Political Risk Spreads

51 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2013 Last revised: 6 Aug 2014

See all articles by Geert Bekaert

Geert Bekaert

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics

Campbell R. Harvey

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Christian T. Lundblad

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Stephan Siegel

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business; CESifo

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 22, 2013

Abstract

We introduce a new, market-based and forward looking measure of political risk derived from the yield spread between a country’s U.S. dollar debt and an equivalent U.S. Treasury bond. We explain the variation in these sovereign spreads with four factors: global economic conditions, country-specific economic factors, liquidity of the country’s bond, and political risk. We then extract the part of the sovereign spread that is due to political risk, making use of political risk ratings. In addition, we provide new evidence that these political risk ratings are predictive, on average, of future risk realizations using data on political risk claims as well as a novel textual-based database of risk realizations. Our political risk spread measure does not make the mistake of double counting systematic risk in the evaluation of international investments as some conventional measures do. Furthermore, we show how to construct political risk spreads for countries that do not have sovereign bond data. Finally, we link our political risk spreads to foreign direct investment. We show that a one percent point reduction in the political risk spread is associated with a 12 percent increase in net-inflows of foreign direct investment.

Keywords: Political risk, Country risk, Sovereign spreads, Political risk news, Risk realizations, OPIC, Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, Cost of Capital, Political turmoil, Expropriation risk, ICRG, Coplin-O'Leary

JEL Classification: F21, F23, F36, G15, G31, H25, K33, M21, O16, O19

Suggested Citation

Bekaert, Geert and Harvey, Campbell R. and Lundblad, Christian T. and Siegel, Stephan, Political Risk Spreads (December 22, 2013). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-91. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2361472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2361472

Geert Bekaert

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Campbell R. Harvey (Contact Author)

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7768 (Phone)
919-660-8030 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Christian T. Lundblad

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
919-962-8441 (Phone)

Stephan Siegel

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.washington.edu/ss1110/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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