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.
Using a panel of 30 emerging market economies from 1997 to 2007, this paper investigates the determinants of country risk premiums as measured by sovereign bond spreads. Unlike previous studies, the results indicate that both fiscal and political factors matter for credit risk in emerging markets. Lower levels of political risk are associated with tighter spreads, while efforts at fiscal consolidation narrow credit spreads, especially in countries that experienced prior defaults. The composition of fiscal policy matters: spending on public investment contributes to lower spreads as long as the fiscal position remains sustainable and the fiscal deficit does not worsen.