Sovereign Bond Yield Spreads: A Time-Varying Coefficient Approach

32 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2010

See all articles by Kerstin Bernoth

Kerstin Bernoth

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Burcu Erdogan

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Date Written: November 2010

Abstract

We study the determinants of sovereign bond yield spreads across 10 EMU countries between Q1/1999 and Q1/2010. We apply a semiparametric time-varying coefficient model to identify, to what extent an observed change in the yield spread is due to a shift in macroeconomic fundamentals or due to altering risk pricing. We find that at the beginning of EMU, the government debt level and the general investors' risk aversion had a significant impact on interest differentials. In the subsequent years, however, financial markets paid less attention to the fiscal position of a country and the safe haven status of Germany diminished in importance. By the end of 2006, two years before the fall of Lehman Brothers, financial markets began to grant Germany safe haven status again. One year later, when financial turmoil began, the market reaction to fiscal loosening increased considerably. The altering in risk pricing over time period confirms the need of time-varying coefficient models in this context.

Keywords: sovereign bond spreads, fiscal policy, euro area, financial crisis, semiparametric time-varying coefficient model, nonparametric estimation

JEL Classification: C14, E43, E62, G12, H62, H63

Suggested Citation

Bernoth, Kerstin and Erdogan, Burcu, Sovereign Bond Yield Spreads: A Time-Varying Coefficient Approach (November 2010). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1078, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1715353 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1715353

Kerstin Bernoth (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Burcu Erdogan

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

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