Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?
UPF Economics and Business Working Paper 838
64 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2005 Last revised: 21 Jun 2013
Date Written: August 1, 2004
We argue that emerging economies borrow short term due to the high risk premium charged by international capital markets on long-term debt. First, we present a model where the debt maturity structure is the outcome of a risk sharing problem between the government and bondholders. By issuing long-term debt, the government lowers the probability of a liquidity crisis, transferring risk to bondholders. In equilibrium, this risk is reflected in a higher risk premium and borrowing cost. Therefore, the government faces a trade-off between safer long-term borrowing and cheaper short-term debt. Second, we construct a new database of sovereign bond prices and issuance. We show that emerging economies pay a positive term premium (a higher risk premium on long-term bonds than on short-term bonds). During crises, the term premium increases, with issuance shifting toward shorter maturities. This suggests that changes in bondholders' risk aversion are important to understand emerging market crises.
Keywords: Emerging market debt, maturity structure,sovereign spreads, risk premium, term premium, financial crises
JEL Classification: E43, F30, F32, F34, F36, G15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation