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Foreign Law Bonds: Can They Reduce Sovereign Borrowing Costs?

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  • Schumacher, Julian
  • Chamon, Marcos
  • Trebesch, Christoph

Abstract

The Greek debt restructuring of 2012 showed that the legal terms of sovereign bonds can protect creditors against losses, in particular the type of governing law. This paper studies whether sovereign bonds that are issued in foreign jurisdictions trade at a premium vis-a-vis domestic-law bonds. We use the Eurozone between 2007 and 2014 as a unique testing ground to assess this ``legal safety premium'' and collect secondary market bond yield data for the near-universe of Eurozone government bonds issued in foreign jurisdictions. Controlling for currency risk, liquidity risk, and term structure, we find that foreign-law bonds indeed carry lower yields on average. But a sizable premium only emerges for large values of credit risk (CDS spreads beyond 500bp). At those levels, a 100bp increase in CDS spreads is associated with a 30-80bp larger yield premium on foreign-law bonds. In contrast, we do not find a premium for countries that are perceived as low risk. These results indicate that sovereigns in distress can, at the margin, borrow at lower rates under foreign law.

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  • Schumacher, Julian & Chamon, Marcos & Trebesch, Christoph, 2015. "Foreign Law Bonds: Can They Reduce Sovereign Borrowing Costs?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113199, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:113199
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    Cited by:

    1. Enderlein, Henrik & Schumacher, Julian & Trebesch, Christoph, 2018. "Sovereign Defaults in Court," CEPR Discussion Papers 12777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Chamon, Marcos & Schumacher, Julian & Trebesch, Christoph, 2018. "Foreign-law bonds: Can they reduce sovereign borrowing costs?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 164-179.
    3. Rischen, Tobias & Theissen, Erik, 2018. "Underpricing in the euro area corporate bond market: New evidence from post-crisis regulation and quantitative easing," CFR Working Papers 18-03, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    4. Christophe Destais & Frederik Eidam & Friedrich Heinemann, 2019. "The design of a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism for the euro area: Choices and trade-offs," CEPII Policy Brief 2019-25, CEPII research center.
    5. Christian Bayer & Chi Hyun Kim & Alexander Kriwoluzky, 2018. "The Term Structure of Redenomination Risk," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1740, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Randl, Otto & Zechner, Josef, 2016. "Sovereign reputation and yield spreads: A case study on retroactive legislation," CFS Working Paper Series 545, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    7. Stephanie Collet & Kim Oosterlinck, 2019. "Denouncing Odious Debts," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 205-223, November.
    8. Kobielarz, Michal, 2018. "The economics of monetary unions," Other publications TiSEM b0293536-68ec-4905-bffd-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Kobielarz, Michał L. & Uras, Burak R., 2018. "Sovereign default, exit and contagion in a monetary union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-19.
    10. Kriwoluzky, Alexander & Müller, Gernot J. & Wolf, Martin, 2019. "Exit expectations and debt crises in currency unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    11. Jakob Korbinian Eberl, 2016. "The Collateral Framework of the Eurosystem and Its Fiscal Implications," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 69.
    12. Trebesch, Christoph, 2015. "Kurzgutachten zu Staatsschuldenkrisen," Working Papers 06/2015, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    13. Eidam, Frederik, 2016. "An analysis of euro area bond maturities and simulation of the introduction of new CACs," Working Papers 11/2016, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    14. Elisabeth de Fontenay & Josefin Meyer & Mitu Gulati, 2019. "The sovereign debt listing puzzle," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 472-495.
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    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

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