What Determines Borrowing Costs of EU Countries
This paper finds that public debt and a range of other economic variables are surprisingly weakly correlated with sovereign spreads in EU countries. Democratic capital, on the other hand, was a powerful predictor of spread heights between 2003 and 2007, while its relevance disappeared in late 2008, when only credit ratings were correlated with the investors' estimate of default probabilities. These results suggests that (1) institutional characteristics may sometimes play a central role in determining borrowing costs and (2) investors attach different weights to relevant variables depending on global macroeconomic conditions.
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