Country Risk: Determinants, Measures and Implications – The 2019 Edition

124 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2019 Last revised: 8 Aug 2019

See all articles by Aswath Damodaran

Aswath Damodaran

New York University - Stern School of Business

Date Written: July 23, 2019


As companies and investors globalize, we are increasingly faced with estimation questions about the risk associated with this globalization. When investors invest in China Mobile, Infosys or Vale, they may be rewarded with higher returns, but they are also exposed to additional risk. When Siemens and Apple push for growth in Asia and Latin America, they clearly are exposed to the political and economic turmoil that often characterize these markets. In practical terms, how, if at all, should we adjust for this additional risk? We will begin the paper with an overview of overall country risk, its sources and measures. We will continue with a discussion of sovereign default risk and examine sovereign ratings and credit default swaps (CDS) as measures of that risk. We will extend that discussion to look at country risk from the perspective of equity investors, by looking at equity risk premiums for different countries and consequences for valuation. In the fourth section, we argue that a company’s exposure to country risk should not be determined by where it is incorporated and traded. By that measure, neither Coca Cola nor Nestle are exposed to country risk. Exposure to country risk should come from a company’s operations, making country risk a critical component of the valuation of almost every large multinational corporation. In the final section, we will also look at how to move across currencies in valuation and capital budgeting, and how to avoid mismatching errors.

Keywords: Equity Risk Premiums, Country Risk, Default Risk, Sovereign Risk

JEL Classification: G12, G15

Suggested Citation

Damodaran, Aswath, Country Risk: Determinants, Measures and Implications – The 2019 Edition (July 23, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Aswath Damodaran (Contact Author)

New York University - Stern School of Business ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
212-998-0340 (Phone)
212-995-4233 (Fax)


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