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Sovereign Debt Portfolios, Bond Risks, and the Credibility of Monetary Policy

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  • Wenxin Du
  • Carolin E. Pflueger
  • Jesse Schreger

Abstract

Nominal debt provides consumption-smoothing benefits if it can be inflated away during recessions. However, we document empirically that countries with more countercyclical inflation, where nominal debt provides better consumption-smoothing, issue more foreign-currency debt. We propose that monetary policy credibility explains the currency composition of sovereign debt and nominal bond risks in the presence of risk-averse investors. In our model, low credibility governments inflate during recessions, generating excessively countercyclical inflation in addition to the standard inflationary bias. With countercyclical inflation, investors require risk premia on nominal debt, making nominal debt issuance costly for low credibility governments. We provide empirical support for this mechanism, showing that countries with higher nominal bond-stock betas have significantly larger nominal bond risk premia and borrow less in local currency.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenxin Du & Carolin E. Pflueger & Jesse Schreger, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Portfolios, Bond Risks, and the Credibility of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 22592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22592
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeremy J. Siegel, 1972. "Risk, Interest Rates and the Forward Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 303-309.
    2. Niemann, Stefan & Pichler, Paul & Sorger, Gerhard, 2013. "Public debt, discretionary policy, and inflation persistence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1097-1109.
    3. Brandt, Michael W. & Cochrane, John H. & Santa-Clara, Pedro, 2006. "International risk sharing is better than you think, or exchange rates are too smooth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 671-698, May.
    4. JungJae Park & Charles Engel, 2017. "Debauchery and Original Sin: The Currency Composition of Sovereign Debt," 2017 Meeting Papers 1558, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. John Y. Campbell & Carolin Pflueger & Luis M. Viceira, 2013. "Monetary Policy Drivers of Bond and Equity Risks," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-031, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2015.
    6. Bohn, Henning, 1990. "A positive theory of foreign currency debt," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 273-292, November.
    7. Jesse Schreger & Wenxin Du, 2014. "Sovereign Risk, Currency Risk, and Corporate Balance Sheets," Working Paper 209056, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    8. Riccardo Colacito & Mariano M. Croce, 2011. "Risks for the Long Run and the Real Exchange Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 153-181.
    9. Joel M. David & Espen Henriksen & Ina Simonovska, 2014. "The Risky Capital of Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 20769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Araujo, Aloisio & Leon, Marcia & Santos, Rafael, 2013. "Welfare analysis of currency regimes with defaultable debts," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 143-153.
    11. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-574, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diego Perez & Pablo Ottonello, 2016. "The Currency Composition of Sovereign Debt," 2016 Meeting Papers 596, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Shang-Jin Wei, 2018. "Managing Financial Globalization: Insights from the Recent Literature," NBER Working Papers 24330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Breach , Tomas & D'Amico, Stefania & Orphanides, Athanasios, 2016. "The Term Structure and Inflation Uncertainty," Working Paper Series WP-2016-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Bocola, Luigi & Lorenzoni, Guido, 2017. "Financial Crises and Lending of Last Resort in Open Economies," Staff Report 557, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    5. JungJae Park & Charles Engel, 2017. "Debauchery and Original Sin: The Currency Composition of Sovereign Debt," 2017 Meeting Papers 1558, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Luigi Bocola & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Financial Crises, Dollarization, and Lending of Last Resort in Open Economies," NBER Working Papers 23984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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