A Pyrrhic Victory? - Bank Bailouts and Sovereign Credit Risk

59 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2011 Last revised: 29 Apr 2023

See all articles by Viral V. Acharya

Viral V. Acharya

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Itamar Drechsler

Wharton School, Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Philipp Schnabl

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2011

Abstract

We show that financial sector bailouts and sovereign credit risk are intimately linked. A bailout benefits the economy by ameliorating the under-investment problem of the financial sector. However, increasing taxation of the non-financial sector to fund the bailout may be inefficient since it weakens its incentive to invest, decreasing growth. Instead, the sovereign may choose to fund the bailout by diluting existing government bondholders, resulting in a deterioration of the sovereign's creditworthiness. This deterioration feeds back onto the financial sector, reducing the value of its guarantees and existing bond holdings and increasing its sensitivity to future sovereign shocks. We provide empirical evidence for this two-way feedback between financial and sovereign credit risk using data on the credit default swaps (CDS) of the Eurozone countries for 2007-10. We show that the announcement of financial sector bailouts was associated with an immediate, unprecedented widening of sovereign CDS spreads and narrowing of bank CDS spreads; however, post-bailouts there emerged a significant co-movement between bank CDS and sovereign CDS, even after controlling for banks' equity performance, the latter being consistent with an effect of the quality of sovereign guarantees on bank credit risk.

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Viral V. and Acharya, Viral V. and Drechsler, Itamar and Schnabl, Philipp, A Pyrrhic Victory? - Bank Bailouts and Sovereign Credit Risk (June 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17136, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1866095

Viral V. Acharya (Contact Author)

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New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

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Itamar Drechsler

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Philipp Schnabl

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

Stern School of Business
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HOME PAGE: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~sternfin/pschnabl/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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