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The walking debt crisis

Christoph Wegener, Robinson Kruse and Tobias Basse

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2019, vol. 157, issue C, 382-402

Abstract: This article sheds light on the question whether arising sovereign credit risk in the EMU has been triggered by the US subprime crunch. By adapting recent econometric methodologies suggested in the related field of speculative bubbles, we find clear evidence for fast diverging (and even explosive) behavior of EMU government bond yields of peripheral countries relative to Germany during the financial and the European debt crisis. This might be caused by flight-to-quality effects to German government bonds coincident with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and by a loss of confidence in the fiscal stability of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain during the European debt crisis. First, we find compelling evidence for bubbles in the Dow Jones Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) index which serves as a weekly measure of economic activity in the North American real estate sector. Second, in our main analysis, we test whether the collapsing bubble in the housing market triggered the diverging government bond yields during two crisis regimes. Our findings indicate that this was the case in the course of the financial crisis, but not during the EMU sovereign debt crisis. These results suggest that the severe fiscal problems in peripheral countries are homemade rather than imported from the US.

Keywords: Sovereign debt crisis; Sovereign credit risk; Subprime crisis; Bubbles; Explosive behavior; Bubble migration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C15 G12 H63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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