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The long and the short of emerging market debt

  • Opazo, Luis
  • Raddatz, Claudio
  • Schmukler, Sergio L.

Emerging economies have tried to promote long-term debt because it reduces maturity mismatches and the probability of crises. This paper uses unique evidence from the leading case of Chile to study to what extent there is domestic demand for long-term instruments. The authors analyze monthly asset-level portfolios of Chilean institutional investors (mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance companies) and compare their maturity structure to that of US bond mutual funds. Despite being thought to invest long term, Chilean asset-management institutions (mutual and pension funds) hold large amounts of short-term assets relative to US mutual funds and Chilean insurance companies. Short-termism is not driven by lack of instrument availability or tactical behavior. Instead, it seems to be explained by the desire to minimize inflation risk and, more importantly, by manager incentives that tilt demand toward short-term instruments. Extending the maturity of emerging market debt may require reducing risk and reshaping investor incentives.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5056.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5056
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