "Too Many to Fail? Evidence of Regulatory Forbearance When the Banking Sector Is Weak," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 1378-1405.
  15. Michael R King, 2009. "Time to buy or just buying time? The market reaction to bank rescue packages," BIS Working Papers 288, Bank for International Settlements.
  16. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," NBER Working Papers 15639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Reinhart, Carmen, 2009. "The Second Great Contraction," MPRA Paper 21485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Broner, Fernando A & Ventura, Jaume, 2006. "Globalization and Risk Sharing," CEPR Discussion Papers 5820, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Luc Laeven & Fabian Valencia, 2010. "Resolution of Banking Crises: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," IMF Working Papers 10/146, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Fabio Panetta & Thomas Faeh & Giuseppe Grande & Corrinne Ho & Michael King & Aviram Levy & Federico M. Signoretti & Marco Taboga & Andrea Zaghini, 2009. "An assessment of financial sector rescue programmes," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 47, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  21. Stavros Panageas, 2009. "Optimal taxation in the presence of bailouts," NBER Working Papers 15405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Edda Zoli & Silvia Sgherri, 2009. "Euro Area Sovereign Risk During the Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/222, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Ejsing, Jacob & Lemke, Wolfgang, 2009. "The Janus-headed salvation: sovereign and bank credit risk premia during 2008-09," Working Paper Series 1127, European Central Bank.
  24. Alter, Adrian & Schüler, Yves S., 2012. "Credit spread interdependencies of European states and banks during the financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 3444-3468.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17136. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.