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Moral hazard and bail-out in fiscal federations: evidence for the German Länder

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  • Heppke-Falk, Kirsten H.
  • Wolff, Guntram B.

Abstract

We identify investor moral hazard in the German fiscal federation. Our identification strategy is based on a variable, which was used by the German Federal Constitutional Court as an indicator to determine eligibility of two German states (Länder) to a bail-out, the interest payments-to-revenue ratio. While risk premia measured in the German sub-national bond market react significantly to the relative debt level of a state (Land), we also find that a larger interest payments-to-revenue ratio counter-intuitively lowers risk premia significantly. Furthermore, with increasing values the risk premia decrease more strongly. This is evidence of investor moral hazard, because a larger indicator value increases the likelihood of receiving a bail-out payment. Quantitatively, the effects are, however, quite small. Our findings are robust to a variety of sample changes. In addition, we provide a case study of the recent Federal Constitutional Court ruling on the Land Berlin, which had filed for additional federal funds. The negative response of the court did not lead to a change in financial markets' bail-out expectations. In sum, our results indicate significant investor moral hazard in the sub-national German bond market.

Suggested Citation

  • Heppke-Falk, Kirsten H. & Wolff, Guntram B., 2007. "Moral hazard and bail-out in fiscal federations: evidence for the German Länder," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2007,07, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:5561
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Rodden & Erik Wibbels, 2010. "Fiscal Decentralization And The Business Cycle: An Empirical Study Of Seven Federations," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 37-67, March.
    2. Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca & Rafał Trzeciakowski, 2015. "Windfall of Low Interest Payments and Fiscal Sustainability in the Euro Area: Analysis through Panel Fiscal Reaction Functions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 475-510, November.
    3. Mark Hallerberg & Guntram Wolff, 2008. "Fiscal institutions, fiscal policy and sovereign risk premia in EMU," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 379-396, September.
    4. Zuccardi Huertas Igor Esteban, 2015. "Sovereign Spreads in the Eurozone: Is Market Discipline Working?," Working Papers 2015-20, Banco de México.
    5. Schuknecht, Ludger & von Hagen, Jürgen & Wolswijk, Guido, 2009. "Government risk premiums in the bond market: EMU and Canada," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 371-384, September.
    6. Beck, Roland & Ferrucci, Gianluigi & Hantzsche, Arno & Rau-Göhring, Matthias, 2017. "Determinants of sub-sovereign bond yield spreads – The role of fiscal fundamentals and federal bailout expectations," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 72-98.
    7. repec:bla:pbudge:v:37:y:2017:i:4:p:47-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Feld, Lars P. & Kalb, Alexander & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel & Osterloh, Steffen, 2017. "Sovereign bond market reactions to no-bailout clauses and fiscal rules – The Swiss experience," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 319-343.
    9. Bratis, Theodoros & Laopodis, Nikiforos T. & Kouretas, Georgios P., 2015. "Creditor moral hazard during the EMU debt crisis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 122-135.
    10. Lars P. Feld & Alexander Kalb & Marc-Daniel Moessinger & Steffen Osterloh, 2013. "Sovereign Bond Market Reactions to Fiscal Rules and No-Bailout Clauses - The Swiss Experience," CESifo Working Paper Series 4195, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9299-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Salvador Barrios & Diego Martínez-López, 2017. "Fiscal equalization schemes and subcentral government borrowing," Chapters,in: Central and Local Government Relations in Asia, chapter 4, pages 130-160 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Sven Jari Stehn & Annalisa Fedelino, 2009. "Fiscal Incentive Effects of the German Equalization System," IMF Working Papers 09/124, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Eva Jenkner & Zhongjin Lu, 2014. "Sub-National Credit Risk and Sovereign Bailouts; Who Pays the Premium?," IMF Working Papers 14/20, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Kerstin Bernoth & Guntram B. Wolff, 2008. "Fool The Markets? Creative Accounting, Fiscal Transparency And Sovereign Risk Premia," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(4), pages 465-487, September.
    16. Peter Claeys & Raúl Ramos & Jordi Suriñach, 2007. "Fiscal sustainability across government tiers: an assessment of soft budget constraints," IREA Working Papers 200714, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jul 2007.
    17. Hattori, Takahiro & Miyake, Hiroki, 2015. "Empirical Analysis of Yield Determinants in Japan’s Municipal Bond Market: Does Credit Risk Premium Exist?," MPRA Paper 67127, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Wolff, Guntram B., 2007. "Schuldenanstieg und Haftungsausschluss im deutschen Föderalstaat: Zur Rolle des Moral Hazard," IMFS Working Paper Series 14, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    19. Peter Claeys & Raúl Ramos & Jordi Suriñach, 2008. "Fiscal sustainability across government tiers," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 139-163, July.
    20. Dhritidyuti Bose & Rajeev Jain & Lakshmanan L, 2011. "Determinants of Primary Yield Spreads of States in India: An Econometric Analysis," Working Papers id:4370, eSocialSciences.
    21. Virkola, Tuomo, 2014. "Fiscal Federalism in Four Federal Countries," ETLA Reports 38, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    22. Van Hecke, Annelore, 2013. "Vertical debt spillovers in EMU countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 468-492.
    23. Ohls, Jana, 2017. "Moral suasion in regional government bond markets," Discussion Papers 33/2017, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    24. Iara, Anna & Wolff, Guntram B., 2014. "Rules and risk in the Euro area," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 222-236.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    moral hazard; bail-out; sovereign bond spreads; fiscal federalism; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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