The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This study explores the determinants of corporate bond spreads in emerging markets economies. Using a largely unexploited dataset, the paper finds that corporate bond spreads are determined by firm-specific variables, bond characteristics, macroeconomic conditions, sovereign risk, and global factors. A variance decomposition analysis shows that firm-level characteristics account for the larger share of the variance. In addition, the paper finds two asymmetries. The first is in line with the sovereign ceiling "lite" hypothesis which states that the transfer of risk from the sovereign to the private sector is less than 1 to 1. The second is consistent with the popular notion that panics are common in emerging markets where investors are less informed and more prone to herding.