The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
We examine the effect that revenue windfalls from international commodity price shocks have on sovereign bond spreads using panel data for 30 emerging market economies during the period 1997-2007. Our main finding is that positive commodity price shocks lead to a significant reduction in the sovereign bond spread in democracies, but to a significant increase in the spread in autocracies. To explain our finding we show that, consistent with the political economy literature on the resource curse, revenue windfalls from international commodity price shocks significantly increased real per capita GDP growth in democracies, while in autocracies GDP per capita growth decreased.